Thursday, April 29, 2010


I just adore these traditional Indian inspired infant and toddler outfits made by Masala Baby brand. I am a huge fan of the shopping site Zulily where I find unique items on sale. They send me an email everyday of hot items on sale and I must admit almost everything they feature is well made and the designs are totally one of a kind.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nice day

My attempt to take a photo of our family on our first official outing today.

We enjoyed a nice lunch at Bottega Louie with Leon while he snoozed in his comfy stroller (he is in the background of photo). The entire restaurant bustled with the lunch rush and yet he was a total trooper. It was wonderful! Chris and I had a fabulous time especially since it has been about 4 weeks since we've been able to enjoy a nice meal out.

Earlier in the day we had a very important interview at USCIS (US Citizenship & Immigration Services). I've lived in the U.S. since 1999, have attempted twice through employment to change my immigration status and failed each time. The first time being inexperienced and not knowing any better- I hired a lawyer who turned out to be a scam. He disappeared and left with money he collected and precious time I've lost. The second time, the company I worked for closed due to the recession before I could obtain my change of status.

It had to take Chris petitioning me to finally get my status changed and approved. It's crazy to think that I went through so much grief in the past trying to get my immigration status taken care of- only to come to a point where I finally stopped trying, lived my life, married the love of my life and now it's as if the green card is just an extra bonus on top of all the other blessings that I have.

I only got the green card when it did not rank at the top of my priority list. Funny how life does that.

We showed up at the immigration office at 11am sharp with baby Leon in tow and all of our paperwork to prove that we are as legit as can be. The immigration officer even wanted to see photos from our wedding, utility bills with both our names printed, bank statements of our joint account, tax forms... it was crazy how specific and strict the process was.

I'm grateful and relieved to have it all taken care of and out of the way. I now have peace of mind that I'm in no danger of being detached from my precious family that I love.

The officer said that in just several weeks- the green card should arrive in the mail. I'll definitely take a photo of it and post it here!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Leon loves looking at himself in the mirror. Hmmm... I wonder where he got that from?!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tummy Time

Play Time from Anna Cherubini on Vimeo.

Giant eyes

Everyday baby Leon grows more alert and keeps his gigantic eyes wide open as ever. I'm slowly realizing that his facial features really do resemble mine. Everything else about him reminds me of Chris. Our sweet little boy is growing right before our eyes- it truly is amazing.

When he is fussy despite all his needs being met- and it seems all he needs is a good cry as a release, it's crazy how the sound of his cry really pulls on our hearts. I now realize that once you become a parent- in an instant you become a protector to your child and that if it is at all possible to keep them comfortable- sporting big smiles all the time- you would make it happen without a question. Chris and I are learning that there are times when Leon will be unhappy and uncomfortable and there won't always be a solution that we as parents can offer- this I'm thinking would be true all throughout his life as we watch him grow into his own person.

This is my favorite diaper barrier cream for Leon and I highly recommend it to other moms out there. The consistency is great- not too sticky and applies smoothly plus it smells really fresh.

I ordered a couple more from Amazon and patiently waiting for it to arrive. My only wish is that it came in a larger tube.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Good girl

My dear Lucy has totally adjusted to the new baby. It took her a few days of uncertainty, a few growling sounds here and there but I've noticed that recently she would come close to Leon to sniff his head. When I nap with Leon of course- Lucy naps with us as well. It must have been a big shock to her when we brought Leon home. Even though Chris and I planned how we were going to enter our house the first time- making special consideration to Lucy, I still could not help but feel bad for my Lucy. We do our best to make sure she is not left out and that she gets plenty of attention like always.

Baby pouch

I purchased this Baby Pouch from The Pump Station and even though I'm not a pro (yet) at wrapping it the right way- I think with enough practice Leon and I should be able to enjoy some hands free time while still being close together.

Leon seemed to like it- he was quiet the entire time and kept his head close to my heart.

I needed Chris' assistance this morning to test it and I highly recommend that new mom's ask for help before actually placing the baby in the sling.

Here's a video of the wrapping instructions:

Baby Pouch Wrapping Instructions from Baby Pouch on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

He loves his long day time naps and makes the funniest faces while asleep. I wonder if he dreams.

Monday, April 19, 2010

16 days old

Little Leon at 16 days old is teaching Chris and I a lot of things.

Newbie parents lesson # 1:

Babies don't sweat, when their clothes feel damp it's a possibility that the diaper leaked.

Newbie parents lesson # 2:

When changing baby boy's diaper, his pee is able to shoot as far up to baby's face and into his own eye which will lead to major outburst.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

2 weeks old

We're slowly finding out that baby Leon at only 2 weeks old already has quite an interesting personality. Oh and I bet it's only going to get more colorful as time progresses. So far we know that:

He really dislikes diaper changing- screams and kicks no matter how quick we manage to change his dirty diaper;

He fights back falling asleep- (which he totally takes from Chris) Leon would keep his eyes half-open just to make sure he does not give in to sleep despite the yawns, the fussiness and exhaustion;

He does not like to be woken up- just as difficult as it is to get him to fall asleep is getting him to wake up;

He associates mom with booby and dad with relaxation. Somehow all fussiness goes away when he is in Chris' arms;

He is very chill as long as he is satisfied. He can sit in his bouncer or lay in his swing for a long time just gazing around in complete contentment.

It's definitely entertaining to watch him grow everyday.

Baby Book

I'm currently reading this book and I'm totally loving the practicality in every page. Thank you to my cousin Trish who shipped it over to me as a preggy present. Finally a book written so simply and thoughts expressed in a very direct way.
It sits on our coffee table and whenever a baby question pops in my head- I just turn to this book and voila- a simple answer and advice to pretty much everything baby related. Dr. Cohen eases my insecurities about being a new mom through this book. It's been totally helpful and I highly recommend it.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Chris' sister- Nora sent us a beautiful flower arrangement as a welcoming present for Leon- (THANK YOU Nora!)
It had been sitting pretty in the middle of our coffee table. I'm well aware of my husband's talents and yet I'm in total admiration and awe whenever he effortlessly creates something like the art work pictured above. Chris drew the flower arrangement using a paint program in his new Ipad- (which by the way- he is totally addicted to). Yep- he managed to create this wonderful piece of art while sitting on the couch one lazy afternoon. He makes it look so easy!
If ever Leon grows up showing interest in art, painting or music, it would all be surely because of Chris (and not me).

On a different note, I had promised myself I will not step on a weighing scale until at least one month after giving birth to baby Leon. Well I crumbled and weighed myself this morning. I must admit that I'm not too happy about what I saw- but at the same time I feel that losing the pounds would not be too hard to accomplish either.
I gained a total of 42 lbs during pregnancy, lost 15 lbs the day Leon was born and now have about 25 lbs of weight to shed. With good healthy eating, less snacking, exercise and continued breast feeding I should be well on my way. Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Morning muffins

I'm asking myself the same question, "where the heck did she get the time to bake muffins?" Honestly I'm not quite sure. All I know is I pre-chopped the fruits yesterday and moved quickly in the kitchen while Leon was napping in his Zen Fisher Price swing. It's also a huge help that Chris is home with us for the next 3 weeks- yay!

Cooking always relaxes me. Baking is a new thing that began when I was pregnant. The last few days have been restless for us here at home being that each and everyone of us, including Lucy is getting used to our new family and caring for a newborn. A quick moment in my kitchen this morning was what I needed to get a sense of control and calmness. What came out of it are these yummy morning muffins packed with fresh strawberries, fresh blueberries, chopped walnuts and mashed bananas.
p.s. the only way I'm able to post this entry right now is because Leon is on his second nap of the day.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

He loves dad

Leon is so relaxed in Chris' arms. His dad has the magic touch to soothe this 'lil baby.


11 day old baby Leon. It's becoming obvious that the only thing that lulls baby to sleep is nursing. He falls asleep even before he is done feeding so here we are trying out this newborn pacifier to give another option for soothing. So far he is having a difficult time keeping it in his mouth and his facial expression tells me he finds the paci a bit strange.

I double checked with our pediatrician and she assured that just as long as Leon has been latching on well then there's no worry of nipple confusion. He has been such a good boy so far. Chris and I have been getting at least 5-6 hours of sleep collectively throughout the night. We're well aware that the situation could be worse so we are truly grateful for Leon's calm temperament.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Milk at work!

When Leon was born he weighed in at 6 lbs and 15 oz and then due to normal weight loss after delivery he went down to 6 lbs and 4 oz. I was quite worried about my milk not coming in on time and that his pediatrician may have to put him on a milk supplement. Thankfully milk supply arrived just in time and today our 'lil man is a whopping 7 lbs. He is a good eater and has gained the weight fast.

Photo taken yesterday at Dr. Monica Asnani's clinic for Leon's second pediatrician visit.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

First Bath

Our farm house sink was the perfect tub for our 'lil man!
Chris did an amazing job handling Leon- we definitely worked as a team. Leon cried at first but just as Chris predicted- as soon as we submerged half his body in the warm water, he calmed down and began to enjoy the experience.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Leon Dashin's Birth Story

On my previous blog entry "date night" I wrote that it might be the last night out Chris and I would have for a while since I was hoping Leon would be born the following day. My wish was granted and it also seems that our baby listened to Chris when before going to bed- he leaned over to my tummy and said "hey, it's time to come out".

I began to experience cramp pains on and off while trying to fall asleep. Just after 1am my water broke while I was getting out of bed in my attempt to get to the bathroom.
Thank goodness to the very informative and practical birth class we attended at Binibirth by Ana Paula Markel- we knew exactly what to expect at that moment. I called our doula, Carmen to give her the heads up that the time has come. She calmly suggested that we try to get the most sleep or rest we possibly can despite the water breaking since we will need all the energy in the later hours. So we did go back to bed and tried to doze off for a couple more hours. Carmen arrived at our home at 6am armed with her essential oils, a bouncy ball and her calm energy. As I look back now I clearly remember how Carmen was with me at every contraction from the bearable ones in the beginning all the way to the end when I thought my body was going to literally split in two. She had her soothing hand pressing on my pelvic bone that made each rush less lonesome, I never felt alone. Chris and Carmen would take turns towards the end. They were my two solid source of support and love in my most vulnerable moment and I'm forever grateful.
I must make special mention of my husband, Chris. Throughout the entire experience he was my rock- he was strong and yet completely emotionally accessible to me. Each time I looked at him I knew he was hurting just as much as I was and if he could take some of the pain for me- he would have. I did not think I could love him more but I actually do. He is not only my life partner but the father of our child.
I labored at the safety and warmth of our home for a total of 14 hours. We stayed at home until I could no longer rely on my breath to get me through the contractions that were coming so close together- about 3 minutes apart. Carmen said that the more open my cervix is by the time we get to the hospital- the less chances of my progression to stall.
We arrived at Cedars Sinai Hospital at around 4pm. Once I was examined it was established that my cervix was already open to 6cm. We were immediately set up in a labor and delivery room. Chris had our own playlist of soothing music on, dimmed all the lights and we all knew that it was on. Soon enough we will meet our son.
The next few hours were excruciatingly painful- I am lost for words trying to describe exactly how every rush felt. My wonderful ob-gyn Dr. Lily Lee saw my extreme pain and even though it was clear on our written birth wish list that I am NOT to be offered epidural- she could not help but let me know that there are pain relief options I can access at any moment.
I was dedicated and committed to bringing Leon into the world drug free and something in me surrendered to the pain towards the end. I felt every inch of our baby pass through me and with every primal deep roar I let out, I knew each rush brought us closer to the moment. I reached out to Chris who was close to my left, Carmen on my right and pushed five times. It was then when Dr. Lee took my hand to reach down and feel Leon's head emerging. It was just the motivation I needed to get him all out and on the 6th push at 8:04pm our lovely son came into the world. They laid him right on my chest and i whispered to him "I'm so proud of you for working so hard with me. I'm your mom and there's dad" Right there and then I knew our lives will never be the same. We were in love.

On a funny note, while the delivery room was still bustling with nurses- (one caring for Leon and a couple others tending to my needs), my ob-gyn Dr. Lee reminded me that she needs to see me for a check- up in about 6 weeks. Perhaps it was my vulnerability at that moment or just the sheer honesty and purity of the birth, without any hesitation I replied "doc, I think we better set that appointment earlier coz I really want to discuss birth control" Needless to say a burst of laughter filled the room.

Leon Dashin Cherubini 6 lbs and 15 oz, 20" long born on April 3, 2010 Saturday.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Leon Dashin Cherubini

Leon Dashin was born April 3, 2010 at 8:04pm weighing 6lbs and 15 oz 20" long.
We are so overwhelmed with joy.
I'll do my best to write his birth story and post it here.
More photos to come as well.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Date night

Chris and I enjoyed what might be our last date night for a while (crossing fingers that baby Leon comes this weekend). We love this amazing French restaurant near home called "Lucques". Every dish that comes out of the kitchen is mouth watering and made with the utmost care.
Chris especially loves their martinis that they make with real freshly squeezed fruit juices. I've been alcohol free for 9 months and I must say that I don't miss it much at all. I would not mind a really good glass of Pinot Noir but other than that- I've been just fine.

Dr. Harvey Karp

Watched the DVD for the second time today. As much as I'm hoping and crossing my fingers that our 'lil one won't need all the tricks Dr. Harvey offers, it's good to be armed with the 5 S's to soothe a fussy baby especially for a newbie mom like me. It seems like common sense but I would have never thought these 5 simple tricks can help a baby settle down and relax.
For those who have not heard of the 5's yet, the system consists of:
  • Swaddling- Wrap your baby tightly in a receiving blanket to duplicate the feelings of warmth and protection, and the "tight fit," in the womb. Swaddling also stops your baby's uncontrolled arm and leg flailing that can contribute to hysterical wailing. Karp says your baby will be calmer if she's swaddled 12-20 hours a day in the beginning. "Twelve hours may seem like a lot from our point of view, but to the newborn, it's already a 50 percent cutback on the 24-hour-a-day 'snuggling' in the uterus," he explains.
  • Side stomach soothing- Lay your baby on her side or stomach, which Karp believes shuts down the baby's "Moro reflex," or a sensation of falling, and thus helps keep her calm. (He adds, however, that a baby should never be put to sleep on her stomach, since this may increase the risk of SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome).
  • Shushing sounds- There is a whooshing noise within the womb, caused by blood flowing through the mother's arteries. You can recreate this sound with a "white noise" machine, a tape or CD with these "white noise" sounds: a dishwasher, a car ride or a hair dryer.
  • Swinging- Rhythmic movements in an infant swing, hammock, moving automobile, or baby carrier can keep your baby content.
  • Sucking- Occupy your baby with a pacifier, infant bottle, or a mother's nipple (which Karp describes as "the all-time, No. 1 sucking toy in the world.")
Thank you so much to my friend Lisa for sending this as a baby present.