Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I don´t have much time to write and we don´t have internet connection at home, I´m actually writting from my Ana and Jose´s plac (my sister and brother in law). Things have been great since we arrived, so much love and attention. Everybody wanted to meet Marc and Lily, they also were happy to see me, but only after Marc and Lily :)
Feels great to be surrounded by family and friends!
The trip was quite an adventure, it almost deserves its own posting... 6 hours delay in O´Hare due to snow, change of tickets in Madrid for our Madrid-Alicante flight, etc, etc... The best thing is that Marc slept really good in the plane and behaved great all the time, he seems to be quite a traveller!!!!!!!
Enough for today, time to go for dinner with friends now, it´s tough to be us :P
Love to all and best wishes for Christmas!
Friday, December 12, 2008
This week Marc had his scheduled checkup with his pediatrician, due to our upcoming trip to Spain she also pushed her 4 month vaccination forward a few weeks. Marc did pretty good with the injections all things considered, it still breaks your heart when you see his reaction, we were playing with him while the nurse was getting everything ready and he was pretty relaxed, then when it was needle time he made this surprised what-the-bleep-did-just-happen and started crying...
Here come his current stats:
- weight: 15 lbs 1 oz (almost 7 kg)
- height: 25 inches (63.5 cm)
in both cases he's in the 75 percentile, certainly a big boy.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
He has grown a lot over the last few weeks, next week we'll have his next pediatrician appointment and are starting to wonder what his weight and length will be... his 3 months old clothes are starting to be too short for him. During his next visit he'll get more shots, his doctor suggested to get those prior to our flight to Spain, probably a good idea, I usually get sick after that trip (how ironic that I almost never get a cold in Chicago, but almost always I get one while back home in sunny Altea)... I certainly hope Marc doesn't...
Anyways, 3 months indeed, it's now starting to be almost impossible to believe that Marc has not been always around. Everybody was right, yes, life changes once you have a baby. It did not change in the way that some mentioned though:
- we still don't feel the urge to move to the suburbs.
- we still don't feel that a condo does not provide enough space, even though right now even Lily's sister is living with us.
- we don't feel that we are giving away everything, we still go out, we still go shopping, we still meet friends often, we still take care of ourselves...
Life changes indeed, priorities change, responsibility increases and you worry more about the future than you used to before, but so far is a change for the better. We both are in our 30s, we've both enjoyed our years of going out often, and we both feel that it was probably time to move onto the new phase in life.
Other than that, not much to report.... Thanksgiving was nice, lots of food and good time spent with good people. Day after was nice too as it gave Lily the opportunity to have a break and go shopping with Danna, while I took Marc to meet Lucho and Betty (friends from Argentina who now live in Austin, TX) who were in Chicago for a few days.
The best thing though is that the countdown continues barely 1 and 1/2 weeks until our Christmas trip, we can barely wait.....
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
On Saturday the Berniers (Luke, Isa, Emily and Peter) stopped by to visit us and meet Marc, I cooked some pizzas and we had a good time just hanging out and catching up.
On Sunday we went for brunch with most of our dysfunctional Chicago family, it was cool as always, fun conversation, very good food at "Taste of heaven"... before that I went for my first chilly long run of the winter, it was 20 F (around -7 Centigrade), but it felt great, the lake shore trail was pretty empty... life is good indeed: long run, warm shower and good food with friends!
The rest of the Sunday was pretty lazy, most of the time went by watching sports on TV. Marc likes to watch American Football (all those colors and movement). He had a very long nap lying on my chest, this is one of the best simple perks of fatherhood, when your son cannot think of a more comfy place to nap than your chest.
Thanksgiving is coming, in what has become a little tradition we will go to the Moussa's for thanksgiving. Not having our families around it feels great to share this special day with them, we are honored to be part of their extended family.
This year we have much to be thankful for, it sounds almost surreal, but only on New Year's day we found out that Lily was pregnant and now Marc is almost 3 months old. We've been blessed with this baby, our life has certainly changed, but definitely for the better. Everyday is a new adventure, Marc keeps growing, learning and surprising us.
Happy thanksgiving to our families and all our friends!
A few pictures follow (more, as usual in Picasa):
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Of all the features in the play-mat his favorite one seems to be the small beach ball which he likes to hold, punch and lick. When he holds it he shows a really promising basketball-like posture, maybe we have a Yao Ming in the family :)
One more video of Marc having a blast with the ball follows:
Monday, November 10, 2008
- Marc got both his passports.
- Lily got her Spanish visa.
- We had our green card interview today and got approved.
We can almost feel the taste of the tapas and paellas we'll enjoy during our trip to Spain :)
Meanwhile there go a few pictures (more as usual in our Picasa site).
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I know that moving forward everybody will claim to have been in the Obama rally that night, I won't lie to you, we were not there. We had plan a romantic night in the city to celebrate Lily's birthday in advance and we carried on as planned. This was our first night out alone since Marc was born, we enjoyed a great dinner at Aria (outstanding restaurant) and then Wicked the musical at the Oriental Theater.
The atmosphere was unbelievable when we got to the loop, the amount of people walking towards Grant Park was amazing, young people, whole families...
Once the musical was over and we left the theater it was official that Obama had won, the crowds were celebrating, singing,... This is what hope in a better future is all about.
It won't be easy for Obama, the expectation level is really high and the task at hand a tough one, but hey, who better than him? He is smart, he can communicate and he wants to negotiate rather than impose his will on everybody. All the best to you Mr President!
This event is even more relevant for us now, after all our kid is an American citizen and Obama is his president :).
My father always used to joke about how I was born in Democracy in Spain, how Franco (our terrible, cruel, assassin dictator) died a month before I was born after 40 years of dictatorship out of fear of what was coming (me :)).... Well, luckily enough Marc will not have to enjoy the soon-to-be-former president for long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
On Thursday we also went to the Spanish consulate in Chicago, paperwork is moving forward, Lily got her visa on the same day, Marc's passport will be sent to us by mail. As we stand it's just a matter of getting Marc's passports and we'll be ready for our Christmas vacation. I can't wait, I'm looking forward to this trip very much, work keeps being hectic and intense and it doesn't look like it's going to slow down anytime soon. It will be great to be back home, to spend time with my family and to disconnect of everything that has to do remotely with telecom.
What else what else? Friday it was "trick or treat" day in the US. Marc, Lily and I went for a walk around the neighborhood, weather was great (70 F). On our way back home we decided to walk around some of the streets where there are more homes than condos, it was pretty cool. Soooooooooooooooooo many kids.... the homeowners were great, most of them dressed in scary costumes and making the kids have a great time... you gotta love how folks really enjoy this very holiday!
On Saturday night we had some friends home for dinner, we had a great time, if there's something we really enjoy is to entertain friends, share a good conversation, a good glass of wine... Food was very good too, Lily cooks better better every time, thank god I'm keeping up with my running, otherwise I would have put a good amount of extra pounds by now :) Following are a few shots of Marc in his baseball outfit, we bought this a few months ago and Marc is now able to use it since he's grown so much:
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Getting the birth certificate allowed us to get started in preparing for our Christmas trip to Spain:
- we bought the air tickets before their prices get even higher.
- we applied for Marc's US passport.
- we will go to the Spanish Consulate to register Marc, apply for his Spanish passport and Lily's Spanish visa.
We also got scheduled for our green card interviews... hopefully all these procedures will go smoothly and very soon we will be able to stop worrying about visas for a while... We can't wait.
Once again though, reading through all the laws and regulations it's quite amazing to see how easy is to run into catch-22 situations. We already ran into this last year when Lily could not get a Spanish visa, we basically had everything ready for her to apply for a new US visa at the US embassy in Spain. Unfortunately she could not get a Spanish visa because she had a single entry visa for the US and therefore could not guarantee that she would be able to come back...
This time the dependencies were between Marc's SSN and passport. It's recommended to have SSN when applying for the passport, but it's almost required to have a passport when applying for an SSN (unless the SSN application is filled by the Hospital). In theory the Hospital did apply at the same time they applied for his birth certificate, however in true Chicago fashion that may take over 4 months, so I was considering re-applying in person... not a chance, after reading what it would take to verify Marc's identity as a newborn I decided to apply for his passport without SSN.... we will wait for his SSN, hopefully he'll get it before he graduates from college :)
Monday, October 20, 2008
A few pics from the last couple of weeks:
Thursday, October 16, 2008
After more than half an hour typing a very cool and fun post, somehow I lost it all... darn you blogger, I don't like you anymore :(
I'll try again (too much for auto save)....
One more time I'm blogging from the Dulles International Airport (DC), which basically means we had another crazy week at work which resulted in a urgent trip out here to deal with another crisis... I can't say that things are getting any better or more relaxed...
We (John, my co-worked who joined me this time) and I had tickets to go back home at 9:50 pm tonight, however, we got done with most of the critical stuff at around 2pm and decided to rush to the airport hoping to make it into the 5:20 pm flight. Unfortunately, so did some other 2000 people... finally we did not make it and had to wait around (thus this blog).
Waiting in stand-by (and not being called) gives you time to witness some really interesting stuff:
- some people really wait until the last minute to board.
- even better, some of this people don't really get stressed out about it even a tiny bit. This one guy literally came walking as he had all the time in the world, enjoying the airport decoration at 5:19pm, approached us and asked us if they were already boarding the 5:20pm flight... ALREADY????? Did you mean STILL??????? What the hell....
- I don't understand how they manage the stand-by list thing. Today they really created a big mess, in the last 5 minutes they decided to let some of the folks in the stand-by list in ("just sit wherever you see a seat available"), basically assuming that the actual folks with boarding passes would not make it. Sure enough 2 minutes later a family of five showed up running at full speed through the terminal..... all of a sudden they had more folks into the plane than they could sit, what a mess.... I'm happy I wasn't one of them, otherwise they would have to call the national guard to get me out :)
- I also don't understand what the lady in the boarding desk types in her computer, but it's gotta be some really complicated stuff, like nuclear reaction formulas, the new federal budget for 2009 or something.... it always reminds me of "Meet the parents".
Anyway, I have some time in my hands so decided to post, too bad I could not make the other flight, I would be almost home by now... the good side is I'll get lots of stuff done tonight and I'll take tomorrow off, LIFE IS GOOD.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
This other one shows mom and Marc all pimped and ready to go out for a walk (Marc is wearing his first pair of blue jeans, talking about cool).
Saturday, October 11, 2008
It's taken me another week to finally sit down and blog, another week of economic crisis, stock prices dropping, increased insecurity, 401ks becoming 201ks... oh well, we'll take it one day at a time.
The first half of the week was pretty uneventful: work and more work, some short walks around the neighborhood, etc. Wednesday night, I took Marc to the library, we got him a cool little book in Spanish titled "Cocorico" :)
On Thursday we had Marc's regular scheduled checkup with his pediatrician, everything is good, Marc is growing fast and healthy, he's up to 11 Lbs now (5 Kg) and 23 inches (58.5 cm).
That same day, I decided to go to the city hall to request Marc's birth certificate which we need to apply for his passports (Spanish and American). Now, this was quite a frustrating experience, one that tells a lot about how the public services work (or better don't work) in this city... you really have to wonder how Chicago could even consider organizing the Olympic games when it has all these very basic issues (really poor public transportation, poor public services, ...).
Anyway, here's how the story goes. When Marc was born the hospital filled all the registration paper work with the city of Chicago as usual. They gave us a document that we have to fill and mail to request the birth certificate to be sent to us. In that document it was written that processing time is 3 to 4 weeks.... well, 5 weeks later I called the office of vital records, to ask about the status and the lady on the other side of the phone told me that they were still processing requests from July!!!!!! (we are almost in mid October).
I asked her what could I do to get the certificate faster and she told me to go to the city hall to request it person... so I did, this is where things get really messed up. They have 2 offices for vital records, the regular one and one for kids under 6 months old. The second one only opens from 2 pm to 4 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but that small detail is nowhere to be found in any document or even in their website. Most of the people who had already taken a day off from work, obviously decided to stick around until 2 pm, queuing in front of that very tiny office, most of the people actually brought their kids along (again, most of them under 6 months old), I'm glad I didn't. You can imagine the amount of stress in the parents, kids crying... all while the queue kept growing as if we were waiting to buy tickets for the Superbowl.
Once they finally did open things only got worse... the office is tiny and barely has space to sit or stand up, everybody was very crowded with diaper bags and strollers all over the place... you take your number like you would in the deli and wait again..... once your number gets called a rather impolite lady takes your documents and informs you that there's no chance in earth you will get the certificate the same day because they close at 4 pm...
So at the end of the day, after all this waiting in a tiny crowded dirty office you really don't get anything other than their commitment to send you the certificate within 5 business day, now again, they had also committed to attend my initial request within 3 to 4 weeks and we are up to 6... and they are still processing apps from July.... so really, confidence is very low...
It's amazing to witness this is how public services work in the 3rd biggest city in the US, the whole time it felt like I was in some 3rd world country.... one thing is for sure, I will never again complain about bureaucracy in Spain.... all things considered, it turns out things work pretty good back home.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
The next picture shows Marc asking his paparazzo Dad to leave him alone:
... but we all know this whole fighting the paparazzi is just a pose, at the end of the day we all enjoy modeling:
To make things even crazier, this week Chicago held Wimax World, the most important trade show for the technology I've been involved in for the last over 3 years. Since I refuse to blog much about work, one of the biggest events of the week was to use for the first time the front baby carrier. Marc seems to like it and we've used it a number of times since, it's really convenient, specially when you go grocery shopping.
The weekend was a lot busier. On Friday we got together with our dysfunctional family (Kula dixit) and went for dinner at one of the many Vietnamese restaurants in the Argyle area, I'm a big fan of Pho, the delicious Vietnamese beef noodle soup, so I was happy to see the rest of the folks enjoying the experience. After dinner we went for a late coffee and cake to Kopi. We brought Marc along and he pretty much slept the whole time, no matter how noisy, how many people... he really is an easy guy, no drama whatsoever.
Saturday was even more eventful: shopping at Target and Babies'r'us. The Spektors came to the city to visit us and meet Marc in person. It was a very nice evening, we went for a walk to enjoy the nice cool weather, enjoyed a great dinner at Andie's where they prepare some mean kabobs and couscous and afterwards we went back to Kopi (yep, amazingly in a neighborhood like Andersonville, Kopi is one of the few places where you can catch a late coffee). Once again we brought Marc and once again he behaved amazingly, this time he did not sleep, but he was just quiet, enjoying the "action" surrounding him... So far, we are truly blessed with Marc's behavior, which is why our life has not changed so much after he was born. We can still get together with friends, we can go out for walks, shopping, coffee,... he is cool with everything and really easygoing.
Sunday was time to relax, I did get out for my long run of the week and for a long walk with Marc in the afternoon, but mom really needed a long nap and some do-nothing-at-all time, which she finally got.
I had to use most of the remaining time on Sunday to complete my on-line traffic school class... About a month ago I got a ticket for speeding, so I had to spend 4 hours going through this class. There are definitely more important reasons for not speeding (safety being the top 1), but not having to take this looooooooooooooooooooong online class is a pretty big one.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Marc esta a punto de cumplir 4 semanas, ahora ya le empieza a gustar mas y mas salir y pasar tiempo fuera de casa. Esta semana, paramos en un par de cafeterias del barrio durante nuestro paseo diario. Afortunadamente parece gustarle, lo que es un alivio teniendo en cuenta que el padre es cafe-adicto.
Ayer, ademas fue especialmente agradable, paramos en Pause Cafe y mandamos un SMS a Danna y Missy para decirles que estabamos cerca de su apartamento, asi que vinieron a pasar un rato con nosotros, charlar y ponernos al dia.
Hoy fuimos de compras a un centro comercial, mientras Lily y Xia buscaban ropa para ellas, Baobao y yo estuvimos de paseo disfrutando del sol, leyendo. Al final incluso paramos en una tienda de ropa para bebes y le compre un modelito nuevo a Marc. La verdad es que sigue siendo un bebe tranquilo y relajado.
Esta tarde puse un monton de nuevas fotos en Picasa, tambien queria compartir el video que aparece arriba en el que se puede ver la secuencia de caras y movimientos que "ejecuta" Marc para informarnos de que tiene hambre. Desde el momento que empieza la rutina, tenemos unos 45 segundos antes de que se ponga hiper nervioso y empiece a chupar todo lo que pille: su ropa, la silla del coche, la nariz de papa....
Friday, September 26, 2008
Anyways, this is the first trip since Marc was born... tonight when I called Lily on her cell I could hear him in the background making noises (basically asking for more food), it broke my heart to hear him crying while being apart, not being able to hold him.... I guess I am starting to understand why folks always talk about how much more difficult is to be away from home once you have kids...
Sunday, September 21, 2008
One thing is for sure, he loves his naps, one cannot look any happier or more relaxed:
Not much more to report, last week we had both Marc's and Lily's checkup with their doctors. Marc is growing nice and healthy, he's up to 9 lbs and has grown one inch. Lily meanwhile is doing good, she's already lost almost half of the weight she won during pregnancy and is starting to recover her stamina. A couple of days ago we went for a stroll by the lake, which gave us a chance to compare Marc's and daddy's cars, I think we still like daddy's better :)
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
Periódicamente, atravieso momentos en los que me pregunto el porque, a veces ocurre al darme cuenta de que el tiempo pasa y el crecimiento profesional no es siempre acorde con la cantidad de trabajo y esfuerzo que uno pone, otras veces es simplemente al sentir que debería ser capaz de separar la vidas profesional y personal mejor. Durante un tiempo, al regresar de Pekín, conseguí controlar las horas que estaba trabajando, en buena medida al involucrarme en otras actividades: clases de fotografía, disfrutando muchísima música en directo, ejerciendo de profesor voluntario para alumnos de 1er y 2o curso...
Este año no tome ningunas vacaciones hasta ahora. Descubrimos que Lily estaba embarazada el día de Año Nuevo y, por lo tanto, decidimos usar los dias después del nacimiento de Marc y durante nuestro viaje a España en Navidades. Sin duda, esta fue la decisión correcta, pero según pasaba el verano me encontraba más y más cansado, especialmente en el plano mental; la presión que nunca acaba en el trabajo al desarrollar, optimizar y llevar una nueva tecnología al mercado, las constantes visitas a clientes...
Tomar 2 semanas de vacaciones para desconectar totalmente no es sencillo y tener una Moto Q conectada a mi servidor de correo electrónico constantemente no ayuda gran cosa, es casi imposible evitar echar un vistazo de vez en cuando a los correos y todavía mas difícil no reacciona...
Es entonces cuando me planteo mis prioridades, la llegada de Marc es un evento que cambiara nuestras vidas para siempre, un evento que nunca volverá a ocurrir. Quizás o quizás no tengamos más niños, pero Marc es irrepetible y se merece mi atención por completo. Cuando estamos tendidos en la cama jugando, cada vez que llora cuando le cambio el pañal, la primera vez que le bañamos en su bañera nueva, etc... Sinceramente, durante esos momentos me planteo si todos esos problemas urgentes en el trabajo son realmente TAN importantes comparado con ver a tu hijo crecer feliz y saludable.
Ahi van unas cuantas fotos divertidas que tomamos ayer cuando Marc y yo estábamos jugueteando (mas como siempre en nuestra Web en Picasa)
This year I did not take any time off at all until now. We found out about the pregnancy on New Years Day and, therefore, decided to save all the vacation days for Marc's arrival and for our trip to Spain for Christmas. Although this was the right thing to do, I was mentally exhausted as the summer passed by, the never ending stress level at work creating, optimizing and deploying a brand new technology, trips to visit customers... Taking 2 weeks off is not an easy one, having a Moto Q connected to my work email server doesn't help either, it's impossible to refrain yourself from checking out what's going on and even more difficult not to react...
That's when I think about priorities, Marc's arrival is a life changing event, once that will never occur again, we may or may not have more kids, but Marc is unique and he deserves my undivided attention. Every time we lay down on the bed just playing around, every time he cries during a diaper change, his first full bath, etc... And quite frankly, during these moments I wonder whether all these work high priority issues are really SO important when compared with seeing your son grows healthy and happy....
There go a few fun pictures that we took yesterday when Marc and I were having fun (more as usual at our Picasa gallery).
Thursday, September 11, 2008
This morning I spent a few hours glancing through all the pictures we've taken since Marc's birth as well as some from the pregnancy, it's kind of difficult to settle on just 25 of them, but I finally did and created this collage using Picasa:
Days keep passing by pretty uneventfully, which is a good thing, baby and mom are getting a good amount of rest. Dad, on the other hand, can get by with just 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night, so I'm killing the rest of the time running errands, reading as much as possible (about to finish "A thousand splendid suns" by Khaled Hosseini; and about to start "Delirio" by Laura Restrepo), going for long runs by the lake, catching up on movies ("City of men" was the last one a couple of nights ago) and just chilling out and enjoying the dolce far niente.
All that changes when Marc is awake, then it's action time :)
Todavia me sorprende la cantidad de cosas que la gente de Google pone a nuestra disposicion de forma gratuita, obviamente Picassa es una de las herramientas que empece a usar mas a menudo ultimamente. Sinceramente me parece una herramienta muy interesante y facil de usar que te permite editar fotos de forma simple y rapida.
Esta manana pase un par de horas mirando las fotos que tomamos desde que nacio Marc y tambien las del embarazo, fue dificil selecionar solo 25, pero al final lo consequi y cree este collage en Picassa.
Los dias siguen pasando sin grandes novedades, lo cual es, en si mismo una buena noticia. Baobao y mama descansan y dormitan frecuentemente. Yo, por mi parte, no necesito mas de 4 o 5 horas de sueno, asi que estoy dedicando el resto del tiempo a tareas varias en el piso, leyendo tanto como puedo (estoy a punto de acabar “A thousand splendid suns” de Khaled Hosseini y a punto de empezar “Delirio” de Laura Restrepo), saliendo a correr por el lago Michigan, viendo peliculas en DVD (la ultima resanable fue “Ciudad de hombres” brasilena de la misma gente que hizo “Ciudad de Dios”) y simplemente disfrutando del dolce far niente.
Todo esto cambia cuando Marc esta despierto, esos son momentos para la accion :)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Additionally, there goes a short clip we took a couple of days ago when Marc had hiccups :)
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
- parece ser un tipo bastante tranquilo.
- cuando se enfada es por una buena razon (tiene hambre, necesita un panyal nuevo).
- no le gusta vestir un panyal manchado, pero odia que le cambien.
- definitivamente no le gusta ser banyado, por lo menos los banyos de esponja que le estamos dando de momento.
- una vez dormido, no parece especialmente sensible a ruidos y movimientos (como su padre).
Lo mas interesante de tener un recien nacido en casa es precisamente eso, observar su comportamiento y reacciones, sus expresiones faciales, cambios de humor, etc.
Lo mas estresante es el numero de tomas y lo impredecible que son por el momenot, a veces parece poder pasar 4 o 5 horas sin alimento, mientras otras veces apenas 10 minutos despues de que Lily le acabe de dar el pecho ya esta pidiendo mas...
Una de las cosas mas bonitas como papa es comprobar el increible lazo existente entre mama y bebe, los dos caen dormidos al mismo tiempo durante las tomas de pecho e incluso, por sus movimientos sincronizados, parece que tengan suenyos parecidos!!!!!!
- he seems to be pretty quiet.
- when he gets mad is for a good reason (need food, needs a diaper change).
- he doesn't like to sit on a dirty diaper, but doesn't like to be changed either.
- he definitely doesn't like baths (at least the sponge baths he's been getting so far).
- once he falls asleep noises don't seem to bother him much.
The most interesting thing about having a newborn home is exactly this, to observe his behavior and reactions, the facial expressions, mood changes, etc.
The most stressful part is the amount of feedings and how unpredictable they are, sometimes he seems to be able to go through 4 or 5 hours without eating, while some other times 10 minutes after Lily is done feeding him, he's already asking for more...
One of the nicest things as a daddy is to witness the amazing bond existing between baby and mom, they almost always fall asleep at the same time late in the feedings, they seem to have similar dreams...