Sunday, June 1, 2014

I love my family

That's all.  I love my family.

I even love my brother-in-law and nephew, despite that the fact that they photo bombed this perfect family portrait op

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Naomi Grace Escalante: Birth Story

We celebrated Grace's 1 month birthday today.  She celebrated by sleeping a lot :).

And in honor of her 1 month birthday, I thought I would finally post her birth story for anyone who is interested.

Tuesday afternoon (April 22), Michael flew to Denver for a quarterly corporate training that was scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.  He arrived in the late afternoon and joined some of his colleagues for dinner even though he was in quite a bit of pain as he had a tooth that needed a root canal.  He finally got to sleep at about midnight.

Meanwhile, I was having a girls’ night with my neighbor Emily and sister-in-law Ariana.  We ordered Sushi, gave ourselves pedicures and Ariana gave us make-overs.  I had been having sporadic contractions throughout the evening, but didn't think anything of it because I had been having evening contractions off and on for a couple of weeks.  The girls left a little before midnight and by midnight the contractions were becoming more frequent.  I knew that labor was starting.  I decided to take a warm bath to try and relax and slow down the contractions - I didn't really want to go into labor in the middle of the night with Michael in Colorado.  

By 12:30 I started timing the contractions and they were coming 3-15 minutes apart and so around 2:30am I decided to call Michael and give him a heads up.  I felt bad waking him because I didn't want to worry him if it was a false labor, or if the delivery was still days out (you may remember that I labored for 50 hours with Dominic, so I was hesitant to disturb him since he had a big day of meetings in the morning and because his tooth had been bothering him so much).  I also called the midwife to let her know that I was in the early stages of labor and that Michael was in Denver.  She recommended I take another warm bath (this time a little longer).

The warm bath helped a little but long story short, I didn't really sleep that night because the contractions were so consistent and intense.  I talked to my mom around 7am about coming up to help once Dominic woke up.  I told her that I was currently managing fine and would call her when he woke up so she could drive up (she lives about 45 minutes south).  Fortunately she had some motherly intuition and left before I ever had the chance to call her.  A little after 8 o'clock the contractions started coming very consistently every 10 minutes so I called Michael again to check in.  He had been looking at flights home.  The earliest flight back was at 10am, but it was already overbooked.  The first available flight would have him arriving around 2pm.  So he was going to checkout of his hotel, touch base with his employer, and head over to the airport.

After about an hour of consistent contractions, I called the Midwife back and updated her around 9:30am.  She scheduled an appointment for me to come into the birthing center for a check up at 3:00pm.  Dominic woke up about the time I got off the phone so I began making him breakfast and getting him ready for the day.  I called my mom and she said she was already on her way.  I had a few more contractions at 10 minutes apart, and then they dropped from 6 minutes to 5 minutes to 4 minutes, and then two, two, two minutes apart!!  I called the Midwife back immediately and she told me to get to the birthing center and she would meet me there.  I called my mom to see how close she was and if she could pick us up, or if she should just meet us at the birthing center (and I would have my neighbor drive us over).  Fortunately she was only a few blocks away and in a whirlwind raced up to our apartment, and helped Dominic and I outside to the car.

In the meantime Michael had notified me that he had gone to the airport early and miraculously made an earlier flight and would be landing in Salt Lake City around 11:30am.  Great News!

Dominic, my mom and I left the apartment a little after 10:30am and got to the birthing center around 11am.  After a quick check up, the midwives anxiously asked how soon Michael would arrive informing me that I was fully effaced and dilated to an 8!  They decided to have me take another warm bath in hopes that it would slow my labor just enough that Michael would make it!  Gratefully, the plane landed a little early and Michael arrived at the birthing center via taxi by about 11:30.   I started pushing about 10 minutes later and by 12:44pm our little girl was born. 

I was grateful to have my mother show up just in the nick of time to get me to the birthing center and be with Dominic while I gave birth.  It was so precious to see him interact with the new baby once she arrived.

Michael's mother, Deb and his siblings were able to come and meet Grace before heading to the airport to pick up Alyssa (the youngest sibling who was returning from an 18-month spanish-speaking service mission). Michael and Dominic went with them while my mom took care of Grace so I could get a little rest.

After grabbing some dinner, Michael and his family headed back to the birthing center to introduce the rest of the family to baby Grace (and so I could see Alyssa).

We checked out of the birthing center that evening and spent the night in our own bed.  The next day I came down with a fever (uncontrollable chills and shivering) and ended up in the ER that night as per the recommendation of our midwife (and both of our moms!).  Apparently a fever so soon after labor can be indicative of an infection that can even be life threatening!  All the blood work and tests came back ok so they sent us home.  

Fortunately things have been pretty smooth sailing since then!  Grace has been fighting some major congestion issues (sometimes interfering with sleeping and eating).  We had a pretty good scare one night (about 1 week after she was born) and almost took her to the ER because she was fighting so hard to breath.  (Anyone have any suggestions on how to clear her up? - I've been trying the bulb syringe and it hasn't been very helpful).

We are happy that little Grace has joined our family and that she arrived healthy.  I'll post more pics soon!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Family resemblance?

Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful, smart and talented women that have influenced my life.  I am a better wife, friend and mother because of you.

I've had lots of people tell me that Grace looks just like Dominic did when he was a baby.  So as I reflected on my family on this special day, I decided to post some pictures and let you decide for yourselves if there is some family resemblance:

Dominic at 2 weeks old (Just after a bath--Haha--He had the best newborn hair!)

2 weeks old - No hair product was used in this photo

2 weeks old

Grace at 2 weeks old

And just for fun - here are pictures of me and Michael as babies so you can see if our kiddos bear any resemblance to us!

Now for the survey! I want to hear your thoughts!

Do the kiddos look like each other?

Do the kiddos resemble me and/or Michael?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

As of late: our Baby Girl, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing and Cinco de Mayo

For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook or Instagram, we had our sweet baby girl (surprise!) April 23.  She was 7lbs and 7oz and 20.5 inches long.  (I will post the birth story soon - because it's worth sharing - as most birth stories are).

Here is our first family photo as a family of four!

Here are a couple of pics of the little Angel - Naomi Grace (in case you missed them)
Less than 1 week old

1 week old (I hope the dimples last!! I love dimples)

1 week old

1 week old
The week after Grace was born was a little hectic so heading into the second week I was feeling a little overwhelmed and decided that I just needed to get out and go for a bike ride.  I picked a trail that was all down hill (because I was still too sore to sit on my seat and pedal), passed the kids off to Michael and headed into the mountains.  It was my first time riding since last June when I broke my collarbone and man did I have a great time.  I took it pretty easy, but it just felt great to get outside and do something fun.
Out for my first ride last Thursday, 8 days after Grace was born

Saturday we rallied some friends to go Rock Climbing in Maple Canyon (world famous conglomerate rock climbing).  It was great to get outside and spend the day with friends.

Hiking up to the rock climbing from the parking area (we needed pack mules) (Pictured here with me and Dominic is Charlotte, my friend's daughter)

My friend Rachael came along with her two kids because her husband was out of town.  She is hard core and beautiful -seriously.

Dominic loved playing outside all day.  Here are a few pictures of him, just because he's so stinking cute

His "Cheese" face

Flexing his muscles

The litter of kids between all of us (Naomi is the only one not pictured). There were 8 kids, 7 adults, 3 blankets, and lots of snacks.  Phew.

Dominic enjoying Anya's company.

Back on the rock after a LONG hiatus.

We all had a great time rock climbing and wrangling the kids and enjoying the sunshine.  I am so excited to start enjoying my active hobbies again.

Monday we celebrated Cinco de Mayo as anyone should: with a huge, delicious mexican dinner and piƱata.

All in all things are going pretty well here.  Michael just started consulting on a new project that will have him traveling to California for meetings 1 or 2 days per week.  I am happy to say that I am recovering faster from this labor than I did with Dominic.  Dominic is loving having a baby.  He can't say Naomi or Grace, and just refers to her as his "baby".  He is going through lots of adjustments on top of having a new sister (like switching to a "big boy bed"-which he refuses to ever sleep in, being recently potty trained, etc.).  Some days are better than others.  Grace still sleeps a lot and is pretty angelic most of the time - I hope it lasts :).

Stay tuned for my birth story ... 
Hope all is well with you all.
The Escalantes.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter AKA my due date

By the time I finish typing this blog, Easter will have come and gone.  We had a wonderful day (and even weekend) celebrating with family and friends, without the interruption of having a baby today :).  Here are a few family photos we took to document the 40-week (full-term) milestone:


We'll keep you posted! Baby number two's arrival is TBD.

An anxious Momma who's ready to not be pregnant.
(but who also fears the reality of having a newborn with sleepless nights while parenting a two-year old).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

India Part II

Part 2 of our India adventures!

Here is a brief recap from India Part 1:  We had some crazy logistical issues getting to India, but then once we made it, we loved Goa (the beach!) and the wedding was amazing.  You may remember that there was a cab strike the day we were supposed to leave Goa and a wonderful local man ended up giving us a ride to the airport so we could catch our flight to New Delhi (where we would then travel to Agra to see the Taj Mahal).
This flight leaving Goa was delayed, but we were happy to arrive in New Delhi with barely enough time to take a tuk tuk taxi to the train station so we could catch our train to Agra.  Our train was scheduled to arrive around midnight, but after some delays, we finally reached our hotel around 2:30am.  
example of a Tuk Tuk Taxi
Catching a nap on our late night train to Agra.  Dominic and I got to share a top bunk!

We had heard that the best time to see the Taj Mahal was at sunrise and sunset.  So, despite feeling exhausted and getting to our hotel in the middle of the night, we woke up very early so we could catch the sunrise within the gates of the Taj.  We were a little disappointed to find that it was an overcast morning, but were still smitten with our initial views of this world famous symbol of love (An emperor built in in memory of his wife).

Our plan was to watch the sunrise and then head back to the hotel and nap/get cleaned up and then head back to tour the buildings.  However, we learned our tickets were valid for a 1-time entry only.  Finally we spoke with someone that allowed us to leave so we could check out of our hotel and then return to walk through the Taj Mahal.  Here are a few of my favorite photos from the day:

Dominic was psyched on his special slippers to enter the Taj Mahal!

You'll remember that Dominic was practically a celebrity in Mumbai.  Well, the photo bombing resumed in Agra.  Mostly it was adults that wanted their photos taken with Dominic, but occasionally a parent simply wanted their child to have their photo taken with him, which was actually kind of sweet.

Michael and I absolutely loved getting to see the Taj Mahal.  It was even more beautiful in person and exceeded our expectations.

However the day quickly turned south when we realized that Michael's return ticket to the USA had never been reinstated and he didn't have a flight booked home and might end up stranded in India resulting in Dominic and I having to fly home by ourselves (and him not being able to return to work on time, etc. etc).  You may need to reread the beginning of my last blog, but basically Michael's ticket was mysteriously canceled on our way TO India and we missed our flight leaving the USA because of it.  However, after HOURS in the airport working with different staff (in a delay that had a negative domino effect for days on the rest of our trip), we were reassured that his original ticket had been reissued and he was all set to go for the remainder of our trip.

Needless to say we were extremely frustrated to learn that his ticket was again mysterious deleted.  We tried to contact US airways, and without any success enlisted the help of a family member in Utah to hound US Airways to get the ticket reinstated (hoping that none of the flights were sold out at this point).

Feeling a little helpless, we decided to go for a walk to watch the sunset over the Taj Mahal.  

The views were amazing!  I'd recommend this hike to anyone planning to visit Agra.

Walking to an overlook of the Taj Mahal - Dominic was very excited.

We stumbled upon this old school slide that went ridiculously fast--Dominic loved it.  I was glad that Michael had taken him :)

We had to catch a train that night down to Udaipur, and by the time we left our hotel, we still hadn't heard of any resolution with Michael's flights.  That made for a much more stressful night.
Waiting in the train station for our train: tired and frustrated with US Airways (of course the train was delayed)

The train station was packed with people waiting for different trains

Stumbled upon this little wrapper while waiting for our train.  I love the honest packaging: Sugar Boiled Confectionery.  Maybe if all candies were labeled as such in the U.S. I would think twice about consuming said candies.--doesn't sound very healthy or appealing.

Michael trying to nap on the top bunk on our way to Jaipur.  Dominic and I shared a top bunk across from him.

Again, we arrived later than our scheduled arrival time (we arrived sometime in the middle of the night) and were so relieved to check into our hotel and crash.

We slept in and enjoyed a wonderful breakfast buffet and were comforted to finally hear back that after many conversations with different individuals and additional run-around, Michael's airline ticket problem had been resolved (Thanks Deb for all your hard work!)  We were so relieved that he would be able to return with Dominic and I.

Dominic enjoying the view from our hotel room while he drinks his morning beverage of choice (mango juice)

We headed into the old city of Jaipur, nicknamed the "pink city".  The tuk tuk ride was crazy as cars, taxis, buses, bicycles and other tuk tuks jammed the roads.  Car lanes don't really mean anything in India.  There are usually much more vehicles spread across a road then there are lanes.  And all the drivers just honk and merge and cut each other off in hopes of advancing through the chaos.

Dominic was so exhausted from the back to back traveling the last few days that he managed to sleep through the chaotic and noisy ride.

Here is a small sample of what it's like to ride in a tuk tuk in a busy overpopulated city in India:

Notice incessant honking.  I thought Michael's hand was going to get smashed holding his phone out trying to take the video--

Jaipur is nicknamed the "pink city" because a lot of it was painted pink in the 1870's when the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria were coming to visit.  Since pink denotes the color of hospitality, the leader of the city had it all painted pink to welcome the guests.  

Where the royal family lives in Jaipur

Walking around the "pink city" near the royal palace

Walking the streets of Jaipur - the pink city

The Pink City after a rain storm

The city of Jaipur was big, crowded and dirtier than I expected.  The street venders were the most aggressive and obnoxious we had encountered (although they were pretty intense around the Taj Mahal as well) and Dominic and I were both a little overwhelmed.  We didn't mind leaving the town that night on our next train. 

Settling in for our long overnight train ride to Udaipur.

We arrived in Udaipur around 6:30 am and were grateful to experience the still-sleeping streets.  We sat and enjoyed this view from our hotel while eating breakfast.

The hotel manager was very friendly and very sweet towards Dominic.  They were instant friends.

While in Udaipur, Michael visited some local tailors and had a couple of custom suits made.  
Dominic enjoyed relaxing at the tailor's shop while Michael was being fitted for a suit.

We set out on foot to explore Udaipur, which I instantly liked better than Jaipur.  Udaipur is said to be the Venice of Asia because of it's beautiful ambiance and romantic setting on a beautiful lake.  Here are a few of my favorite photos of the streets of Udaipur:

"Nobody's home"

Cows were everywhere.  Like stray dogs in Central America, they wander the streets freely.

It happened to be a holiday one of the (two) days we there so it was fun to walk around and see all the decor lining the streets and to see the locals celebrating.  We were welcomed into this circle of women singing in the street.

The city palace of Udaipur

The city palace of Udaipur

We took a boat ride around the lake and enjoyed all the beautiful architecture of the city.

Dominic's language really started to develop throughout the course of the trip.  He learned to say "boat" when we went dolphin watching in Goa and really fell in love with boats.

Enjoying the sunset on our boat ride around the lake

I'm not sure what possessed him to stick his hand into the crocodiles mouth... haha.

But then he showed that crocodile who was boss and wrestled it.
...quite the little thrill seeker

The next day was our last day in Udaipur (and last full day in India).  We had seen a couple of camels from a distance in Agra (the morning we went to watch the sunrise at the Taj Mahal) so we had hoped to see more camels.

I don't think Michael or I realized just how tall camels are!  It was a little scary getting on and off the camel.  The camel had to kneel down on it's knees in order for us to climb on.  And then it was a crazy violent rocking, shifting motion for him to stand up.
I felt like I was going to fall off the entire ride.  
Here is a short clip of our camel ride:

Dominic wasn't so sure about this yawn...

These kids followed us for a long time while we were looking for somewhere to eat lunch.  Finally we stopped and they swarmed Dominic.  I think he liked his new friends

Listening to a musician on the bridge

We were supposed to fly from Udaipur back to Mumbai where we would begin the journey home.  However, we learned there had been a misunderstanding when our tickets were booked and we ended up having to buy all new tickets from Udaipur to Mumbai.  Yikes.  We were tired of all the travel logistics going awry, I was ready to go home.

Fortunately, once we boarded the plane in Udaipur, everything went pretty smoothly.  We flew from Udaipur to Mumbai.  Then to Germany.  Then to Philadelphia.  And finally to Utah.  

We arrived after sunset so I was disappointed to not see the welcoming of the majestic Rocky Mountains, but we were glad to be home.  

We had an eventful and emotional trip.  Goa was beautiful and the wedding was phenomenal - truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and we were so grateful to be a part of it.  Congratulations our dear friends, Prashant and Priyanka.  We also loved seeing the Taj Mahal and are excited to get a photo blown up for our Seven World Wonders Hall of Fame (in addition to our Machu Picchu, Chichen Itza and Colosseum photos).  The food was also amazing and will be greatly missed.

We were grateful to have the opportunity to visit India, but were grateful to return home healthy, safe, sound and as a family!  Now we are just laying low preparing for the newest addition to join our family (around April 20 aka Easter).  

Hope you enjoyed seeing India through our eyes!

We will be celebrating Michael's birthday this Friday so be sure to send him a birthday message of love!