Do something that scares you

I’m very proud of my little lady.  We went to the pool yesterday and she did something that really really scared her: She jumped off the edge of the pool into my waiting arms.  I saw the fear in her eyes…  She stood there, nervous, scared, contemplating.  She told me that she was scared that she was going to “fall and bump her head”.  We tried a few trial jumps where I would hold her hand and she would jump in.  But the scary part was jumping with out my hands to hold her.  She had a nervous laughter, looked at me, looked at the water, frowned, laughed again, furled her little brows and gathered little drops of courage only to refrain from jumping.  After a few moments of encouraging her, telling her that daddy was going to be there for her, she jumped.  And it was so great to see her trust me, to see her believe in herself.. and do something that scared her…

May you always trust that daddy is here for you my love.  And may you never hold back on doing something because you are afraid.  You are brave and can do anything.  Daddy is proud of you.  The world is yours to conquer. 

When I’m afraid, I will trust in you.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. 

-Psalm 56:3

What will the stork be delivering?

Special Delivery...

Ok people, you all were right last time you were asked to vote.. .  I again want to know what you all think.  Will the Downs clan have a boy to level the playing field and bring balance to the house? Or will the ladies continue to rule the house…  enforcing tea parties before bedtime, princess themes in (what was supposed to be) daddy’s mancave, and cute/adorable ballerina Tutus as the must have fashion accessory?  Although I LOVE the endless hugs and kisses from my sweet lady Seanna, I would like to have a boy to fight the good fight with me when the ladies want to do girly things.

Oh man… this is scary.  I’ll admit it, I’m scared all over again.  I can’t imagine two girls.. I don’t know how I am going to do it.  I’ll be outnumbered…  3-1.

*Insert Drum Roll*

Now Vote!

Will the clan be having a Boy or another Girl?

  • Boy! (58%, 18 Votes)
  • Girl! (42%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 31

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Note:  Voting will end on 5/21 at 3PM EST.

LIVE FEED from Dr.’s office will be posted here on 5/21 at 3PM as we discover the sex.  So stay tuned!


UPDATE: As everyone already know, IT’S A BOY!!!  I gotta admit, I was sweating bullets.  I’m super excited!

Dear Mama

Something I wrote many months ago, but never posted.. Don't know why..

The other night I was thinking of Seanna as a grown up. What will she be like? Will she be as attached to daddy as I hope for her to be? Will I be her best friend? Will she call me when she goes off to college? Will she remember me, my words, and my love for her? Those thoughts led me to reflect on my own person as a son to my mother. Do I do those things? Am I a good son? Am I what my mother wanted for me?

Some nights ago, my beloved old lady came to visit us. It had been long since she had seen us because she was abroad, in another continent 3000 miles away doing what she has always done since she was 15: fighting for her family. That night, I had one of those life changing moments where the deep roots of the heart tremble and the soul removes the vines that conceal the wall of memories. That night, as I put my little lady to sleep, in the darkness stood my old lady watching in silence as I hummed a song that she herself used to hum to me when I was a child. She stood there holding one hand to her heart and the other covering her face. She stood there weeping softly, watching her grown son be a father. And she whispered that she used to hum me that song. And as I saw her silhouette, I had that sudden feeling of discovery, of uncovering something profound within, and it came to me, the realization that all of my mom’s hard work had paid off. All the many times I had seen her cry because of the wounds of life, all the times she would come home dragging the anchor of sleeplessness from working two jobs, had beared fruit — There she was standing at the foot of my daughter’s bed as she was falling into sleep, holding on to her little teddy bear with one hand and my hand with her other, comfortable, under warm blankets, at peace.  And I stayed quiet as looked back at my child.  And I realized that my mother had paid the price for me to put my child to sleep with a belly full of milk, a safe environment, her favorite dolls at her side and with a certain future full of opportunities awaiting her.  If it wasn’t because my mother decided to leave the little wooden shack from our native Nicaragua and venture into the unknown while risking it all, I would not be here, with this little piece of my heart and soul sleeping in pure bliss.  No, I would probably be in Nicaragua still.  And who knows in what shape.

I do not know why I didn’t share with her my thoughts or thank her with all the sincerity of my heart.  Instead I stayed quiet, in my thoughts.  There is so much now that I understand.  Now that I have become a father.  Now that I have purpose outside of my own selfishness.  And I thank you mom.  I thank you my dear sweet old lady (for the record, she’s really not old).

Know that the times we have butted heads have been only because you raised a child like yourself — a person who stands up for what he believes in and fights for what is his to gain.  You have always been a fighter.  You still are.  And I still watch you.

Seanna is going places…

And so it begins…  Her trip into this world.. and eventually out of my arms… out of these arms that long to hold her and carry her for life…  My Seanna.. my sweet Seanna Sofia.. my love, you are growing up too fast.

Today my little lady, my little sweetheart, started to crawl.  And with this, she filled our hearts with aspirations for the places she will be going, of the heights she’ll climb, with us and on her own.  We are happy, elated actually and at the same time aware of that tiny seed of bittersweet sadness that was planted in our hearts and deep in the back of our minds…  Bittersweet because our little lady is growing up and there’s nothing we can do about it.  Soon she’ll be walking, riding her bicycle, going to school and then off to college and into the world… and then one day, one day I’ll be walking her down the aisle.  And perhaps during the reception I’ll be talking about how I remember when she had just started crawling..

Oh my love, my sweet daughter, I pray so much for you.  I pray that God grants us the wisdom to raise you in manner that is pleasing in His eyes.  That we may teach you strength of character.  That we may teach you strong moral values.  And that when tested, because it will come, that you remember us, that you remember that we love you and have the highest of hopes for you.  My sweet Seanna, in you lies the purpose of our lives, the love that we have poured out of us and into you so that you may have all that we didn’t, live as we wished we had, fly higher  and walk farther than we had dared imagine for ourselves.  And may your little feet walk the path of a woman that honors God.  That is my wish for you.   Oh my sweet child, may God give you grace in front of all, bless you abundantly and when the darkness comes in your path, may He light a lamp at your feet and guide you.  Remember that He is in control.  May you, my love child, may you always walk with Him regardless of where you travel…

***If you are viewing this from a phone, click here to view video***

PS –  I always thought that babies would take one little step one day and the another step the next, gradually being able to crawl.  Well, apparently that’s not the case.  Just yesterday I was trying to have her crawl and she wouldn’t.  Then she saw Victor, my little 11 month old nephew crawling and kaboom!  She started crawling a marathon today!

2009 Year in Review

What a great year! Worthy of being in VH1’s “Best Year Ever” episode. I got promoted at work, bathed in 9 different beaches, become closer with my family, closer with friends, and received the gift of creating life: my little lady, Seanna Sofia.

She’s so beautiful. So adorable. So gentle. Tender and sweet. Just like the flesh that made her and carried her in her womb. I love how she smiles in her sleep, how she opens her mouth wide and closes her eyes when she yawns, how she makes sounds like a kitten when she cries — But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So let me start with the first day, January 1, 2009. Man, what a party! What a crazy youth-spirited reckless night! What loss of control, what disregard for the norm of society. It was fun. To be careless one last time. To sing along songs, out loud; to dance like a high schooler, raising a glass of champagne to love and life, and bring in the new year one last time without second thoughts, toasting along friends and my beloved Monica. Aniceto and Jose, Primo Productions, you are to blame for such madness. And that was it. No more partying like a rockstar. We felt that it was not for us anymore.

As far as getting the new year started, Bianca, Monica and I went snowboarding and man it was about 75% torture and 25% fun. We ended up on the ground so many times that I felt I had bursted an instestine. We hit the ground so hard so many times that even though we had gotten the “All Day” pass until 10PM, by 5PM we couldn’t get up anymore. When we fell, it took us a good 5 minutes of just laying there, motionless, groaning, gathering strength to get back up. The problem was that when we went, even though it was cold, it wasn’t snowing. Instead of snow, there was ice on the slopes. It was basically trying to snowboard on frozen concrete. Looking back, I don’t think it was the determination to master the bunny slope that kept us there, it was plain masochism. This was just plain painful. I wish we could have made it to the regular “grown up” slope though, but we’ll shamefully admit that the Bunny Slope punished us so bad we got scared. After we left, Bianca looked like she had gotten in bar brawl, Monica looked like she had married a wifebeater, and I, well, I still looked good.

In February, we visited our good friends Yazmine and JP in Puerto Rico. We really enjoyed our stay with them and got to visit different parts of the island. I had many times seen the sun at sunset, but never actually sat down to contemplate it and enjoy it. When we visited Dorado, we did exactly that. And it was beautiful. It was an orange reddish circle with a soothing glow, slowly being swallowed by the dark sea and the endless dance of the waves. I wrote about this beautiful experience here. We also got to visit hidden coastlines and experience Puerto Rico underwater; we went Scuba diving in La Parguera, a diving spot where you can supposedly spot whale sharks during their migration. Unfortunately, we were a day late. The guides said they had seen a 40 foot whale shark the day before. What a disappointment 🙁 Puerto Rico was a lot of fun and its waters hold a special place in our heart since that’s where Seanna’s nickname “Sirena” came from. I was going to write about our scuba diving experience but didn’t get to it because Monica surprised me with the news that she was with child. I won’t be able to finish the second half of our Puerto Rico experience, but below are some videos and pictures we took of our dive trip. Although it was nice and full of corals, we were disappointed that there were very little fish. Weird.

Video of Scuba diving. From getting into the water, diving to bottom, seeing the “wall of corals”, to getting back on boat:

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Who has it better, Mom or Dads?

So through a simple Status Update on Facebook by a friend, Fatima, a furious, heated conversation was unleashed. Who has it better, moms or dads? Men and women alike rallied on both sides, battlelines were drawn, emotions ran high, tensions rose comparable to the Cold War days. Below are my thoughts based on my experience.

In terms of difficulty, I will say that women have it 65% vs dad’s 40%, yes it totals to 105% because, well, 35% for the dad is just too little, but 50% just seems unfair to the mom.

Yes, the woman will experience some changes, morning sickness and an expanding belly. However, what most people who haven’t gone through a pregnancy don’t know is that during first trimester the woman will have an “enhanced” look to her, sure, there will be some morning sickness, but it’s a tradeoff as it is offset by bigger boobs and booty (we latin men have an appreciation for good round booty that seems to keep growing). Not all women experience bad morning sickness. So as far as the first trimester goes, we’ll say that the dad has the advantage with 65% because he gets a hotter wife with no side effects on his end; the wife gets 35% because of the enhanced looks with side effects.

Now the 2nd trimester: This trimester is awesome and it’s also the easiest! The morning sickness if gone. Then the wife is starting to show a belly. You find out the sex of the baby. Everyone is excited and congratulating left and right. Generally people wait until the 2nd trimester to let the general population know about the pregnancy. Consider this the “honeymoon” stage. So, I have to give the advantage to the dad 60% vs 40% mom because of the slight weight gain.

The third trimester: This is the tougher part of the pregnancy. The baby moves and you can see it! You’ll see an elbow, or a leg sticking out of the belly. It gives dad and mom a “glimpse” into their little one’s behavior. However, this is a 70 % disadvantage for the mom because she can’t sleep how she wants to and is awakened by the baby’s kicks, which in turns causes a 30% disadvantage to the dad as he is also awakened by mom trying to get comfortable. This is the stage that the mom is getting bigger (she’s hungry all the time), her back hurts, her feet hurt, extremities get swollen (can’t wear wedding ring) and by the last month of pregnancy, she waddles around like a penguin. Mom doesn’t feel as attractive — but this is a huge flaw. Any men will tell you that when his wife is pregnant, that alone, for some innate reason, some natural process, some inalienable truth, is a turn on. Don’t ask why or how it happens, it’s one of those things that just do, like the migration of birds. Knowing that your beloved is carrying your child, your seed, your lineage, your generation; that you will only get to see her like that maybe only once, maybe twice, maybe three or fives times in your life, that is a turn on. Besides, that’s the stage when she glows, literally, take pictures, you’ll see what I am saying. This is the stage when she’s most radiant, more beautiful in a profound way. Yet, she doesn’t see it and this is the part when intimacy becomes tougher. So before you give the dad 0% credit, know that he is more than likely sex starved and is walking on tip toes in case the wife has one of those emotional tantrums hot pregnant women have been known for.

Monica's Pregnant Glow

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The Days After…

**Click on thumbnail to see full pictures**

Seanna Sofia- my love, my little piece of heaven. God has been graceful to us and given you to us as a blessing. So here we are now, 7 days from when we left the hospital (which have felt like weeks already). We have been truly blessed with the support of our family and friends. We really mean that. I’m about to put a revolving door in our home because we constantly having visitors come over and bless us with their presence, well wishes and gifts. Since we got home from the hospital, the grandmas have been very busy. They have come to help us clean, cook us their secret homemade “post partum” soups and their traditions from Latin America of what to do or not to do the baby or Monica. We have been blessed with gifts from our friends. You have made us feel very blessed and very special and we really appreciate it.

I have said this before on Facebook, and I’ll say it again. When people told us that there would be no sleep, they really meant NO SLEEP! For the first few days, we were on a time warp. This is what a typical cycle looks, assuming that we put her to sleep at 11PM:

1:00 AM – Seanna wakes up

1:05 AM – Feeding begins, which can last 20-30 minutes at a time.

1:35-40 – Baby needs to be burped, which this too can last 10-15 minutes even though she burps herself, yes she burps herself. When she’s done feeding, I lift her up and while she’s on her way to my shoulder, she burps. Cool huh? Well, she doesn’t fully burp everything out, so I have to continue pounding her back until all that gas is out.

1:40 AM — We start the diapers changing process. This is tricky. Sometimes I think that this little angel of ours is going to be an astronaut because she comes equipped with her own propulsion system. Let me just say that loud noises can be heard echoing throughout the room while she’s been changed. Then the bombardment starts. Apparently, she likes to wait until we have changed her to user her propulsion system again, and again. We have actually had to change diapers 3 times in a row and it has taken us up to 30 minutes. In fact, one night Monica was changing her diaper and I fell asleep. About 40 minutes later I woke and Monica was still in the same spot, still changing Seanna’s diaper because she had decided to poop in stages. Oh man, and she fights. We have to hold her legs in the air because she’s going to get it all over herself. This is always an adventure, especially when Mari changes her. Mari was “squirted” with some smelly and wet projectiles twice while changing her (good job my little angel! Score one for daddy!). We have blown a big box of wipes already.

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