Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So, I have lived in New Jersey almost my entire life. Why only 85%? And what is a FAT SANDWICH? Does anyone know?

You Are 85% New Jersey!

Wow, you're totally Jersey. There's no doubt about it. Congratulations, and always be proud to be Jersey--it's a great thing to be!

How New Jersey Are You?
Make Your Own Quiz

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Morales/Soto Christmas
aka Gideon's First Trip to Chinatown

Our annual Christmas Day tradition is this: Alex and I arrive at my parents' house sometime late morning Christmas Day. We usually have something to eat, and wait for my mom to finish wrapping last minute gifts. We then open gifts (this process takes about 2 hours), and then we get in the car and it's over the river and through the woods, it's off to Chinatown we go! I don't know why we go to Chinatown. We have been going since Andrea and I were kids. We just really like good Chinese food. And after Chinatown, we stroll over to Little Italy to Sambuca's Cafe or La Bella Ferrara for a cappuccino and pastry. It's is a very nice tradition, and I tend to gain 5 lbs in just a 3 hour period.

However, this year Gideon was in the picture. And when there is a baby involved in the mix, new problems arise. Should we take him into the city? Will it be cold? Will it rain? What if he is fussy? Will he really appreciate New York City or does he prefer the suburbs? Can he nap in the city that never sleeps? OK, so this year, after the present opening extravaganza, we decide that Gideon is ready for Chinatown. We put the car seat in the van, and away we go, Gideon being fast asleep. Now, the usual deal is this: we park in a lot, and walk around looking for a restaurant that is busy, but not too busy, has a good mix of locals and out of towners, and is not too expensive. Alex thought taking the stroller was a muy loco idea, so we decided to Baby Bjorn it. However, as we get to Canal Street, the skies open up and it starts to rain. There goes the walking around idea. No can do with Gideon. So, my dad decides to simply pull up to a restaurant and let us out. When, all of sudden...a car pulls out from a parking space on the street. My dad pulls in, and there is a restaurant right in front! A Christmas Miracle!

The restaurant was Hop Lee on Mott Street. It is the same restaurant where Martha Stewart had lunch during her trial: (I don't know why I know this.) We sat upstairs, where they can accommodate bigger groups (and an extra chair for the car seat).

We started with the Seafood Combination Soup, which serves six. Then we shared the Shrimp with Walnuts, the Seafood Pan-fried Noodles, the Shrimp in Lobster Sauce, and Shrimp Fried Rice. Do you see a theme? We heart shrimp. Alex of course was starting to get an allergic reaction from the shrimp fumes. He had Egg Drop Soup, Steak with Asparagus and Pork Fried Rice. The food was good, not great. However it did satisfy the Christmas craving. Alas, my poor husband got sick, (we are blaming the Egg Drop) and we were unable to go to Little Italy. It was pouring at this point anyway, and it might have been too much to hope for another parking miracle.

Now, you might be thinking, where was Gideon in all of this? Was he still asleep? Could he have slept through the shrimp feast of 2006? We were not that lucky. He woke up between the soup ending and the rice beginning. He started to whimper in his car seat, and the people at the next table immediately gave me dirty looks. I started to panic. What if he began full blown crying/screaming/not breathing because he is screaming too much and freaking me out? Would they throw their chopsticks at us in a martial arts movie style? All of a sudden Gideon scrunches up his face and lets out poop like noises from down below. Ewww. Now, of course we deserve the dirty looks, but don't get them. My mother goes to the bathroom to check out the diaper changing situation. Not only is there no changing table , but the bathroom can barely accommodate Gideon by himself, let alone his mom and grandmother. However, there is a poopie diaper situation, and a baby's happiness at stake. It was a desperate time. My mom and I squeezed in and used the diaper bag as a table. I held his upper body, while my mom tackled the diaper. Luckily there was a mirror, so Sir Cuteness was able to stare at himself and make cooing noises. Once we left the restaurant, I ran into one of the Chinatown shops to buy Gideon his first NYC souvenir.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Gideon and Santa: Why Mommy, why?

On what other occasion would a new mother allow her baby son to sit on a stranger's lap? Why, at Christmas, of course! I had considered doing the Santa picture thing, but usually the line was too long, or Gideon was asleep, and I figured it was kind of silly anyway. However, there we were, at the Bergen Mall, and there was Santa. No line, no wait, and Gideon was wide awake and looking super cute in his new sweater. So, I hand over my darling baby to a slightly shifty looking Santa. As you can see by Gideon's expression, he cannot believe that I just handed him over to this old man, and walked away. And why was Mommy jumping up and down and calling his name? Did she really think he was going to smile after she plopped him down on cheap velvet? Nothing doing. He is, of course, furrowing his brow. That is his signature move.

Gideon's first Christmas went as expected. He slept, cried, pooped, nursed and then slept again. Pretty much standard Gideon behavior. We spent Christmas Eve at Alex's parents house. They have a midnight gift opening tradition. Gideon received many gifts, including toys and clothes. However, the most memorable gift was a family of stuffed bears given to him by his cousins, Stephanie and Joel. They represent our little family, with Gideon, like the little bear, being a nice combination of the two of us. However, he slept through all of it. I will write later about Christmas Day. That is a post all to itself. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. A heartfelt "thank you" from me on Gideon's behalf. He is truly a blessed boy. He received many wonderful presents for his first Christmas.

Friday, December 22, 2006

A Quick Update

As I write this, my sweet boy is fast asleep in his magic swing. For those of you that have children, you probably know the power of the swing. He is peacefully swinging, unaware that in a month's time, he will be having surgery. We went to see Dr. Arno Fried today, the pediatric neurosurgeon at Hackensack University Medical Center. He was very nice, and he did inform us that Gideon does have craniosynostosis, and will indeed have to have surgery to correct it. The surgery is scheduled for Tuesday morning, January 23. I am outwardly calm, although my emotions are churning on the inside. Despite the fact that we knew this was a very likely possibility, I was hoping for the doctor to laugh at us, and say "You crazy kids, your son is fine, now go have an ice cream soda!". I was hoping that I had inherited the exaggerated version of the Solano (my mom's maiden name) worry gene. However, despite all the negative, I know that God is taking care of my baby. Gideon is, in fact, a gift from God, and I know He takes care of his children. Please continue praying for him. All will be well, and Gideon will come through this like a champ. It is out of my hands, and I merely have to trust and let go. And now I am craving a chocolate ice cream soda. Man!

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Gideon Update : Party and a Prayer
Like a mullet, this blog update will be business in the front, party in the back. So, I will start with a serious prayer request. On Friday, Alex and I will be going to an appointment with a pediatric neurosurgen. Our darling baby boy may have a condition called craniosynostosis, which is the premature closing of the sutures. Once the sutures close, then the brain has nowhere to go, and it grows in the direction of the other open sutures. This can cause an abnormally shaped head. Unfortunately, the treatment is surgery. The very thought of someone cutting into my son makes me want to curl up into a fetal position under my bed and cry. However, I am a mom now. Moms can't be wimps. So, I ask you to pray for Gideon. We are a miracle-believing family. I don't know if all of you know this, but I was diagnosed with polio when I was a baby. For all intents and purposes, I should at the very least be walking with a limp. But I had a mother that believed in miracles, and a family that prayed. So here I am, chubby yes, but with no signs of the polio that invaded my body as a child. So, pray hard. I know that if God decides that He wants Gideon to go through this surgery, that it is for a higher purpose. If you want to read more information on craniosynostosis, check out the Jorge Posada Foundation website:
Ok, on to the party part. I actually entertained for the first time in my life (as a married person). It was more of a get together than a party, and it was alot of fun. If you are reading this, and are wondering why you didn't get invited the first annual Soto Holiday Extravaganza, it is simply because I only own 4 chairs. So, I was limited in the amount of people. However, if you agree to not sit down , you can be invited next year. Getting ready to entertain was hectic. I had to clean, cook, take a shower, make sure Gideon was clean and adorable, make sure Alex took a shower and got a haircut, think of interesting topics to talk about, make sure there was enough ice, and make my house look holiday and festive. Here are pictures of my friends having fun:
All in all, I think everything went well. Gideon was of course, an angel. He sat in his swing for the majority of the night, except of course when he was being held and admired by the masses. I think I am ready to entertain on a grander scale. Next year, I think I will have a party with more than 4 people. And I may buy more chairs.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

It's been a while since we've posted new pictures of our son. The transition for Alexa to return to work and for me to balance work and Gideon has kept both of us very busy. Anyway, here are 2 recent pics of Gideon. Mi nene (a term of endearment in Spanish meaning my son) is growing up so fast.