Archive for the ‘Unphew Times’ Category

This post was inspired during my time off for the holidays. There’s no time of the year that I look forward to the most than this one – Christmas and New Years. During this special time I head home to visit my parents and siblings whom I sometimes go weeks or a month without seeing because of distance, but technology nowadays keeps us together.

I feel that technology can be a double edged-sword though since it can also separate us from those we spend time with because we can find ourselves stuck like glue to our phones, tablets and computers during family time.

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While many rejoice from checking off names from their list of presents that they’ll purchase, giving and receiving costly gifts I decide to not fall into that trap. Although, it’s so easy to do so with many television and radio commercials, billboards and ads thrown at us everywhere we turn during this time of the year.

I do think a gift would have more meaning if it was given at random and not during a holiday because it’s then when I feel they come from the heart and not to show off during the family gathering around the Christmas tree.

But, if we were to take a step back or even retract several more to evaluate life I am sure many would conclude that the materialistic world we’ve built with our actions has no importance at all. Sadly, so many of us have followed what others have done or what we’ve automatically thought to be “the right thing to do”.

On Christmas Day may we all find the courage to open our body, soul and spirit to really embrace the real meaning of Christmas, which is the celebration of Christ’s birth. And may you not place so much importance on opening countless and expensive gifts where you end up broke or in huge debt to simply see 5 seconds of awe.

On Christmas Day may we look deeper into our existence and really evaluate our life and where we’re taking it.

Ask yourself:

Have you loved enough?

Have you given non-materialistic items without measure?

Have you forgiven those that did you wrong?

Have you NOT judged?

Have you lived a happy life with what you have?

Have you lived a simple life?

These and many other reflections can be made possible on this day without the need to open pretentious gifts. Let’s open the gift of love and appreciation this holiday season as we surround ourselves with family and close friends.

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And remember that the best gift is not the biggest or most expensive one because the most valuable present usually comes from acts that the human being cannot measure. Two of those important demonstrations can include time and attention that we give our families and friends.

Maximiliano,

¿Campeón cómo le hacemos para ponerle pausa al tiempo? Creo que el tiempo se nos está pasando demasiado rápido y ya casi vas a caminar. ¡No! Aún recuerdo como si fuera ayer cuando estabas en el hermoso vientre de tu mami, mi hermana. ¿Deberás que somos unos seres humanos locos verdad? En ese entonces queríamos que el tiempo se pasara volando para tenerte con nosotros y ahora quisiéramos ponerle un alto a los momentos más felices que vivimos contigo.

Te he visto crecer como lo tenía planeado, lo dije antes quise ser un Tío muy apegado a ti porque eres especial para mí. Desde que naciste te cargue en mis brazos. Tus primeros llantos sin consuelo los escuche. Tus primeras miradas las tengo plasmadas en mi memoria. Tus primeros bocados de comida que tu mami con mucho amor te ha preparado los olí. Los gestos de “fuchi” que haces cuando alguna comida no te gusta, como el aguacate, me hace reír. Tus primeras sentadas sin echarte para un lado o para atrás me emocionan. Tus primeras gateadas me animan. Todo lo recuerdo muy bien y no quiero que todo esté pasando tan rápido. Y ahora ya no gateas si no casi quieres volar.

Recuerdo los días que empezabas a gatear y no te animabas. Era como cuando uno quiere y no quiere meterse a la alberca porque esta fría. Como que querías pero luego no tenías la coordinación de avanzar con un pie y después con el otro. No sé qué paso pero te lanzaste y lo lograste como una semana después y hasta con ruidos. Recuerdo esta vez que te grabe era una noche que había ido a visitarte, ya era tarde como las 11:30 p.m. y no te habías dormido y querías seguir jugando.

Y como olvidar tus carcajadas cuando estas contento. Eso no pasa cuando tienes hambre o sueño. Dejaras de ser mi sobrino. Yo soy igual si no me tomo mi siesta, estoy cansado o tengo hambre no puedo estar feliz. Pero mira aquí las carcajadas cuando tu mami te hacia reir con sus sonidos.

Fue después de que regresaste de tu viaje a Chicago que me enseñaste que sabias aplaudir cuando decíamos “Bravo”. Por lo cierto has sido un “traveling baby” creo que tus papas te llevan a un nuevo lugar cada fin de semana. Conocerás medio mundo así. Lol

¡Bravo!

Uno de mis viajes favoritos contigo ha sido ir a Paso Robles y San Luis Obispo. En ese viaje tu mami estaba ocupada y tu madrina, Alexa y yo te cuidamos. Después regresamos a ese mismo lugar para una boda y tu traje estaba perfecto para la ocasión. Parecías un “newspaper boy”. Mira la foto:

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Tantas memorias, tantos #unphewtimes que ya hemos tenido tan agradables como cuando te lleve a una de tus clases de natación. Te digo algo, ese día mi admiración por ti creció mucho porque fuiste el único bebe que no lloro. Había otros niños algunos meses más grandes que tú y no dejaban de llorar, sin embargo tú te regocijabas en el agua. Tus papas te inscribieron en clases de natación desde que te tenías como 5 meses así que no me sorprenderá si te conviertes en un gran surfista algún día.

Ha habido varias ocasiones ya donde nos hemos metido a la alberca y te encanta el agua. Si por ti fuera allí te quedarías todo el día. A mí también me encanta el agua, entonces creo que en eso nos parecemos bastante. Y no puedo olvidar que aun a veces me dicen que si eres mi hijo porque te pareces tanto a mí. Si lo guapo lo sacaste a mí. Jajaj Lol

Y ya veo que desde ahora empiezas a definir tu personalidad, es súper interesante. Solo pido que mientras te defines como ser humano siempre seas una persona que haga el bien, que no le falte el respeto a nadie y que escojas el camino mejor adecuado para ti. No cambies para satisfacer a nadie y que camines siempre con la frente en alto aun cuando estés en momentos de obscuridad.

Le has cambiado por completo la vida a tu mami y ella  a ti. He visto que estas súper apegado a ella y cuando no la ves lloras. Tienes mamitis. Lol Pero ambos están sacándole todo el provecho a estas etapas y me alegra que tu mami se pueda tomar este tiempo para dedicártelo solamente a ti.

No sé si con mucha practica pero ya a tus 8 meses puedes subir las escaleras de tu casa. Y lo haces con mucha agilidad. Me gustó mucho recibir el video que me envió tu mami el otro día de ti logrando esta actividad porque demuestra lo saludable que eres. Aunque te caíste pero no paso a mayores te volviste a levantar en un segundo y así quiero que cuando andes por la vida te levantes y sigas tu camino. De eso se trata la vida. Te caerás muchas veces estoy seguro, todos los hacemos, pero siempre te levantaras y el sabor de victoria siempre es dulce.

Y que emoción ya estamos a solo dos semanas de tu bautismo donde te estaremos presentando a Dios y la comunidad Católica. Y de una vez te sacaremos el chamuco que llevas dentro. Lol Te celebraremos en familia y que afortunado eres porque no solo tienes una pareja de padrinos si no dos parejas – yo y Carmen y también tu Tío Uriel Jr. y Tía Gloria. Así que tendrás muchos regalos y ayuda para el colegio cuando seas grande.

Ya compramos tu traje que te pondrás para el día de tu bautismo y espero que te sientas orgulloso cuando veas fotos de grande y sepas que en tu día del bautismo de pusimos un traje súper típico y muy Mexicano. ¡Si Señor! En otra ocasión subiré fotos.

Y naciste cuando los “selfies” son tan populares. Un día te deje mi teléfono para que jugaras y te tomaste muchos selfies. Mira para que lo recuerdes:

Seguirán pasando los meses y años donde nos enseñaras nuevas cosas que vas aprendiendo pero no diré que estoy ansioso por llevarte a la escuela y verte jugar tus primeros juegos en el deporte que tu decidas jugar porque me estaré haciendo un mal y no permitiré vivir el momento contigo. Todo llegara cuando tiene que llegar.

Me alegra mucho ver cómo te desarrollas y ver que eres un bebe sano. Gracias Dios por darte sabiduría y salud.

Continuare escribiéndote cartas abiertas más seguido pero el tiempo no me deja a veces. Algún día entenderás que el tiempo es lo más valioso que tenemos como personas y me gusta tomarme el tiempo en mis días largos para escribirte.

Con Cariño,

Tío Tavo

I recently learned about Lil’ Libros through my social media and you bet I am already sharing these great books with my nephew Maximiliano during our #unphewtimes. This project was inspired by Patty Rodriguez and she’s a Latina on the Rise!

Patty Rodriguez is a Latina you should know about if you do not know about her already, she’s doing so much in the Latino community and even as the Senior Producer on On Air with Ryan Seacrest she finds the space and time to represent the Hispanic community on the show. She’s booked guests to come on the show that are iconic in the Latino community even when their music is not played on KISS FM 102.7.  The show is aired in Los Angeles where at least half of the population that listens to the station knows about the symbolic celebrities that they’ve had on the show e.g. Pepe Aguilar, Shakira and members of Mana.

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I wouldn’t consider Patty a dreamer, but more like a visionary that gets things done and I mean big things. I follow her on social media and I am fascinated by her tenacity every time she delivers some big news on her company Lil’ Libros such as when the books will be available in a new store and for that matter a big store such as Target, featured in book festivals, or how the books will be featured at the Museum of Modern Art in New York! Yikes, that’s huge!

I recently had the opportunity of meeting her in person, a humble and kind-hearted human being. We’ve got an interview pending, but I know she’s extremely busy with the arrival of her second child and simply making things happen so for now I will take it upon myself to highlight her amazing work because you all need to know about her and her book company that is thriving.

Lil’ Libros was inspired by Patty and co-founder Ariana Stein. Patty saw the lack of Spanish books that introduced children at a very early age to the Latino heritage and culture. She saw the problem and had the solution for it, she co-founded Lil’ Libros. The goal with the Lil’Libros books is to encourage parents to read to their children in Spanish and English and to plant a seed for the child– to continue reading.  The books are first concept books, all text is English and Spanish – 50/50.   Each book is 22 pages filled with colorful pictures and Spanish and English words.

My sister and brother-in-law have made a promise to each other to only speak Spanish to Maximiliano because they understand the value that a bilingual child brings to the world. And so far they’ve stuck to their word.

During one of my recent #unphewtimes with Baby Max we visited a small bookstore in Long Beach and he had 3 Lil’ Libros in his hands all to himself. He’s only 9 months, but it’s never too early to start teaching a child the different colors, numbers and first words. An early education bilingual is critical for children to excel and I want my nephew to be successful.

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I look forward to reading these short and educational pieces of art to him on our future #unphewtimes dates, which I foresee many of them coming as his godfather!

Max currently has three Lil’ Libros in his book collection already; ‘Guadalupe: First Words/Primeras Palabras, Frida: Counting with / Contando con and Zapata: Colors / Colores.

So don’t forget if you want to have bilingual children pick up your copies of Lil’ Libros at a location near you. Don’t let our beautiful culture and heritage go to wate in the new generations to come after us. It’s beautiful, please preserve it!

For a list of places where you can purchase these books visit: http://www.lillibros.com/

Dear Baby Maximiliano Contreras Gutierrez,

I know one day when you grow up you may stumble across this post and once you read it I want you to understand why Tio Tavo has so much love for you. I type this as you approach your 6 month old celebration and I watch you get bigger by the day. Let me start off by saying you’re a blessing in my life and in our families. Why? Throughout this post I will attempt to explain myself to the best of my ability as to why I say that and I hope I succeed.

First of all, you’ve got one heck of a good mommy! As you grow-up you will realize this because only time will let you figure that out. Time is the best teacher. Your mom is the only sister I have; she’s not only that to me, but more like my second mother. Yes, as I often joke with her she’s my “Mama Lety,” too. Ever since I was a baby she cared, protected and pretty much raised me until I was more than ready to fly away all on my own, which I did when I bought my first home. Plus she put me through grad school all on her own. For that I am forever in debt with her. But, I bet you one thing Max she will care for you even more than she did with me, so get ready! Lol

Often times we rarely tell those we love how much we appreciate them and this note will be a reminder to your mom as well as to how much I truly love her for all that she’s done for me. So it’s an easy task to figure out that because I appreciate and love your mommy so much by default I love you just as much baby champ. Family means everything to me.

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Yes, I have other nieces and nephews; as a matter of fact you are the no. 7 in our family. It’s worth mentioning that is your mom’s lucky and favorite number so you are set for some great stuff in life. Plus your birthdate also includes a 7 since you were born on 12/17/14. But, what makes you so special is that you are my sister’s first and only child until now. And the relationship I’ve had with Lety has always been super strong. All your older cousins have brought into my life fond memories that I will always cherish close to my heart, but I see you more like my little baby brother — that’s exactly what your mom would call me.

Ever since I found out from Lety that you were on your way I immediately got super excited for your arrival into this world. I wanted to tell the whole world that I would once again become an uncle, but I waited until I was given the green light that I could do so. Since that day your mom has always been so bright and cheery because I honestly knew how much she wanted you. She never told me, but I could just tell. I think your mom and I in another life could have been twins because we know each other very well. You were always in her plans and God granted her that wish.

From what I have heard having a child brings an endless amount of joy into people’s lives, but also so much change that is sometimes hard to keep up with. Imagine your life changing 365 degrees from one moment to another. So try to imagine your mom from being an independent woman, entrepreneur and professional to becoming a stay-at-home mom at least for the first years of your life — that was difficult for her. But I also knew that every second spent with you would be so worth it. Her life now has a new meaning and you’ve helped shape that. She loves you with all her soul and melts by seeing your beautiful little face every day. Her maternal love will only grow exponentially – I am sure.

Baby Max your mom and I are also very close because we’re the only two that ventured out from our family to this city of dreams, Los Angeles. We’ve stuck together like glue. We’ve looked out for each other always. We’ve brought one another up in moments of difficulty and celebrated our victories! Throughout her pregnancy looking out for her well-being was only natural for me. I feel I became even closer to her during that time and much more after. I tried my best to be the #1 brother for her and best uncle to you.

FullSizeRenderWhen you were born on that cold and overcast day on December 17th I was the first person in the delivery room — well actually 20 minutes after you came out of your mother’s womb. I wasn’t there during delivery, which I could have been, but that was a moment for your mom and dad to experience on their own. I hung out with your mom and dad and you for over an hour before I had to depart for work that morning. I will not even try to explain how I felt being there because no words can even come close to experiencing that magical moment. Now, I cannot wait to be a dad! I had never been able to make it to any of your cousin’s delivery so my connection to you only became that much more stronger and special.

Now, that you are here I am seeing you almost every day and unfortunately in the past I did not have this same experience with your older cousins. But, when I would see them for a weekend and during the holidays I always made sure to make each minute count.

Max, there’s a saying in Spanish that goes something like “trae la torta bajo el brazo”, which means that a child’s birth will bring positive things into someone’s life. In my case, during the time that you were born I was going through a major career change in my life and I was having the worst of luck finding a role that was fulfilling. The good news you brought was that I started working at Lexus one month after you were born. Thank you for bringing that good luck and faith after many months of failed job-seeking opportunities.

As you can imagine you were born during a time when social media was so popular and everyone is on these platforms so even before you were born I created your Instagram page and handed it over to your parents as soon as they had a better grip on time once you arrived. Because let me tell you they went through some sleepless nights during your first months. Eras un lloron y solo querias dormir en brazos. Haha I hope you don’t hate me for uploading some of your pictures and videos. Lol You will get to decide if you keep that account or if you delete some of the embarrassing photographs. Haha

So you were born, and you can just imagine how much I’ve showed you off with family and friends off and on social media. I have the hashtag #BabyMaxUpdate on Facebook where I was giving people updates hours before you were born and after on your biggest accomplishments as you grew older. I continue to share some of your milestones.

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Max I dedicate this section of my blog to you because I’ve got a feeling that you’ll continue to bring many joyful memories in my life and to our familia and I want to document them for you. I’ve had many uncle/nephew moments or how I will call them “unphew” times with you already that have been so much fun. But, I cannot wait for all the upcoming unphew times from play times, beach days, road trips, birthday celebrations, going to sporting events, watching you play your first games, dropping you off or picking you up from school and so much more. So far it’s been great, but I only hope I can be a great uncle and role model so that I can teach you how to always be a gentleman!

Many say you look like me, but I must disagree because you actually don’t. You are your very own person. You are different than me and may you always be yourself. Never try to look like anyone. Be different in your own way.

Handsome fella, I’ve only got some words of wisdom left to tell you: live life to the fullest, don’t give anyone your power to be happy, respect others and ALWAYS stay humble. And most importantly never forget your heritage and culture because it’s that which makes a human worth knowing.

You will accomplish bigger things than what I was ever able to do –of that I am sure and you’ll remember me for saying this.

I am not a dad yet, and I cannot wait to be one. I hope that by having you around so much I can become the best trainee to properly fill that role when that time comes. Thanks for helping me get there one day and thank you for making me a better man by loving you.

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If you’ve read up to this point I hope I’ve communicated thoroughly the reasoning behind my love, attention and care for you. As you can see I’ve been very involved in your life even before you took that first breath in this world. With your strong and almost emperor-sounding name, Maximiliano Contreras Gutierrez, you are well on your way to be a very successful human being and you will always have my support on whatever road you decide to embark on. Live life to the fullest changuito!

Con Todo el Cariño,

Tio Tavo

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