Monthly Archives

June 2015



June 29, 2015


I still remember my first date with my now-husband, Alfonso, as if it were yesterday. I wasn’t particularly excited about it, as I knew from our first encounter with mutual friends, that we didn’t have much in common – or so I thought. (After all, how much could a girl from a pig farm in Iowa have in common with a boy from the Bronx?) I agreed to the date mostly because I thought it would put an end to the dinner requests from “Mr. Persistent.” In addition, I hadn’t realized I agreed to go out on the night of Grey’s Anatomy. Thus, I called Alfonso last-minute to adjust the time to 6:00 pm, thinking that was early enough to allow me to make it back in time. (Priorities, right?)

We met at the restaurant of his choice, Mr. Chow, a high-end Chinese-influenced spot in Beverly Hills. After being seated, Alfonso proceeded to order not only for himself, but for me as well. “Who does this guy think he is ordering for me?” I thought. “What guy orders for a girl on the first date? And why did he order himself four pieces of the chicken satay and only two for me?” Needless to say, I was a bit peeved. I expressed my displeasure by simply saying, “I like to order for myself.” He responded, “Trust me. You’re gonna love it.” (He later informed me that this was the only restaurant at which he orders for everyone. He had been going there for years and knew all of the must-taste items on the menu.)

Turns out, he was right. I loved everything he ordered. More than the food, however, I loved our conversation. We discussed everything from our childhoods, politics, religion, travel, and sports. (He explained how a Bronx-native is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan. Apparently, it was a decision he made as a 10-year old and it was heavily influenced by the fact that the team had cheerleaders… as well as Tony Dorsett.) We quickly discovered that we had many similarities, with the exception of our favorite NFL teams. (I am a Bears and Giants fan.) Even more so, our chemistry was undeniably perfect. It was as if we had known each other for years and were old friends catching up.

Unsurprisingly, I never made it back in time for Grey’s Anatomy. In fact, we shut the place down. We were talking and laughing for so long that we didn’t realize the restaurant was closed and we were the only patrons still there. It was by far the most fun I had ever had over dinner and was oozing with anticipation for the next date, which we had conveniently set for the following evening.

Fast-forward to a wedding ring and two kids later, my husband and I still love our date nights. After we got married, we both made it a priority to maintain date nights at least once a week. We continued this tradition after the birth of our first son. Even when we were on the Dancing With The Stars Tour for two months, we made sure to fit in lunch dates since every evening consisted of a show. (This was actually easier than it seemed considering all 12 of the DWTS dancers jumped at any opportunity to babysit AJ.)

Now after two babies, date night has taken on a bit of a transformation. We skipped date nights for the month of May while Anders was still a newborn, but I’m proud to say we reinstated our ritual for June. Our first stab at date night, as members of the ‘two under two’ club, was more of a learning curve. It involved a date night at home with a sitter to watch the boys. We had planned to watch a movie in the living room while dining on a nice, homemade meal of filet mignons, mashed cauliflower, and baked zucchini sticks – my personal favorite. However, after my toddler decided to skip his nap that day and my infant uncharacteristically didn’t sleep during the same time frame, my cooking plans quickly became nonexistent. To add to the change of plans, our toddler kicked us out of the living room as he and the sitter were in the middle of a serious game of kickball with his beloved Barney on in the background. Deciding to go with the flow, our date night soon turned into Alfonso and I working out, picking up some In-N-Out burgers (protein-style, of course), enjoying the burgers in our sweaty workout attire in the comfort of our bedroom while watching SportsCenter, and ending the evening with a dance party in the kitchen with both sons. Though it wasn’t what we had planned, we still managed to get out of it what we wanted… some alone time to recharge and reconnect without child interruptions.

Since then, we’ve actually ventured out for date night at a few local restaurants, from which we’ve had great success. We have found it’s easiest to bring Anders along with us. Not only is he super easy, as he is a very chill and quiet baby, but I also prefer breastfeeding during dinner rather than having to bring my breast pump and excuse myself to the restroom for ten minutes. (I always wondered if it was a little inappropriate to breastfeed at a restaurant with my first baby, but now with Anders, I don’t even give it a second thought. It’s fast, easy, and very discrete with a cover.)

It doesn’t matter if we have date night in our sweats at the house with a pair of In-N-Out burgers, or out at a nice restaurant with our chill 8-week old, we benefit all the same. It enables us to recharge, stay connected, and simply have a moment to enjoy ourselves without a toddler climbing all over us or the whistling theme song of Barney & Friends chiming in the background. Sometimes it’s challenging finding the time (and a sitter) with our busy schedules, but since we make it a priority, we always seem to make it work. And by no surprise, we still make it a point to schedule our date night at Mr. Chow at least every other month. I still let Alfonso do the ordering. The only difference? He now orders four pieces of the chicken satay for both of us.:)



June 24, 2015


When I used to work on private jets, there would be years that I would spend every holiday – with the exception of Christmas – in a foreign city. I’ve spent New Years in Johannesburg, Easters in Riyadh, Valentine’s Days in Paris, and Thanksgivings in Tokyo, among a slue of others. (My all-time favorite was spending St. Patrick’s Day in Dunedin, New Zealand. As far as I’m concerned, Dunedin owns that holiday – outside of Ireland, of course.) I can’t help but laugh as I remember thinking how I needed to get the ‘travel bug’ out of my system before settling down and having kids. Little did I know, things wouldn’t be so different!

This Father’s Day was quite similar to the past several… we were out of town. Three years ago was Chicago. Two years ago was New York. Last year was Florida. And this year we found ourselves in Sacramento for a comic con gig that Alfonso booked. Fortunately, we were able to join Alfonso on his work trip, allowing us to spend Father’s Day weekend together. (The only one missing was my stepdaughter, Sienna, who is still in Nashville.) The trip also served as our first flight with a toddler and an infant. I’m happy to say it went considerably well, as it was much easier than we anticipated. The only glitch I experienced was coming to speed with a new baby carrier. If only the straps, buckles, and snaps were the same for all of them!

Despite Daddy not having much free time, we certainly made the most of the little time that he did have. We were able to meet up with him during his lunches, enjoy a nice pre-Father’s Day dinner (during which we were complimented on our well-mannered toddler, who was uncharacteristically quiet and sat in his booster seat during the entire meal! We kept wondering, who is this child and what did he do with our high-energy, never-can-sit-still son?), order room service for some Father’s Day morning breakfast in bed, and take a family stroll around the impressive Capitol building downtown.

Even though it’s a common theme for our family to be out of town for Father’s Day, as well as with several other holidays throughout the year, we still try to uphold and create our family traditions while on the road. (Note: We are always home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, as I won’t be referring to the traditions we have for those holidays.) We’ve been successful with some traditions while traveling with my stepdaughter and now my boys, and unsuccessful with others. The ones we seem to have the most success with include:

  • Breakfast in Bed. This is usually a manageable one, as long as the hotel has room service or a kitchenette.
  • Homemade Cards. I’ve always been keen on making my own cards for all holidays, and I hope to inspire my children to do the same. I’ve done it with my stepdaughter several times in the past while traveling during Father’s Day. It also serves as a fun activity to do in the hotel room.
  • Family Dinner. I normally try to find a nice steakhouse since my husband’s favorite meal is a filet mignon and mashed potatoes dinner. Luckily, I found a fabulous restaurant in Sacramento.
  • Photos. I always make sure to take some fun and creative photos of Daddy and the kiddos. I add them to the Father’s Day album and write where we were and what we did next to the photos. (I do the same for my Mother’s Day album.)

Please feel free to share any family traditions for Father’s Day (or Mother’s Day, birthdays, etc.) your family enjoys that can be implemented while traveling. I’m always up for some new ideas in this department!




June 10, 2015


Adjusting to life with two under two is a lot like getting comfortable with a hurricane and a tornado occurring at the same time. At least it was in the Ribeiro household for the first few weeks. You can prepare yourself all you want and tell yourself, “it will be manageable,” and “not that bad” with two… but there’s no way to fully know what to expect until the time comes.

Currently, the name of the game is defense. AJ is an extremely active and energetic toddler. He’s not aggressive, but because of his excitement when it comes to playing with his toys, he indirectly becomes a safety-hazard to Anders. Fortunately, Alfonso and I have developed mad defensive skills in blocking the toys and balls thrown in Anders direction. AJ is improving with being more gentle around the baby, but that’s only when he is next to and focused on Anders. Once he steps a foot away in the direction of his toys, he’s a full-out boy, and likes to play hard using every square inch of the room. (His favorite indoor activities are playing soccer at full-speed, throwing balls, using the furniture as gymnastics apparatuses, and crashing his trucks and cars off the back of the sofa and ottoman. Sound familiar to those of you with boys?)

As for Mama, I’m starting to get a bit of a routine down and learning some tricks as I go. For starters, I’ve been wearing Anders in a carrier or in my Lalabu Soothe Shirt around the house in order to be more efficient. I feel quite proud when I’m able to wear and nurse Anders while feeding AJ simultaneously. (Oh the talent!) I’ve learned the fabulous method of changing their diapers at the same time. I’ve been perfecting my routine of ensuring Anders sleeps during AJ’s only nap of the day so that I can have some ‘me’ time. And even though I haven’t taken our double stroller on its maiden voyage yet, I’m perfectly happy going for my power walks with AJ in his single stroller and Anders in my carrier.

The main challenge starts next week when we begin our summer travel schedule. (When AJ was a baby, he had traveled on over 40 flights before his first birthday! Needless to say, I mastered the art of flying with an infant.) Fortunately, our first flight experience with a toddler and an infant will be a relatively short one. I’m not too daunted by the thought, as Alfonso will be in charge of AJ and I will have Anders. Rather, I’m more concerned about the two out of nine flights in July that involve flying with my two little guys without Alfonso. (And yes, nine flights in one month… it’s a statistic I’m not proud of!) I’ve witnessed lots of mothers fly solo with their little ones. I’ve seen everything from complete train wrecks to end-of-the-flight high-fives for the mom from nearby passengers. I certainly hope to be among the latter. For those of you who have tread these waters before, feel free to share any tricks or advice that worked for you. The more the merrier!




June 1, 2015

AJ fetching balls on the putting green for Daddy and Jerry Rice.

My husband plays golf…a lot of golf. He is a scratch golfer, which, for those of you who don’t watch the game, is equivalent to a baseball player being able to hit a 90-mph baseball with ease. In other words, he’s really good…and I’m not just saying that because he’s my husband! Fortunately, I enjoy golf as well. (During college, I worked as a golf caddy in the summer months and picked up the game then.) Even though Alfonso takes it far more seriously than I, it’s still a fun activity we can enjoy playing together. Pre-babies, we played at least once or twice a week. Post-babies, he continues to play the same amount, but I unfortunately do not. I’m sure I won’t be out there regularly again until our kids are in school, but in the meantime, AJ and I (and now Anders) still enjoy cheering him on from the sidelines. (My stepdaughter, Sienna, on the other hand, generally considers golf to be the most boring sport known to man. I’m sure I felt the same as a 12-year old!)

Since my husband is addicted to golf and super competitive, he plays in several celebrity golf tournaments throughout the year. We just returned from one of these tournaments, the annual Celebrity Championship in San Diego, of which Alfonso has participated in for years. It involved four days of golf, galas, and trying to teach a toddler how to be quiet during golfers’ backswings – not an easy undertaking! Typically, these events are only a day or two, but this was one of the larger events that many of the players on the celebrity circuit use as a practice before the ‘Superbowl’ of celebrity golf tournaments –the annual American Century Celebrity Championship in Lake Tahoe. In addition, there’s prize money at stake that always serves as an extra incentive for the players. (Note: Most of the players on the celebrity circuit are former and current professional athletes. Needless to say, these guys aren’t messing around and treating it like a leisure round of Sunday golf with a cigar and a Coors beer. At times, I think some of them actually think they’re playing in the Masters. Words of advice should you ever attend one…put your phone on silent and Do. Not. Talk.)

The tournament marked Anders’ first golf experience. My parents, who accompanied us, walked and rode with AJ in Alfonso’s golf cart. (I usually prefer to walk for the exercise.) Instead of usIMG_8593ing the stroller to navigate the course, I opted for my Lalabu Soothe Shirt, which proved to be much easier than a stroller or one of my bulky carriers. You feel like a kangaroo with your little one snuggled up in your little pouch. The best part is the built-in nursing bra that makes it incredibly easy to nurse in a concealed manner. I only wish they had these when AJ was a newborn. (They started selling them the month AJ was born, but I hadn’t heard about them until recently.) I had a wrap and a regular carrier for AJ, but they both got hot and I was never a fan of wrapping 20-feet of fabric in a complex fashion around my body. The Lalabu has been a much easier option for me, especially at this stage. Since the pouch holds babies up to 15 lbs, I’m planning to use it a lot in the next several months!

Sadly, my husband didn’t play nearly as well as he had hoped. (To his defense, he hasn’t played much in the past eight months due to Dancing With The Stars and the DWTS Live! Tour.) He definitely plans to work on getting his game back on track before the big tournament in Tahoe next month. And you can bet I will be wearing my Lalabu during that tournament with my husband’s newest golf fan, lil’ Anders. (At least, we hope he becomes a fan!)