Friday, January 29, 2010

Bloggy award!

Yupii!! I got an award... I am THAT cool.

My duties as winner are the following: I must answer the following questions with single word answers, and then pass the award on to five more bloggers.

Before I start, I know this is gonna kill me because everyone that knows me can tell you I don't keep anything to ONE word....and I hate painting myself into one definate corner. Gotta have your options, yes??

Ok, here goes:

Your cellphone: nope
Your hair: amazing
Your mother: superwoman
Your father: teacher
Your favorite food: choco-to-the-late
Your dream last night: dream?
Your favorite drink: mocha
Your dream/goal: impact
What room are you in? office
Your hobby: gabbing
Your fear: blandness
Where do you see yourself in six years? happylandia
Where were you last night? home
Something that you aren't: strong-willed
Muffins: blueberry
Wishlist item: house!
Where did you grow up? Illinois
Last thing you did: attemptednap
What are you wearing? clothes (helloooo...)
Your TV? nada
Your pets? cute
Friends? completeme
Your life: expanding
Your mood: tired
Missing someone: always
Vehicle: van
Something you aren't wearing: stilettos
Your favorite store: consignment
Your favorite color: green
When was the last time you laughed? today
When was the last time you cried? 10daysago
Your best friend? Rey
One place you go over and over: fridge
Facebook: life! :)
Favorite place to eat: Italian

Mmmmm... I think I'll just keep this award to myself!! Why?? Because, I think alot of my friends have already answered this one! :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Who Would've Known?

We are in the midst of the crazy that is being part of two countries at the same time--mainly: paperwork. It took us about 6 tries to get Aleni's birth certificate (What?? She wasn't born in a hospital? You must have stolen her then!! I wanted to say: "I can show you my stretch marks...").

Monday we have our appointment at the American consulate in Monterrey (5 hours north of here) to get Aleni's American paperwork done. Hopefully that will be more straightforward than it has been up to now.

Rey's Mexican passport recently expired, so we decided to get both his and Aleni's passport pictures taken (Aleni's for her American passport). Now, I don't know how many of you (millions of) readers have gotten passport/visa pictures. For me, I just popped into the Post Office and smiled, click, done. Another time, I went to Walgreens--same thing.

Not so much here. We found a FotoEstudio that would do the pictures. We found the "studio", and walked through the open door to a frigid hallway blocked at the far end with a sheet. The walls held pictures displaying the photographers talent: from Quinceanera portraits to kids' photo collages complete with the child apparently having been squirted in the face with water and being forced to cry. Hmm. A new cute, I guess. I don't know if the photographer extraordinare was getting her nails done, but we waited around 15 minutes before her husband wandered in, son in arms, to report she'd be here "ahorita" (which does not mean "now", I've learned). So, we continued shivering until the lady showed up.

She said she could do the pictures for 50 pesos each (around $5), could we give her time to get the studio ready. She dissapeared behind a closed door and "prepared" for another 15 minutes. I asked Rey if she might think he was the president or something. I mean--it's a passport picture. You know-- white background? 2 inches? Face only?

She came back out and ushered us into the "studio". White sheet on one wall, black sheet across a doorway for the other wall and an old, pastel tulip scene sheet for the 3rd wall. The forth housed her lighting.

She seated Rey on a low stool in front of the white sheet. What followed was about the funniest thing I've seen in a while.

She: Now I'm just going to adjust my zoom....
Rey (rather self-consciously shifting on the stool. Nods)
She: Ok, now could you just tilt your head ever so slightly to the side.
Ok. (peering into camera)
Oh. (chuckles) Your face is very shiney. (handing R a kleenex) Please dry it off.
R: (scrubs vigorously at his face until I say, "I think it's fine now")
She: Ok. Moisten your lips. Uh-oh. Could you tilt your head juuuuuuust a tiny bit?? (gesturing with her hand)
Ah. Straighten your back. Posture. is. very. important. Ohhh-- (sighs, straightens and looks at me). See that. You grew. Now I have to readjust everything. Oh well.... (raising camera on tripod).
Ok. Now. Relax your shoulders. Back straight. Hands in lap. Oh-oh. Tiiiiiiillllt the head. (sighs and lifts head from the camera).
Just a little detail. (comes from behind camera and starts determinedly pushing Rey's hair behind his ears). Ok.
(Ducks behind camera. Straightens.) Could you just push down the hair on the left side? (she vigorously pounds at the side of her head to demonstrate)
R: (complies)
She: (ducks down again). The lips. Moisten them again. Look straight. Close your mouth. Chin down. Oh-oh. Chin a little bit up. Ok!!!!!!!!!!!
(Camera pops).

She straightens. Looks into my eyes, shaking her head.
"He blinked.
Ohhhhh, well."
I was literally chewing my lips to keep it together.
And a shortened version of the above happens again, and then--pop! She was happy with the result.

We got the pictures back today.

All I can say is: this is one amazing passport picture.

Truly unequalled in quality and composed by the eye of a master artist.

And, Aleni's was pretty spectacular.

PS: Dear Mrs Photographer Lady: I wasn't fooled at all. I know you thought my man was a hotty. I'm keeping my eye on you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


So, we had snow here yesterday. I know! In Mexico! Not a complete shock, because we'd been told it sometimes happens here in the mountains.

We didn't get much accumulation, but a lot of the fluffy stuff came down throughout the morning. It was beautiful. I wondered if Noah would notice what was going on outside. And then I saw this:

He stayed like this for about 15 minutes (an eternity for a toddler!). He'd press his nose against the glass and fog it up with his breath. He'd look at us to see if we saw what he saw. And, he just took in the wonder of a first snowfall.

And then, deep in thought, slowly... he began to clap.

And it made me smile.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Since several people have asked the details of Aleni's entrance to the world, I figured the easiest thing to do would be to post it here.

This is a post about birth and I will try to keep the wording PG... but, you know. You've been warned. ;)

Aleni's due date was January 27th. With this in mind, my aunt (who was to help at the birth) planned a vacation to the beach with her family last week. For some reason, I had this "feeling" that Aleni would get all excited about that and decide to pop out during that time. But, early births don't run in the family, so I told my aunt to get tan for me and not to worry.

My... hmmm... aquatic signal of empending birth appeared Saturday morning as I woke up. This doesn't run in our family either. So, it was kind of an interesting start to the day. It was even more interesting because my baby shower was planned for that night. Here in Mexico, you throw your own parties, so that's what I'd done. I debated whether or not to call it off, but I really didn't want to and I wasn't having any contractions. So, I decided to play it by ear while I made some 80 cupcakes and continued receiving the afore mentioned signal.

The baby shower was a lot of fun, although a little uncomfortable for me because of the... well... you know.

Still no contractions when I went to bed on Saturday. However, during the night and early Sunday morning, I was awoken by very strong contractions--like one every hour. But they never went anywhere.

We decided not to go to church.... or the party we'd been invited to that afternoon. I know, what a bunch of wimps!

I was having off and on contractions during the morning, and then they seemed to just go away by the middle of the day. I found this to be frustrating and a little worrisome, since "they" say it is dangerous to not go into labor within 24 hrs of "being signaled". I had to come to a peace with God about this, and it helped having heard several horror stories of "artificial induction" from several friends. I realized God may just be slowing things down so that the real fun could start after Noah was in bed. (Oh, did I mention Noah was being extra special that day??)

We took Noah to the park around 3 pm and I walked (or, perhaps I slowly, very slowly...waddled...) around the track several times. By this time, the contractions were about 5 minutes apart and super strong.

We got home around 4 and I retreated into my little space. (When Rey asked me if there was something I needed, I said--pointing at Noah--"Keep him away from me!") Things kept intensifying until about 6 when the contractions were about 3 minutes apart and--kinda ouchy. Rey came into the room I had shut myself into and saw how intense I was and said, "Please try to keep it together for another hour..." Noah's bedtime. Didn't want to keep it together. But, you know. What can ya do?

Around 7, I got into the bathtub and was there until Aleni was born. I probably started pushing around 7:30.

(Oh, an interesting side-note. My one demand for the birth was a hawaian pizza from Domino's afterwards. During the day, I'd been hinting to Rey that he should probably get that squared away. Well, being from the laid-back side of the border, he didn't get the order in until 7. Which looks like this:
R--Hey, umm...what toppings do you want?
L (from bathtub and in between breathing)--I already told you. Hawaian.
R--Oh, ok. Yes, ma'am. Hawaian. No chili. Right, Liz?
L (gruffly)--Yes.
R--Yes, and the directions to our house....
L--We can just get it tomorrow...
Yes... turns out the delivery guy got a flat tire on the way and we never got our pizza. I mean, that night. They gave us a free one the next day. So, that was cool. Right. Back to the excitement.)

So, yes. I began pushing. Everyone that's had a baby knows what that means. Not fun. Never ending. Unrewarding (until the last seconds!). I think that was the hardest part for me of not having a midwife was feeling like, "Did I start pushing to early? Are my instincts right now?? Or am I just trying to rush things?" So, I was praying for wisdom as I decided to go for it. And, you know how it is. "Do you see anything??" "Umm... nope."

Rey was really great. Just kind of quietly there for whatever demand I threw at him. At one point, I think I was passing out, so he counseled me to just push every other contraction and to concentrate on breathing. He encouraged me and told me I could do it.

Then, I said, "The head!" (meaning, I could feel it). Rey says, "Noooo..." Hah. It was kind of funny. Because, helloooo. It was there. But, you know how heads are. Maybe 3 pushes later, Rey saw what I was talking about. "Oh, yes! The head!" ;) And, about 5 minutes from the time I felt the head--at 8:50 pm--I heard crying.

Never does crying sound so sweet! Am I right??

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I was thinking about how we say we are "expecting" when we tell people we are going to have a baby... and about how many of things that have happened in the last few days were outside of my expectations! For the better or worse--you can decide.

I was expecting to give birth around the end of January--near the 27th. I gave birth 17 days early. (Believe me, I am NOT complaining about this one!)

I was expecting that my aunt would be there to assist in the home birth. She was in Los Cabos until the day after. (Good thing I married a guy with a knack for midwifing!)

I was expecting for Noah to be having fun over at the relatives while I did my breathing exercises in peace. He was having a really... special... day right there with me. (Try screaming at me to pick him up while I'm having a contraction)

I was expecting for my water to break during labor. (That's just how it is for the ladies in our family) It broke the morning of my baby shower--the day before my labor started.

I was expecting to have a little, beautiful, dark-haired girl. (Check it out)

I was hoping that Noah would love her. (Check it out)

I was hoping she would be sweet, easy and peaceful. She is.

We call her Aleni Elizabeth.

And, we think we have it pretty good.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Peering into the new year...

So, everyone else is doing it... RESOLUTIONS!! Agghhh!!

For some reason, that word makes my heart start pounding and my breath start getting caught in my throat. All I think is: "If you make a promise you don't keep, that makes you a liar. And you KNOW where liars go..."

But, I think it is a noble thing, and I'd hate to avoid life-improvement just because of fear of failure. So, the other night me and my baby sat down and made lists of "goals" (seems a little less frightening than resolutions).

So, here are mine:

--Make time to pray and read the Bible every day (no excuses!)
--Pray for and choose joy every morning
--Be obedient to minister (rather than scrunching my toes up in my shoes and thinking of reasons why it's not the best time, place, etc...)
--Call/write/reach out to 3 people every week
--Make a date night every month
--Start a mom's group
--Make specific time for each child every day
--"Clean the air" with Rey every night (something I've heard from several married-for-a-hundred-years couples: Asking each other every night if anything happened during the day that offended the other, could be improved.)

So, there she is. I've already gotten some great ideas from other people's lists... and am looking forward to making more "choices" this year, rather than letting life "happen". You know what I mean??

ADDENDUM: It is here I tremblingly add yet one more goal: Stop biting my nails.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reflections on Girl Babies

Whenever anyone hears we're having a girl...they always seem so estatic. Almost relieved. They give me that special, insider's look that says, "You finally got what you really wanted."

And, I am super excited to be having a girl. But, I think deep-down I was kind of feeling like a baby boy would be easier. There's the obvious, shallow reason: way less new clothing needed! But, I honestly feel more nervous about the parenting aspect with a girl.

I feel like I "get" boys a little more (it could possibly have something to do with the fact I have 7 bros and only 2 sisters). I feel like this world is even more scary for girls than ever, and will I be able to be the example and influence that she needs to be strong and pure? Confident and holy? Will I be strong enough to remain steady in her turbulant "becoming-a-woman" years?

I guess these issues are pretty far away at this point, but I can't help thinking about them. It's probably a good time to be working on becoming the woman I would like my girl to be...and praying up for the wisdom I am gonna be needing!