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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

my girl

So, my baby girl is zooming up to her tenth month! I seriously cannot believe it... she is such a joy to have around that time with her flies by!

Here's what she's doing these days:


She has always been a ham. She makes the cheesiest expressions and gets super excited when she's seems someone she likes/knows.

She always wants to be where Noah is, doing what he is doing. Last night at church, she got really agitated when Noah "got" to go stand with the Glicks and she had to keep hanging out with us.

She is SO quick to pick up on things. Usually, if she sees something once--she is all over trying to do it herself.

She has 2 teeth on the bottom and is sooo close to busting out with 2 or 3 more on the top. I can't wait for them to break through--they look so painful.

She is Miss Determined... Miss Independent. She doesn't usually fuss or whine, but she doesn't let anything get in the way of what she wants.



My goodness she is a good eater (from these pictures, it looks like she lives in her high chair). She is like a little vacuum cleaner. Whatever is on her tray gets scooped up and shoveled in without much examination. After having "Mr Pickiest Eater in the World" as my #1 baby, she makes me shake my head in amazement and breathe a sigh of relief. She is also really good about taking her time to chew things, and not choke. I'm always worried, because she doesn't really stop to chew until she has her mouth packed full, but then she starts working away on it. The other day she had banana, some veggies and some bread pieces in there--and at the end all that was in her mouth was a piece of broccoli. That's what I call good sorting!

She is generally mild-mannered and pleasant. She's not the "exaggerating" type. If she is hurt, tired or upset--she'll let us know. But, usually in a very "controlled" (or "easy-to-calm") way.

She says "mama", "dada", and "baba". I am sure without knowing what they mean. She also loves to imitate the "meow" of kitty. And she thinks it's really funny if she squawks really loud and we imitate it. She also likes making "raspberries" and clicking noises with her tongue. Daddy predicts she'll talk early. (Oh, please, dear Lord. Let it be...) ;)



She isn't really the kind of baby that loves being passed around, but usually lets people hold her (as long as they keep her distracted and she doesn't see mom or dad!).

She is scooting all over the place on her belly. She gets up on her hands and knees and rocks all the time... but, so far that's about as close to "real crawling" as she's gotten. She also sits alone pretty well.

She loves to play hide-and-seek. I'll put her in her walker and then "hide" behind a wall or a piece of furniture and she'll come running over to find me. She gets so excited when she sees me that she can hardly stand it.

She LOVES playing in the grass. I don't love her playing in the grass so much, because all she wants to do is eat whatever grass, dirt, thing she can find!



She thinks it's funny when daddy tickles her.

She is usually really good about getting herself to sleep, and puts up with being out and about even when she'd rather be in her bed.



This blanket is a must for sleeping. She is making that face because I had the audacity to lay her down for a nap while the blanket was drying on the line. She valiantly tried to go to sleep, and then just wailed in frustration. I took her out to the line, and she grabbed onto this blanket and wouldn't let go. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

r.i.p.




I have been crying. A lot. I am sick to my stomach.

About an hour ago, I came out into the back yard to check on Noah. He was squatting down, looking at the ground and saying, "Bunny." Thinking he was petting Mona, I came closer. When I got closer, I could see Mona was stretched out, unmoving, on the ground.

Well, not completely unmoving. She was trembling, twitching a bit. Noooo! I thought. Just a couple of weeks ago, our dog had attacked her, had her by the neck and was doing that "neck-breaking-move" dogs do. I saw it, totally freaked out and got the rabbit back in her cage. She seemed frightened, but not too injured. The dog got in so much trouble, I figured she'd leave Mona alone.

Brings us up to today. I have kept Mona in her cage since then because of the incident with the dog--and because I'd caught her eating my plants. Rey likes to let her out to eat grass, which he did yesterday. What had happened with the dog briefly came to my mind, but after watching the dog for awhile, it seemed that she (the dog) was completely ignoring the bunny.

So, back to tonight. I was looking down at Mona. I could see teeth marks, hair missing, and was guessing her neck was broken because she wasn't moving her head at all. I was wishing I had a gun to just get it over with. She was breaking my heart--and I was SO upset that I hadn't seen the dog doing that to her. I could have stopped it.

As I was trying to decide if I should try to move her back to her cage, she kinda stretched and then stopped moving all together. Then, I just started bawling. It's not like we were "close"--I just HATE for anything to die violently.

I was going to try to bury her, but after hacking for a while at our rocky ground through my snot and tears, I realized I wouldn't be able to make a deep enough hole. I didn't want Noah to touch her or the dog to get her again, so I put on gloves and moved her into her cage. She still was so soft, and it was so heartbreaking that I lost it again. Poor Noah has never seen me cry--so I think he wasn't sure if I was out of breath or what. But, he wanted to help me with bunny, so he stayed nearby.

So, goodbye, Mona. You were a good bunny. I am so sorry it had to end like this.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Of You

Rey graduated as an Industrial Engineer in 2007. However, we have never been able to get the money together to pay for his diploma. This birthday, that was his gift: the money to pay for him to be officially named an Engineer. Below are my thoughts....


This picture is so precious to me because it is the only one I have of Rey as a child.
He is the one on the swing, with 3 of his 8 siblings.
They are Mario (pulling his hair), Fernando and Marina.


Have I told you lately, my love, how incredibly, how immensely
How insanely proud I am of you?

I think about you, about where you came from.
Your vision, your determination.
You saw yourself where you are now.
Happy, fulfilled, accomplished, educated.
You determined never to take the easy way,
Never to complain, never to give up.

You chose to go to school every day you could.
Even if you were a year behind everyone else
Even if you didn't have money for lunch
Even if they laughed at you.

You chose to continue on,
Even when the rest of your family gave up
You set your sights on finishing
Even if that meant studying by candlelight

You finished primary school almost at the top of your class.
Bet that closed those kids' mouths.
You came from behind, you on your own.

You went to college.
Even if it was in a different town.
Even if it did require a combination of walking,
Hitch-hiking and bus-riding.
Every time. In that heat.

You continued on.
Even though it had to be overwhelming.
The homework, the work at home,
The work to pay for school,
The work to get to school.

You graduated, yes. You did.
I cried because I could not be there.
And I cried because I was so proud of you.
Your family cried, too.

And, now, my love.
Here you are. An Engineer at last.
Not only in vision and spirit,
But now on paper, too.

Words fail me.
I could say more, but it wouldn't be enough.
Just know that I am proud. So proud.
Proud of you. Proud to know you.
Proud to be with you.
--Yours.

Rey on his graduation day with his sister Marina.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

milestones.

Three big things have happened in Noah-world this week:

HE TOLD ME, "I LOVE YOU" ALL BY HIMSELF. We were singing in church, and he wandered over and gave me a hug. I squatted down to hug him back and said, "I love you," into my hair. Melted my heart. He's never said it without me having said it first.

HE WENT TO THE POTTYYYYY!! Wow, he is such a funny kid. I always said that with his perfectionist and individualistic personality, he was just going to wake up and pee in the potty.... when HE wanted to. That's basically what happened. After me trying to teach him the concept many times since he was about 18 mos... this week he just got on the potty and went. Very calmly. He actually seemed a little embarrassed by his mom's huge show of excitement. "I mean reeeealllyyyy, mom..."

HE IS IN A BIG BOY BED. Hmmm. We'll see how "happy" of a thing this is! I'm envisioning a child wandering around the house at 3 am... Fun! Right.


This picture cracks me up.
Noah surveying his bed before Rey put on rails and I painted it.

The finished product. Man, Rey is good! :)


Noah, checking it out.
With blankey, bear and Thomas the Train cover, of course.



The bed was actually ready to go last night, but Noah is not a guy big on change and he freaked out when I tried to take the crib out of his room. So, he slept in his crib, next to his big boy bed. Tonight, I put him into his big boy bed, with the crib still in his room. So far, no noises or feet pattering around the house. That makes me happy.

Other things that make me happy about my Noah.

--When I find him asleep in the exact same position I laid him down in. It just tells me this little guy has played until the last drop of energy was out and that was it.

--I love his beautiful dimples, big smile and crazy hair.



--Love hearing him shout, "God's not dead, He's aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiive!" al0ng with the Donut Man.


--His goofy impersonations of things.

--Oh, mylanta... his eyelashes.

Friday, October 22, 2010

"You Can't Make Me" .... but I can be persuaded.


I heard about this book from this article. After a long-winded email to my sis about my parenting woes... she replied with that link.

I really loved what the article had to say, and went straight to Amazon to order my copy. :)

Now that I've read the book, I would just say: Go read the article. Slowly. It's a really good, condensed version of what the book had to say.

Things I liked:

The author really stresses that strong-willed children (SWC) aren't trying to make you mad. They are wired differently.

The author is herself strong-willed, so she gives many personal examples of how SWC view the world--specifically black-and-white orders. Really eye-opening, since I am about as far from strong-willed as you can get.

The most important thing you can do is cultivate a relationship of unconditional love with your SWC and find out what motivates them.

She talks about how the SWC can pull a family apart, and how that's the devil's plan. That also opened my eyes and made me want to be more proactive about my parenting, as opposed to reactive.

Things I didn't like so much:

After about the half-way point of the book, she seemed to start repeating herself. I think the book was really written to parents who are about to kick their SWC out of the house in exasperation and her book is to try to help the parents love their child again. Maybe that's why she starts repeating herself. And, maybe it's a good thing I read this book early enough so as not to need the repetition. ;)

Overall:

Good book... the article is just as good.

Ain't Nothin'....




More than once during a day, I find myself saying (even if only internally): "There's nothing like it!"

Here's my list of top unbeatables:

"There's nothing like...."

  • "...A hot shower." --Oh, yes. I do say this to myself during every hot shower. Right after the words, "Ahhhh" and "Thank you, Lord." It is luxury, bliss... ok, moving on.
  • "...A sparkly clean and perfectly organized fridge."-- So why is it so hard for me to motivate myself to stay on top of that?
  • "...A bite of dark chocolate late in the afternoon." --No explanation needed.
  • "...A massage after a day of lugging babies and who knows what else around." -- Deep breath in, long breath out....
  • "...A view of 'my' mountains out my back door." -- Never fails to inspire awe.
  • "...A hug from my loves." --Delicious.
  • "...A cup of smell-good coffee and uninterrupted conversation." -- Does that actually happen these days?

What's on your list? :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

domingo.

To me, there's nothing like walking down the street on a Sunday morning in Mexico. Most men here work 6 days a week, and have Sundays off. The difference of daddies being home is obvious.

It almost feels like everyone takes a deep breath, exhales slowly and completely... and then just enjoys the day. Radios everywhere are turned on, pumping ballads and corridos out onto the streets. The usual traffic of work trucks and men on bikes going to work is stopped. Dads sit out on their front door steps, in sweats with their hair standing up--watching their kids play in the street.

It seems the wind blows softer, the sun shines warmer. Things just slow down. People's faces--usually lined with the urgency of appointments and bread winning--are relaxed. More ready to smile. "Buenos días," is spoken more generously.

And I, walking to our corner store, breathe it in. Smile at the group of boys showing off their marble skills to somebody's dad-in-pajamas. Think about how later on I will be smelling the smell of meat being grilled at many people's houses. And, for the millionth time, tell myself how much I love domingos.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You Have NO Idea...

...how excited we were to find it! An indoor place-place with all kinds of slide, swings, padding, playhouses, balls, riding toys, mazes... What??! Am I in the US?

I have been looking/wishing for something like this forever, it seems. I've asked around and no one here knew of such a place (I think it was all an evil conspiracy to keep me on the outside. O mean, when I asked the lady in charge if the place was new, she said it's been there for about 20 years! Come on, people! haha). Enter my new friend, Ruth. SHE was willing to let me in on the good news.

Here's some shots of the kiddos loving every second:




Getting in on the action!


Pondering....



Mmm... nothing like taking a break from running around to stuff your face with watermelon!


He loved posing like this...

Chillin' with daddy!

Running around like crazy people!


More carousel!

The inside of the carousel umbrella was painted with stars, and he's all about them stars.

Oh, golly Miss Molly. He's so handsome. My heart just stopped. But, I'm ok now.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Entry/Living Room Reveal

So, here are the glorious "before" shots:

Looking in the front door:


What's with the little bit of green tile sticking out of the bathroom and visually chopping up the room?

Cheap paint + water damage =


Give me some color!


I knew I wanted to do the warm coffee-shop reds and yellows. I found a picture I loved: It had red walls, brown ceiling, and a yellow accent wall. That was the plan until I remembered the tile is red and decided it might become a red overload.

So, I switched it up. Yellow walls, green-brown ceiling, red accents.

And here is a panoramic of what we have now, ladies and gents. (No, the floor isn't really warped. That's the camera-operator's fault. Don't be judgin'.)


Looking in the front door:



(Psst... don't tell the landlady I painted over her tile. She probably won't even notice.)

Looking from the back of the living room towards the front door:


A view of the walls and ceiling.


Now... what to put on the walls....??



Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's Adoorned.

Ugh. I know you are rolling your eyes and looking for nearby rotten tomatoes to throw in my direction. Sorry, I just had to misspell adorned. It wasn't even that punny. Okkkkk... I'll quit. For real.

What I've got for you today is a bunch of doors. Start off with our full-of-potential-yet-sad front doors. Can you believe how cool these doors are? They're HUGE and they had the cool paneled thing going on. But, that color did nothing for them.


I've always wanted a red front door, but--wouldn't work with the peachy-orange we've got as our house color. I almost was going to go for a bold blue color... but then backed down when I saw a picture of my aunt and cousin in front of an Italian restaurant that had these color doors:


Yummy! Please notice the absence of the decrepit rose bush in the tree row... and the beginnings of a purty lawn.

Of course, gotta check out the back of the door--it's a whole wall!



That handsome fella posing with the broom in the before shot is my brother Ben. Hi, Ben!



Ben, working his magic on the doors.


The inside of the doors now! (Uh-oh! You can see the entry-way/living room yellow in this picture. Total spoiler for the reveal.) :-P

Here's a bad-quality shot of the back/kitchen door before it was attacked with the paint brush.



The back door now:



Love how it totally changes the whole kitchen. (Prospective visitors will be relieved to know that our exits are now easily distinguishable from all other doors in case a speedy escape becomes necessary).

The bathroom doors must not be left out. Now, in this picture, you will see that our bathroom doors are sliding doors made of ugly grayish-white plastic. Don't ask me why they decided sliding (unlatchable) doors were the way to go.



But, that was not the most frightening aspect about these doors. Look what happens when it is brighter in the bathroom that it is outside the bathroom door.



Oh, yes. We can see you. See what you're doing where. One handy thing was you never had to knock to know if the bathroom was occupied. However, it was scaring off visitors.

So, it had to get painted. Went at it with some gray spray paint:



I had thought I wanted to trace that diamond-ish pattern already in the plastic with yellow. However, that looked like it would be hooooouuuurrrs of work and I remembered liking this idea.

We couldn't find any sponge brushes like the lady used for her tray... so I got creative. Cut up a new spongey-scrubber I had in the kitchen:


It worked out just fine. The pattern isn't exactly like the other lady's--but I really like it. It looks like a bamboo fence to me:


The plan is to do that same pattern on the interior of the other sliding door. (I was afraid of paint getting rubbed off if I did it on the front of both doors) I think that "bamboo fence door" is just begging for a potted plant in front of it.

What about you? Are doors a big deal for you?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Remember this dream??

I know, I know. You wanna say, "Enough about the yard already!!" But, alas, I cannot stop. The feelings of happiness that green expanse brings me cannot be contained.

Remember how the dream of Aleni rolling around in soft greenness kept me going with the pick ax?


Well, behold....



Oh, yes. This is our formerly yellow-brown and crunchy front yard.

And this is my baby wanting to do a taste test of the new sprouts.

Whatcha think?