February 27, 2013

Rough Week

I don't know why it's so hard for me to share bummer news here. It didn't used to be. Maybe it's because I've gotten out of the habit of writing here regularly, so I feel like everything I have to write needs to be upbeat or inspiring or at least funny.

This has been one of the hardest weeks for me in a long time.

Danny and I flew home from California, without Alejandro, about a week and a half ago. His work was not done, and we'd been there for two solid months, having a wonderful time with family, but missing doctors appointments and my chiropactor and preschool and my work at jazzercise and tutoring and friends and church and clothes that fit and my bed. So we kissed goodbye for a short time and the two of us came home.

Upon returning, there was a flurry of activity and lots of readjustment, a Jeep to fix, and doctors appointments to catch up on, but by the end of last week, when I hadn't caught up on my energy even though I'd caught up on sleep and activities, I knew something was wrong. I was WAY TOO TIRED.  I mentioned to some friends that I "felt anemic," even though I didn't know what that felt like.

On Sunday morning, after restng in a recliner for 20 minutes, I realized I was still out of breath, so I called the fantastic on-call nurses and made my way to the hospital.

Turns out, I am, in fact, anemic.  :(


Anemia is one thing, but anemia 7 1/2 months pregnant is a whole different animal.  I don't ever remember being this tired in my entire life.  Not even right after Danny was born.  And of course, it doesn't help that I'm on my own for a few more days still and my sweet little boy misses his Papa like crazy and is having a rough time of it.

So, would y'all pray?  That this iron I'm on kicks in quicker than usual. That Alejandro is able to get home REALLY  soon... or at least that the time would pass quickly.  That Danny's little heart is comfort and his spirit is lifted and that he's infused with an extra measure of obedience and helpfulness.  That Baby Boy stays healthy and strong - if kicks are any indication, he's doin' just fine. And that God encourages my tired heart and gives me wisdom about how to pace myself through daily activities like showering, cooking, and daily errands, which suddenly feel like olympic events.

Thanks everybody.  I appreciate it.



February 20, 2013

Almost 30 Weeks

Well I'm just about 30 weeks along and today we got another little peek at Baby Boy #2!  He wasn't super cooperative, so we didn't get tons of images like last time.  He's head down, with his spine up against my belly-button, and his head smashed into the placenta.  This is EXACTLY where I want him to be!  I'm not sure if he'll stay that way till his birthday, but I'm pleased as punch that he's happy there now and hoping that even if he moves, he'll make his way back there eventually.

It does not, however, make it easy for ultrasound pictures.  Oh well.  You win some.  You lose some.

This is a leg and a foot. 

I'm going to be honest... I'm not certain what this is, but I think it's a profile of his face, with his neck to the left and his nose at the top.  Apparently our kiddo has hair!! I can't tell, but the ultrasound tech seemed to think so.

The 3D images weren't great, since his face is smashed up against the placenta, but here's our little bug! He's got a nose like Danny's and lips like Alejandro's from the looks of it.  :)  

He weighs around 3 pounds now and is estimated around the 80th percentile for weight.

I'm hangin' in there.  I'm MUCH more comfortable now that I'm home in Colorado, sleeping in my own bed, seeing my chiropractor and just generally being at HOME.  I did my first at-altitude work-out on Monday and was impressed with myself that I could get through it!  Y'all, with Danny's pregnancy, I didn't exercise AT ALL except swimming a few times in the last couple of weeks, and I couldn't even walk around the block by the end.  So to be able to get through an hour of low-impact dance-aerobics is a HUGE change for me, and I'm beyond proud of myself.

Most annoying thing:  I pee constantly.  I peed over 20 times today.  No joke.  I counted.  Oh yes, I did.

Second most annoyng thing:  Not sleeping through the night, but that's getting better and I'm down to only waking once or twice, as opposed to half a dozen times while we traveled.

Here's a picture of me right at 29 weeks:

And guess what!?  In just 10 short weeks, we get to meet him!!  Yay!!

February 11, 2013

Spiderman Is In Trouble

Ah, life with boys.

February 10, 2013

Danny's First Train Ride

Each and every time we've driven down the freeway on the way to Jazzercise for the past 6 weeks, Danny looks for the "red train" (the San Diego Trolley) and announces to me when he's found it.  And given his total fascination with trains in general, and the fact that he's never actually ridden one, Grandpa Shaun had a brilliant idea.  He suggested we all hop on the trolley for a morning and ride it until we felt like getting off to have lunch, and then ride it home.  

I'm not sure who's more excited in this picture - Grammy or Danny.  

We walked up to the trolley station and in pulled the Red Train.   

Much to the delight of my little boy. 

But first, the tickets had to be purchased and handed out. 

Soon enough, another one rounded the corner. 

And safely gripping Grandpa's hand, we all climbed aboard.

Ready to go?!  "Ding ding!" went the train. 

"Here we go!!" said Danny.

The fantastic thing about the Red Train is how often it stops and goes again.  

That is, of course, the most exciting part for a three year old. 

That and watching the tracks zoom past you as you fly down the track.  

Oh, and imagining that Thomas and Percy are connected to the car behind you. 

There were San Diego sights.  I enjoyed seeing many of San Diego's familiar places 
from a completely different angle.  It was my first ride on the trolley too. 

Our kiddo loved every bit of it.

Except getting off.  He wasn't quite as excited about that part, 
but he cooperated when we explained that next was lunch. 

My husband's funky expression is because he's squinting in 
the sun, but I just love this candid shot of the two of them. 

Lunch was at Phil's Barbeque.

We added babyback ribs to the list of firsts for the day, and Danny 
cleaned off every small shred of meat from that bone.  He loved it. 

And then back to the trolley we went.

Down the tracks and home for a well-deserved nap taken by all. 

A video: 

The Conversation Around Here

My Mom walks into the house at dinner time and says, "It's chilly in here."

"It's not chilly.  The heater was just on," retorted my stepdad, Shaun.

Mom: "It's cold!  I'm cold!"

Shaun: "But the heater was just on!"

Mom: "Then why do you need to take a hot bath?"

Shaun: "Because I just walked outside for 4 miles.  The heater was JUST on."

Mom: "So, you're saying I should wait for a hot flash?"

Shaun:  "Yeah."

Then Danny pipes up: "Hot flashes are good!"

February 4, 2013

Dear Danilo,

You are three and a half! The last six months seem like a life-time and you, my sweet boy, seem like an entirely different kiddo.  Your vocabulary and articulation have EXPLODED as well as your social development.  You started preschool and all of a sudden we are in a whole new world of singing, counting, memorizing scripture, recounting stories, recognizing your written name, learning letters and physical education.  It's definitely too much to try to write all in one letter.  (Not that that won't keep this Mama from trying!)

In September, while playing trains you said, ”Oh no! The train! It crashed! Let's try again.”

In the car, you said:  ”God made me. God made Mama. God made Papa.” (9/24)

One afternoon you asked me:
”Papa's working?”
”At the office?”
”At the house peoples?”
”yes, at the people's house.”
”oooh, that's nice!”  (9/25/12)

Holding up a handful of dirt carefully cupped in you hand you said, ”Mama look! It's a frog!”
”Wow! That's cool! What's its name?”
”um, ok.”
My next thought was, WHO is Catherine!?  (9/26/12)
Later I discovered Catherine is a girl in your preschool class.

In October, you got into the car and buckled up by yourself, although you rarely do that by yourself even now, mostly because it takes you so long to do it and I don't want to wait.  You also managed to put one glove on without help and at Christmas, you graduated to regular-sized Legos (from duplos).

For a while, when asked how old you are, without blinking an eyelash, you said, "Ten." Then, after laughter had died down, when I asked how old you really are, you'd say, "three."

In November, when we were having lots of microwave s'mores at home, your name for a marshmallow became, "sparlellow."  I'm going to be sad when you learn to say it correctly.

Also in November, we introduced you to the original Superman movie, which you called, ”super Batman.” You were immediately and completely enthralled with Superman and flying.  I think you wore a borrowed Superman costume for approximately the next ten days straight.

You weigh around 30 pounds.

You recently asked me to change the radio station, and wanted me to put it back on Prince's "Meet me in the ladies room."  You like dance music and you love to groove and sing in your carseat, although you are timid about it.

Last week we got together with friends and you were eating a sugar cookie that our friends had brought to share.  After you ate half of the cookie, I ate the other half and you lost it in a mess of tears.  I turned to my friend, and said, "May I have another cookie?  Danny's falling apart because I ate the rest of his."  After replacing your cookie and encouraging you to settle down, you said to me, ”Mama, you ate my cookie. And Danny's falling apart for that.”

Your favorite way of buying more time is to ask me, "Mama, you set the timer?"  Usually my answer is yes and usually when the timer goes off, you are fairly faithful to stop playing and follow my directions, even if I do have to say it three or four half a bajillion times.

We've been staying at Grammy's and Grandpa Shaun's house for almost two months and you are taking it like a champ.  You ask me when we're going back to "Danny's house in Cowado" often and when we can go to the "big Jazzercise," (also in Colorado).

You are fantastically affectionate.  You give the greatest hugs and kisses and tonight you would not let go of the hold you had around my neck until I gave you a "really good hug, Mom."

You call me "Mom" more often than you call me "Mama."  And tonight you told Papa, "I love Papa because I wanna go to work with Papa and do work with Papa."

When you bumped your head into my pregnant tummy this week, you said, "Hey! The Baby kicked me!"  You have definitely come to understand and embrace silly slapstick humor.

You've started to want to pray by yourself and tonight you thanked Jesus for about 25 things before saying, "Aaaaaamen!"  You don't really understand asking Jesus for things yet, but you do understand singing and dancing for Jesus at church.

Your one-liner of the month was definitely the following:  Aunt Lisa and Uncle Ray (who you adore to bits and pieces and ask about ALL. THE. TIME. were over hanging out and Lisa got up announcing she needed the bathroom.  You were playing Legos on the floor.  As she walked down the hallway, you called after her, without even looking up and in total seriousness, "Don't fall in the toilet!"

You are a total crack-up, and the cutest kid I know. You are smart, well behaved, well-liked by all, and you don't miss a thing.  I LOVE doing life with you, sweet pea.


P.S.F.G. (Post Script From Grammy)  For sure, like your Mama said, you don't miss a thing. You are observant, expressive, and fun, with a great sense of humor.

Most often spoken sentences that I have heard this month:
"I could help!"
"Ya wanta build a tent?"

February 3, 2013

Immigration Policy Reform

My sister recently asked me on Facebook about my opinion on Obama's new immigration reform policy.

Whether or not I would be a proponent or opponent of this new policy, I can't say.  There's not enough information in this article (which is the only one I've read) for me to decide one way or another.  Immigration policy is complicated and this article presents more questions for me than it does answers.

I am extremely thankful to be able to say proudly that Alejandro immigrated totally legally, but unfortunately we are the exception to the rule, not because immigrants don't WANT to immigrate legally, but because it is phenomenally difficult to do so. Alejandro came to the United States on a tourist visa which he had obtained before we met.  While I lived at my uncle's condo, he lived with my parents, earning his keep by doing yard work, cleaning and repair work on their the house.  He was not able to pay rent.  We drove my car - his Costa Rican driver's license was valid here in the States. He saved up for my wedding ring by doing yard work for friends and acquaintances of ours.  After we were married, we were extremely blessed to find a very good, very honest, very affordable, and very helpful immigration lawyer who helped our process go smoothly.  Nevertheless, we had to come up with about $800 to pay him.  While we waited for a work visa for him, we survived off of my substitute teaching salary, and I'll never forget buying two weeks' worth of groceries on $20 once.  We ate at Mom and Dad's A LOT.

In our first six months dating, Alejandro and I researched immigration laws. That means that while we were still getting to know each other, we had open conversations about when he would propose, where we would live, in which country we would legally get married (whether or not we decided to have our wedding ceremony there), and how we would make a living during each stage of our engagement and first months married.  We researched ahead of time the immigration laws for both countries, validity of driver's licenses in both countries, work permits in the United States, and many other fine details.

My point is that there are very few couples who are willing to or have the ability to do all of the preparing that we did, and without the help of my family, there is NO WAY we could've done it.  Additionally, doing all the preparation and research still does not guarantee a smooth process.  I know MANY couples who have followed every rule and still found themselves throwing money into a bottomless pit as they wait and wait and wait and submit paperwork multiple times, when immigration offices claim it was never submitted.

There are plenty of spouses who are here illegally, not by their own fault, and others who've simply ignored the law.  Does this policy treat them all fairly? That is a matter of opinion and this article doesn't make that clear. What about children of illegal immigrants who are also illegal? Is it fair or just to impose punishment on them by punishing their parents? The requirement of leaving the country in order to apply for legal residence imposes quite a hardship on MANY MANY people, which is why Alejandro and I chose to get married at the courthouse just two and a half weeks after he proposed.

I'd like to know how this policy improves border security or how businesses can more easily learn about applicants' legal working status. It's pretty easy now.  Either you have a work permit card or green card or you don't.  I'm less concerned that those who have broken the law are fairly punished and more concerned that workers be allowed to work and pay their fair share of income taxes legally.  Even those who are here on a tourist visa should be able to work and contribute to our income taxes.  That benefits everyone.  I'm not worried about visiting foreigners taking a job away from me.  For the positions they easily qualify for, they are already anyway.

So in short, I DO believe that immigration reform is needed.  I DON'T know if this particular policy will solve them.