Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Maxine at 3 Months

Jose got me a new camera, yay! He says it doesn't look "cool" because it's bulkier than the other digital cameras we've had. I'm ok with that.
Maxine is 3 months old now. She plays with her hands sometimes like this, not able to grab anything on purpose, yet. She likes to just look at them.

She fell down ever so slowly.

Then I picked her up again and she continued to study her hands.

Man, I love her feetsies! She looks at those, too. When she starts grasping things I'm pretty sure she'll go for those toes as soon as she can.

What else does Maxine do? Laugh a lot at Raquel and a little at Daddy (never at Mommy). Raquel can make this kid laugh like nothing and it is so fun to watch. She's also very talkative. We have most of our conversations during a diaper change when we're looking right at each other, so many different oohs and wees. In the bath she smiles at Patito the rubber duck and Raquel's bath toys (mostly old My Little Ponies). She really doesn't like to be left alone so we end up carrying her around a lot but sometimes I just have to put her down and block out the whining and protesting.

Jose and I are so lucky to have our little girls.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Comparison of My Daughters

Our camera is broken. I can't think of a better, more sophisticated word for it, only "broken". The pictures it takes now look like this blurry one of Me over here. I have found the camera I would like to replace it with but I have yet to convince my husband that we actually need a new camera. The hints I'm dropping are not working! And when I say hints I mean I'm telling him, "Hunny, the camera only takes blurry pictures now. Here's the camera I want. On the top 5 list of digital cameras with the best features for the best price, it is number 1 and it's only $149.99 at Target." The research has been conducted and I'm ready to BUY BUY BUY. The camera is the Canon A590 by the way.

Since I can't take any new pictures and I want to keep blogging with pictures, here is a comparison of Raquel (as a newborn 4 years ago) and Maxine (currently 3 months old).

This first comparison is Raquel and Maxine (respectively) at the moment of birth:

This second comparison is Raquel and Maxine (respectively) in a carseat at about 1 month of age:

And this is Raquel and Maxine (respectively) at about the same age (1 month old) just kickin' it on a blanket:

As their mother, I can see and have experienced the differences in their features and personalities. It is astonishing the difference in behavior and playfulness the girls have exhibited. Raquel smiled at me, a real smile, when she was 12 days old. Maxine was 3 weeks old when she gave me her first real smile. I say real because fresh newborns smile a lot on accident (when they're sleeping, stretching, pooping) before they actually give you a smile that reflects the way they feel (about you) when they're looking at you and listening to you talk to them face to face.
Raquel was one week overdue, meconium was in the sac (cause for concern), she weighed 6lbs 1.2oz and was 19 inches long. I was diabetic so there was lots of extra amniotic fluid. I think this is why the meconium did not affect her health at all (fluid to meconium ratio was high).
Maxine was 1 week early and weighed 6lbs 7oz and was 19 inches long. I was not diagnosed with gestational diabetes (tested at 8 months) but was glucose intolerant. By the time I was 9 months along I did have some extra fluid so I think I probably was diabetic by then but undiagnosed. Both girls were healthy when born.
Personality-wise, Raquel's was very apparent from birth (especially with 20/20 hindsight). She was very wide-eyed and calm when born and laying in the incubator. I wasn't allowed to hold her for the first hour due to the nurses watching her closely to check for any problems from the meconium. As a newborn she was very bright, coquetious, precocious and seemed to have a wonderful sense of humor. I didn't realize this until I experienced Maxine's more bland personality. I thought Raquel's intuitiveness, funny face competitions and ability to keep up with her parents' in-your-face humor (and even offer us comebacks!) was normal for all babies. Now that I've seen how laid-back Maxine is, it seems Raquel as a newborn was much more expressive and confident in herself. Maxine has taken a lot more time to offer us as much of herself. She has chosen to sit back and watch us first rather than have the devil-may-care attitude her older sister had/has.
Nobody may care but her father and I but I think this is all extremely interesting. And Raquel's attitude hasn't changed, it has only increased in texture and richness. She is extremely willful, defiant, a true comedienne, dramatic, very happy, intelligent and well-spoken. And I'm really proud of her.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tagged by Hektiklyfe: 7 Facts

This is a game. I was tagged byHektiklyfe @ http://thesilentpodium.blogspot.com/ to list 7 random facts about myself. I don't know how interesting you'll find them but I'm quite candid so you should find yourself entertained or enlightened by at least one of these. Everything else about me is just gonna have to be a secret.

1. I have always been afraid of drains, the kind in built-in pools and spas. I cannot explain why.

2. As a child and teenager I took a few years of ballet, tap and jazz dance classes. In my adult years I have taken modern, hip hop and ballroom classes.

3. One time I needed to go poop and I noticed both toilets were clogged (this was at Grandma Emma's house). I couldn't find a plunger so I asked God for help, outloud. I looked down and there stood the plunger.

4. I once lived with a cleptomaniac and a cocaine-addicted pre-school teacher, together. The coke-head turned the clepto into a cokehead, too, eventually. I moved to a new place the day after I found this out.

5. My fantasy is to live in an old farm house with a porch that wraps around, grow food and raise a few small farm animals.

6. I also fantasize about being a 1950s housewife and weighing 120lbs, doing chores in pretty dresses and heels.

7. I was kind of a nerd my whole life until I was a junior in high school. But even then, when I was technically "popular", I still didn't believe it or buy into it. When I dated the most popular and good-looking boy at school my senior year, I remember being at his parents' house thinking, "I can't believe I'm here."

This is the end of the game where I'm supposed to tag 7 readers but I think I only have 2 or 3 readers, one of which already tagged me! So, I tag my sister Samantha @ http://johnsamanthahodge.blogspot.com/ and if you're reading this and you have your own blog, you should start your own game. It's kinda fun.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Jack-O-Lantern Shortbread Cookies

Shortbread cookies are the simplest cookies to make. Only 3 ingredients: butter, sugar and flour. That makes up for the time spent chilling, rolling, cutting and decorating them with icing and candies. I found the perfect shortbread recipe tonight that rendered perfectly smooth dough for a very pretty cookie, well, until we got our hands on them and covered 'em up with junk! I made the cookies. Raquel, James and I decorated them, although James just wanted to eat them without decorating them. So I guilted him into one or two artistic endeavours and then I had to beg him to let me take a picture of him with his creation. I said to him, "I had no idea you had no crafty bone in your body." We laughed. Raquel really enjoyed this activity, too. She made 2 cookies, ate the first one and said the second one was for me.

Just in case you're interested in a tried-and-true cutout-cookie recipe, try this one:

Preheat oven to 325 F


1 C butter at room temp

3/4 C powdered sugar

2 C all purpose flour

Cream butter until light. Add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add flour til you have a soft dough. I recommend chilling for an hour but you don't have to. Roll dough out to 1/3"-1/2" thickness (pretty thick). Cut out whatever shapes you choose. Place cookies on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Cookies will still be quite pale in color but delicately golden on bottom. Remove them from the pan and cool 'em down before you decorate.

Oh, and for that orange icing I made, just mix powdered sugar with a tiny bit of milk until you get the perfect consistency to drizzle but not so much that it falls off the cookie. Add whatever food coloring you want, or none at all. It dries pretty quick so you need to add your little sprinkles or whatever right after you get the icing on the cookie. Otherwise, your decorations will just bounce off.

Friday, October 17, 2008

12 Weeks Old Today

Today, Maxine is 12 weeks old. She bats at objects with her hands. She looks at her feet and hands. And she took a shower today with Daddy for the first time since Mommy was still too sick (had a stomach flu yesterday). She loved it. I have started blowing raspberries on her tummy and she almost laughed at me today when I did it. Almost.

A Halloween Blog Inspired by Hektiklyfe

Inspired by: http://thesilentpodium.blogspot.com/

It has become my favorite holiday. You don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on a list of gifts, you don't have to cook and bake and marinate for days, you don't have to clean your house for guests (unless you have a Hallween party), you get to dress up and be whatever the heck you want to be, you get to dress up your kid(s) and watch them be cute and you get to take a nice leisurely walk out in the cool night air collecting free candy door-to-door (and then see what you got when you get home).

When I was a kid, the earliest Halloween I can remember, I was a rabbit. My mom dressed up as a Playboy Bunny one year (that I remember) so, being the "frugal" mom she was, she dressed me up in my ballet leotard, tights and her bunny ears and tail. I was "Student of the Day" that day in kindergarten in the city of Buena Park. My teacher took a polaroid picture of each student of the day and either my mom or I have that picture but I know it still exists. I was a rabbit more than once.

Their used to be a cartoon in the 80s called The Biscuits. I was one of those characters in 1st grade. I wore pajamas and a cheap mask. Nobody knew what I was.

I was Cleopatra in 3rd grade, heavy make up and all. In 4th grade I was a leopard. In 5th grade I was a pig (pink sweats and a mask). In 6th grade I was again a leopard (same costume). And after that I don't remember what I was.

My sister Susan was once Cyndi Lauper, a homemade version anyways, with one of Mom's sparkly cocktail dresses and crazy make up and hair. She was about 5 years old. I have never seen a picture of that night. My mom was pretty good at coming up with costumes on no budget.

One of my favorite Halloweens was when I was in 3rd grade. My grandparents, who lived an hour away, picked us up from school and took us to their house for the weekend. Halloween was on a Friday. We went trick-or-treating in their 'hood. I thought that was really neat. One of my favorite memories.

Here are a few random Halloween pictures I could find in our collection.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Does Grandma Emma Have a Baby Face?

This is my Grandma Emma holding Maxine for the first time (see how tiny she was?) Some people have said Maxine looks like her Great-Grandma Emma. We found out today, if you cover up her faux-hawk with a hat, she looks even MORE like her! They have more than a cute face in common. They also share the same middle name, Louise. This picture of Grandma was taken on her birthday, February 12, 2006, at a sushi restaurant (we had a ball!). See the resemblance? Raquel went with her babysitter, Alli, and Alli's mother, Barb, to the Atherton Fair today. It's a local little fair they have near us this time of year with games, a petting zoo, some rides, etc, all for a few coins. Alli said there was a $1 toy table and that when Raquel was given the choice between dolls and girlie things and little plastic army men, she chose the army men. (please excuse the unfolded laundry pile)And this was Raquel's dinner. I thought she'd really go for the parfait I made her but you know what? She ate the hotdog octopi first, then the pasta and then took one bite of the yogurt and said she was done. If you want to make hotdog octopi, boil some water, slice the weiner lengthwise down the middle but not all the way (gotta leave a "head") then slice those two "legs" in half lengthwise, put it into the boiling water, watch it immediately take shape and you'll have an octopus with 4 legs in about a minute. 6 legs is possible but I've never done 8.

Friday, October 10, 2008

She Can Sit in her Bumbo!

Maxine is sitting in her Bumbo seat for the first time today! Also, she is learning to like my hotsling baby carrier and even took a nap in it!

I guess she thought the Bumbo was a turlet cuz when I picked her up out of it, she had pooped.

When I Can, I Do

Raquel really digs it when I make special meals for her. They aren't really special in terms of ingredients, just the way I present them to her. I don't have time to make fancy food. Goldurn, some times I don't even have time to make a well-rounded lunch! Thank goodness I always have leftovers to work with. This lunch is just defrosted frozen blueberries (no sugar added) with fuji apple slices, PBnJ on toasted hotdog bun with rainbow sprinkles on the outter edge, rotelle with butter and parmesan and a little canned corn with butter. This is as fun for me as it is enticing for her (maybe even a bit more).
Today is my first day off from work this whole week. By work, I mean my actual paying job at Starbucks. I will have a few fleeting chances to get some housework done while Maxine sleeps at tiny intervals during the day. This blog is being written little-by-little over a couple of hours time, in case you are interested in how I have time to type and upload photos. I have to do this for my own sanity. Maxine is up for many hours during the day which helps her sleep through the night but makes my day seem very choppy and stresses me out by dinner time, some times to the point of just wanting to cry after I get Raquel to bed. Right now it is a quarter after 2pm and so far I have done these things:
  • give Raquel a bath
  • make my own breakfast
  • washed a few bottles
  • work on my Family Chore Chart
  • give Maxine a bath
  • wash/dry 3 loads of laundry
  • vacuum the living room
  • Raquel's lunch
That doesn't include all the time I've spent feeding, diapering, lulling and carrying around Maxine. That takes up the bulk of my day. She's 11 weeks old today. Here's a picture I took of her during a non-fussy moment:

I don't think my husband likes that I blog as often as I do but it does make me happy and I like keeping my family and friends updated. Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Tagged by Samantha

I was asked to post the fifth picture in the fifth folder of my pictures, so, this is it. Jose shot it in March of this year. It's a house in Glendora, CA he had on the market. It was right across the street from a high school on a street called Amelia. Raquel and I were sitting in the car waiting for him to finish taking pictures. We had just had breakfast and it was an overcast day. That's all I can tell ya.
I tag Hektiklyfe: 6th picture in 6th album/folder.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Back to Health

That's Raquel laying down the day after being sick. She laid down for most of Friday, in good spirits but without pep. Today she seems completely revitalized and has a pretty good appetite. This was her lunch today.

Abuela came today to see how the girls are doing after their stomach flu. Here's Max telling me she's two months old, sitting on her abuela's lap.

I have an organizational tip for all your little baby things like bibs, socks, washcloths etc. It's one of those over-the-door shoe holders. I bought this just before Max was born because there is not a lot of space in the room the girls share. I love it. I also like that it's out of sight behind the door. I have filled up nearly every pocket.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Whatever it is, it is contagious

Last night at 2:30am Jose and I bolted up sleepily when we heard Maxine make a gagging sound. Immediately I was back in the hospital that night she gagged and was sent to the NICU, all the fear came back. I flipped on the light and saw she was red-faced and had vomitted stomach fluid. Since she was on her back, it just had no where else to go but back into her throat and in her nose. Then she continued wretching while I held her on her side. This was scary--seeing her heave and not able to control what her body was doing. All I could think of was she couldn't be getting much oxygen during all this wretching. She's just a tiny little thing.
As we dialed the night nurse at Kaiser for advice, Jose received a text message from James in the other room letting us know he had started vomitting, too. So, whatever Raquel had was contagious and I'm sitting here wondering why I haven't gotten it yet. Jose isn't sick either.

Maxine got sick a few more times and then slept a while (that doesn't mean Jose and I slept well). Then she seemed like she was better so I gave her a regular 5oz bottle. It stayed down and she then took a realllly long nap. When she woke up, assuming again she was well, I started to give another 5-6oz bottle but 3oz into it I stopped to burp her and it all came up. I decided to pack up and go to Urgent Care. At this time James was till pretty sick, wrapped up in blankets resting.
Us three girls arrived at Kaiser in Baldwin Park and let me just tell you, their so-called "Directory", the big "map" thing that shows you where to go? Yeah right. No sign of an Urgent Care, only Emergency Room. I headed that way and then saw Urgent Care signs pointing to the 2nd floor. We go up there, it's closed and the plaque on the wall says to go to the other building, 3rd floor, for Urgent Care on weekends and holidays. So we did that and when I get to the 3rd floor receptionist she says, "Oh, go to pediatrics on the 2nd floor." That angered me. Here I am with Raquel, who is not in any condition to be walking this way and that (this place is big), and a sick baby in a stroller. Are they trying to make it as difficult as possible for us to get to the right place? Who ever designed the "Directory" and the signage through out the property sure didn't think about people who can't walk well or have multiple kids or are too sick to walk around lost. It angers me that they designed it this way.
So, Maxine saw the doctor who said she just needs to get small amounts of Pedialyte over about 6 hours and if she doesn't vomit I can try to introduce small amounts of formula. The doctor said we all need to wash our hands more often. Maybe my constant hand washing is what's keeping me healthy. She has not vomitted since before I took her to Urgent Care. Meanwhile, James is still feeling yucky.
On a personal note, I am so glad I have insurance and was able to drive the girls to get medical attention. I'm glad I didn't have anything else going on, that I was free to just be their mom. That being said, I havent' been able to do anything but care for the girls since Thursday and the house is getting away from me. Right now, I feel like I'm never going to be able to get on top of my responsibilities. I don't resent giving all my attention and time to my daughters. I think it just has to be this way for a while. The house is never going to look perfect, the dishes will always pile up, the laundry will never be completely done, my appearance will suffer (my vanity) and I'll never feel really awake. Ok, enough typing and sitting. I have so much to do and I'm already ready for bed.

Friday, October 3, 2008

First Week of October

A medley of pictures from the first week of October for you to enjoy.
Oh, and towards the bottom of this post is the story of Raquel being really sick yesterday. If you're afraid of puke, don't read it.
Maxine in the driver's seat and she's only 2 months old.

A typical lunch for me: Boca patties, fat free cheese, brussels sprouts. Raquel loves to introduce people to her little sister.
The brand new restroom sink/trough at JC Penny.
Maxine is 10 weeks old today, Friday, October 3rd (a week older every Friday).

And then yesterday when I came home from work at 9:45am, Raquel was in the middle of a vomit fest. I don't know what happened or why she was sick but that little girl was miserable and kept throwing up every 15 minutes for an hour and a half. Meanwhile, I'm looking for our brand new insurance cards and trying to get an immediate appointment with a pediatrician at Kaiser in Baldwin Park. I was very stressed out trying to pack the diaper bag, getting Raquel dressed and cleaned up (and trying to comfort her) while I was on the phone with Kaiser (who was having some kind of computer trouble locating Raquel's information). I gave Raquel a big zip-top bag and we head off on the 10 freeway to our 10:45 appointment. When we got there, there was a traffic jam in the parking lot that was almost not moving at all. After looking around and around for a spot for 20 minutes and becoming late for our appointment, I went driving around on the nearby streets and saw signs that said "No parking on Thursday between 6am and Noon". This is when cuss words started flying outta my mouth and Raquel was face down in her barf bag.
Well, we eventually found a spot and got in to see a very nice pediatrician who was concerned enough about Raquel that she ordered an IV drip to hydrate her. I had to explain to Raquel what this was going to be like. She was very scared. She begged the nurses to not do it and when they did she looked at me with her eyes and mouth wide open, breathless from the loud cry she let out. I was holding Maxine and trying not to cry myself. Then she had to lay there for over an hour and we just talked and played I-spy. I could tell she was feeling better.
When we got the OK to go home, Raquel threw up again. Then when we got home she threw up one last time. She had had nothing to eat all day so it was only stomach fluid and Pedialite.
Today she is still not back to her old self yet. She isn't feeling sick anymore, she just doesn't have very much energy and is pretty quiet. But she's happy. The end.