Saturday, February 28, 2009

Relishing the Warmth

My in-laws, Miriam and Ricardo, are in town this weekend with my 7 1/2-month old nephew Little Ricky. We made plans to walk around the Rose Bowl this afternoon with all our babies even though I secretly wanted to just stay at home and hang out in our backyard on such a beautiful day as today. I thought myself lucky when Miriam showed up in high heel wedge boots and a skirt. That was all she had to wear. So we stayed here at our house and played outside for a good three hours, just soaking up the sun and talking about our children.
Ricky is a mere twelve days older than our Maxine but he acts much older than that. He is adept at crawling and is getting really good at climbing up on legs and furniture to a standing position. The only area where Maxine has him beat is in the gums--she has those two teeth that are now well in view when she smiles. His two bottom teeth are just about to pop up, you can tell. He was teething the entire afternoon, drooling profusely and apparently in some discomfort. Miriam wanted to soothe his pain so she gave him a teency bit of baby tylenol and that really did the trick. He was calm after that and stopped drooling, too.
Maxine was unusually quiet, actually very serious. I couldn't tell if she was shy or just sleepy. Rosy, Miriam, Ricardo, Jose and myself were all chatty and happy to be together. I think Miriam took a few videos of the kids that I can't wait to see. We got so many cute photos today, it is difficult to select only a few for this post!

Raquel shared her tricycle with cousin Ricky. He liked that so much! He was holding the handles tightly and watching the pedals spin the whole time. I wonder what he's gonna get for Christmas.

Later on we went to my mother-in-law's house for an early dinner. Jose ate quickly and headed to work while us girls stuck around and played with Guapo and the kids for a few more hours. I accidentally left my camera at home for this part of the day.

I love days like today.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

How to Melt Your Mother

When your mother doesn't know what to make for dinner and she decides to grill slices of banana and yam sprinkled with cinnamon, top that with vanilla yogurt, honey and pecans and serve it with cinnamon toast and turkey bacon and then asks you, "Well, how is it?"....Say nothing. Just bring her close to you and give her a hug. She'll say, "Hey, what's that for?" and you tell her, "That's because I love you and I want to say thank you for making me something I like." Trust me, she'll melt in your arms. And if you eat it all except for the pecans, she will be satisfied and not make you eat "those kinda peanuts" she didn't know you didn't like.

And then do your homework.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Not So Sure About School Lunch


(Raquel likes to make this face)
Preschool is still a happy place for Raquel. It has been one week since she started and she's doing very well at listening and getting up early five days a week. Her parents are enjoying this new schedule, too. Jose likes to get up early to take her to school. I get everything ready the night before, lay out her clothes, make breakfast. He gets her up at 6:30, brushes her teeth, dresses her, fixes her hair and off they go to Starbucks for Jose's coffee and then to school where he walks her to the classroom and signs her in each day. I have had to change the way I do things at night as to get Raquel to bed early enough and make sure everything's ready for the next day. But I like having this new routine.
I have noticed she's putting on weight and I'm not exactly sure why but when I pick her up everyday in the cafeteria (that's where the parents go to pick up the kids) lunch is usually something greasy, like pizza or a corndog. That's not how she eats at home. But I know that a lot of 4-year-olds are allowed to be picky and won't eat grilled chicken and brocolli on whole wheat pasta as readily as they will gobble down cheese pizza. So the school must go with the safer choice, the foods that most kids will eat without being prodded. I'm just going to wait and see if Raquel continues to gain like this. The girl is damned when it comes to her genetics and predisposition to get fat. When I was a kid, I remember asking my mom if I would get fat when I was older (she was, at the time, very overweight). She told me I would not get fat and that I didn't have anything to worry about. She was wrong!
Jose had always been "husky" as a kid and now he's technically "obese". Our kids have the potential to be really overweight and I have always been aware of that and concerned about it. This is why ice cream, candy, soda and Happy Meals are rare things in our house. Raquel is very good at eating what she's given, although there have been those phases of pretending not to like chicken and such, which is so frustrating when it happens! She is used to the taste of whole grains and veggies. But she's very smart, too, and if she is eating dinner at someone else's house, she'll act like she doesn't like anything which will result in people feeding her less healthy food. Yes, she's that manipulative! You are all a bunch of suckers in her eyes. HAhahaha!
And now about Maxine...Yesterday after I picked up Raquel from school, the three of us went to the Target by her school to get groceries. It was Maxine's first time sitting in a grocery cart and I had to photograph the moment. I put bulky blankets and toys in the seat with her so she wouldn't slouch too much or hurt herself. She is so tiny in that cart seat! She enjoyed the ride, behaved so well the whole time.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Gifted Weekend

My husband threw me a sweet birthday party Saturday night. My mother-in-law had both girls overnight (for the first time) so we could have as much fun as possible and not worry about waking the girls up with loud laughter or music. We played Pin the Tail on the Donkey, sang Happy Birthday, danced, ate chips and candy, all the usual birthday-party-type things. This was my first birthday party in a very long time. I don't even remember the last one I had. I even got gifts! I thought I was too old for that!
Jose brought home a cake from a local bakery. After I blew out the candle, I took my hand and grabbed a huge chunk of cake and ate it from my hand. I never got to do that before and I really enjoyed it!
Several of the gifts I received did not have a card attached so I don't know who each one is from, unfortunately. I got a really pretty vintage-inspired apron and timer (above) from my friends Kitty and Sean. My friends Jeff and Sara got me a vintage cookbook (Jeff knows me too well!). My brother James and his girlfriend Ally got me a miniature rose plant (that looks SO pretty in my kitchen window). Other gifts: bath fizz/bubbles, a yummy cranberry candle, 2 fancy journals, melamine plates/cups and matching napkin holders, Target giftcard, bath scrubby-thingy and a bottle of merlot. Oh, and my mother-in-law dropped by earlier in the day with a dozen red roses for me. Her late mother and I share the same birthday, February 20th.
Talk about a happy birthday. I felt pretty special. Sure wish we could do that more often.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pretty Baby Things

(vintage smocked dress hand-me-down. the decoration is little pink hens)

In the middle of reorganizing some of the girls' things, I noticed Maxine has a terrible habit of growing out of fancy baby accessories before having a chance to wear them. Maybe, if there is no occasion to wear fancy things, the occasion should simply be a photoshoot? I'll have to remember that from now on. We've been given so many nice gifts and hand-me-downs, I feel they deserve a little archiving, at least. Here, I have taken some photos of special things Maxine will never or may never wear. (leather boots, a hand-me-down from a friend who got them as a gift from actress Abigail Breslin)(another vintage smocked dress from a friend. still with tags) (suede moccasins from a thoughtful Starbucks customer)These little red numbers are actually Raquel's first Christmas shoes. I bought them second-hand on ebay when she was 4 months old especially for Christmas. I have always loved them. Maxine wore them in the mall Santa picture but they were a little too big for her at the time. They are special and I will never get rid of them. I considered bronzing them but I decided bronzing is just for boring old white baby shoes, not pretty bright red ones.

Well, these are only a small part of our stash of fancy baby things. Maybe some day I will find a way to display them on the walls in the girls' room.

Jam and Another Bracelet


In a recent post I mentioned that Grandma gave me several different items and mementos when we visited over the weekend. One gift was this jar of her homemade boysenberry jam. With it, I made a sandwich for Raquel that looked so good I almost took a giant bite but I decided to behave and wait until my cheat day on Saturday to try it. I LOVE getting jam from Grandma! I'm glad she makes it so often and always has a huge stash of several flavors in her guest bedroom cupboard.

Grandma also had found the charm bracelet she wants to hand down to Maxine as a high school graduation present. I get to hold onto it for 17 more years, theoretically. It is smaller than the WWII charm bracelet she handed down to Raquel but it is still very interesting and charming. This piece was a birthday gift to her in 1973, I think from my grandpa. She'll let me know if I'm right after she sees this post. In the pictures you will see a cuckoo clock charm--its doors open when you pull the little finials. And I believe the little girl charm is by Holly Hobbie.This typewriter charm is really cute and the one that looks like a spoon is actually a banjo. My grandma is somewhat of a musician and has played many different instruments over the years. The coolest one she knows how to play? The accordion! She used to own one but I'm not sure she still has it. I better not forget to mention Grandpa also plays music. He still plays the banjo if you ask him to! I have seen pictures of my grandparents' old bluegrass band. They were wearing red checked shirts, all matching. I wish I had a picture to show you. I have gone off subject though!As you can see I will use any excuse to be a shutterbug and a Bloggy McBloggerton, ha!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Teency Weency Turlets!

We woke up extra early today to take Raquel to her first day of pre-school. I was more nervous than her for sure. She was just plain excited, kinda like a bull in the pen right before they open the gate and he busts out and starts bucking like crazy.I had spoken to the teacher yesterday about what to expect today. She said that a lot of kids cry when their parents drop them off the first time. I told her I was pretty sure Raquel would run away from us when we got there because she is so excited to go to school. Turns out I was spot on. Right when we got there, Raquel flocked to the other kids and the assistant teacher and immediately began participating in classroom activites while Jose and I sat down with the teacher to talk about everything. I watched her from where I was sitting (in one of those tiny chairs) and marveled at how she looked like she'd been there forever. The teacher invited me to inspect the in-class bathroom. Everything was tiny! I got a real kick out of that.My sis in law works in the office at the school. She escorted us to the classroom and said she, too, was nervous and excited! She stayed with us and took several pictures which I am SO thankful for as I wasn't sure I was allowed to photograph anything. She got some great shots.When Jose and I were done with the teacher, we tried to say goodbye to Raquel but she only barely turned her head to say, "Bye!" really fast, couldn't care less that we were even there! I'm SO glad she wasn't like me when my mom dropped me off the first day of school. I was hysterical to say the least.

Here she is about to leave for school, carrying her breakfast to eat in the car. It's an 18-minute drive to school. From tomorrow-on her grandma and aunt Rosy will be driving her to school (since Rosy works at the same school) and I will pick her up.

Here is Aunt Rosy escorting Raquel to her class.Assistant teacher introducing Raquel to her classmates.Jose and I talking with the teacher.Sitting in the front row.When I picked her up after school, Raquel didn't have much to say except that she did not get to play on the computer in class and she didn't remember her teacher's name or what she learned today. She was pretty quiet on the drive home. I guess she had a big day and needs time to think about it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ten C's

I've been tagged by Hektiklyfe to play this game...Post 10 things you love/like/enjoy that start with the letter "C" and tag ten people. :) Simple....or is it? Hektiklyfe did ten things with the letter "B" so I decided to do the letter "C". Whoever I tag should probably do the letter "D". I'm only going to tag one person......Samantha!
1. crayons
2. coupons
3. Cheez-itz
4. character
5. coffee
6. comedy
7. California
8. Christmas
9. (The) Carpenters
10. chocolate cake

That wasn't easy. I think I have too many edibles on my list. Your turn, Samantha.

Fridge Detail



Cleaning the refrigerator used to be a tedious job. Uneaten leftovers and wasted produce were a big problem. Now that I cook almost every meal at home, using up all of our groceries and eating up all the leftovers, my fridge is so easy to clean! If you never looked at the shelf surfaces, you'd think it was a nice tidy fridge. But I know there is a sticky layer of dried on food leaks and with that, tons of germs. I forgot to take a before picture of the scum but you know what I mean.

We bought this fridge three years ago and have really liked it. I never had a complaint until today...

That gunk you see is not quite get-able. The plastic frame of this glass shelf is one solid piece. I don't see how anyone can get the glass out to clean the nasty bacteria hanging out in there. So, armed with a paper towel, I kept jiggling, wiping, squeezing and obsessing over this trapped dirt and eventually coaxed some of it out.

Maxine sat in her high chair playing with Tupperware while I worked. I finished and had a snack. She played with those little containers for a long time! Her real toys are getting dull, I suppose. And now I have a really pretty fridge.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Birthday Dinner for Grandma

Grandma Emma turned 85 on February 12th. If her brother Bubs was still alive, he'd be 85, too--they were twins.
Grandma, ready to dig into her Super Nachos.
My dad took us all out for an early dinner today at El Tecolote, a little Mexican restaurant right off the 101 freeway in Camarillo. Celebrating special occasions here is a tradition in my family that dates back to the 1960s when Combo #1 only set you back 75 cents. It isn't fancy by any means but it has been there a long time and holds many happy memories for my whole family.
My dinner: Combo #2: ground beef taco, cheese enchilada, chili relleno. I eated it all gone.
Dad, Debbie and I had Cadillac Margaritas and Grandpa had a Dos Equis.Grandpa had his usual Combo #1 and ate the entire thing. I've never seen him do that!Dinner delivery system: (also notice the salsa dispenser)Maxine woke up when we finished eating. She was scared of everyone, not just Grandma.

It was a long drive and Maxine slept the entire time and didn't wake up until we finished dinner. That was nice for me! Then we all went to Grandma's house to drink coffee and eat cookies and cake. Grandma had a bunch of things ready to donate to the Salvation Army but she let me pick stuff out that I wanted. I took home several LPs, some dishes and a Roomba that just needs batteries--I've been wanting one of those! She gave me another old charm bracelet to gift to Maxine when she graduates high school. She also gave my dad a handmade crib coverlet that was made by her grandmother when she was pregnant with my dad. Grandma has kept so many nice and interesting mementos.

Thanks for hauling us girls in your truck, Dad, and thank you Grandma for letting us celebrate your birthday with you in such a fun way!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Maxine's Montage

This is a video I made for Jose. He really likes John Lennon and he gets really sentimental about being a dad. Hopefully this double whammy will bring a little tear to his eye. I also posted it up on youtube where all my other videos are available, http://www.youtube.com/user/pepeYjuana

video

Monday, February 9, 2009

Almost Crawling

Before Maxine's six-month physical exam last week, I was worried there might be something wrong with her, developmentally, because she wasn't sitting on her own or trying to crawl. All the baby literature I have was telling me she should be doing these things, or at least the sitting part. Our doctor said she's totally fine. And even though it doesn't matter how fast Raquel was at most things, it is normal for us as parents to compare the girls to each other.

The pre-cursor to crawling is usually the "Bucking Bronco". A baby will get on all fours and just bounce without going anywhere, so I've read. Turns out this is true for Maxine. When she got her energy back after being sick she started doing the Bucking Bronco. I was happy to see this and it was so cute to watch!

This morning she looks like she's starting to crawl! This is happening quicker than I thought it would. She starts by putting her palms on the floor with her fingers kinda pointing in towards each hand. This is a brand new development, as before she would only make fists. Then she pulls her body forward with her arms, bends one of her legs and tries to get on her knee, trying to lift herself and move. I'm sitting here watching her do this and cheering her on! I'm so glad my baby has muscles!
Speaking of comparing the girls, Raquel had the strength to crawl but chose not to at this age. I have a picture of her doing the Spider pose at 6 months old but she did not use this as her form of transportation. Instead, she would get herself to a piece of furniture, pull up and cruise (standing up and walking while holding onto furniture). She didn't choose to crawl until shortly before she started to walk. I think she didn't like the feeling of carpet or hard floors on her knees.
When Raquel was still a baby, Jose and I used to hypothesize about our next child. We have always said, "Our next kid is going to have to work hard at things while Raquel will be a natural at everything without much effort." We mean in life, not just in babyhood.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Germs


When Maxine was at the worst point of her cold she was like one of those rotating sprinkler heads you connect to your hose and let water your lawn. She would bury her snot/eye booger-encrusted face in my shoulder/collar area and cause me to have to change my shirt three times in one day. I have been washing things like crazy around here trying to keep Raquel and Jose from getting sick. It's too late for me. However, just as I was going to buy some Zucol from the drug store I opened a package I got in the mail from Grandma Emma. In it was a package of Zicam! She knew about Maxine's illness and she had an extra package so she gave it to me. She knew I needed it!

Maxine is back to her old self today. She's not 100% well but she's acting like she feels really good. Something about her cold made her not want to eat baby food. I have wasted a lot of it trying to feed her and all she does is gag and heave. She used to enjoy it. I'm gonna wait a couple of days before I try again.

Here are some cute pictures of the girls when I was getting them both ready for night-night.