Thursday, April 28, 2016


It's been a doozy. April has been a doozy. I'm ready for May to take over.

The whole family got food poisoning. Thankfully, the girls all seemed to get over it pretty quickly, but it's been lingering for Michael and I. For days. Weeks, actually. Which of course makes me think at this point that it's not food poisoning anymore. We'll feel fine for a day or two, and then WHAM! it hits again. I might have to go get checked for amoebas. That sounds like a fun way to spend my time.

And then we've been sorting through work issues, including some unexpected staff changes. That's been difficult. We make a lot of little decisions throughout our workday, but there are also big responsibilities we have to a team, to our partners, to the workers and the people who are affected by our decisions, both big and small. We grow close to team members, knowing they are on contracts that can and will send them packing long before us. A lot of goodbyes happen living in this context.

On top of all that, we/I have been second-guessing our decision to put Ruby at the school with the girls. After several conversations and back-and-forths, we've decided to pull her back out of the school. The truth is she has accustomed herself well. She doesn't cry when I drop her off, and even waves good-bye. In fact, she's doing really well, from what they tell me. But, at the end of the day, I don't want to lose out on this time of life. Hazel was so little (9 months old) when we got here and it was so difficult to have her in daycare. I don't regret that decision, but now we are in a different place, and what's best for us as a family includes me getting to spend more time with Ruby.
A fun outing with some friends, just me and Ruby.
Photo Credit: Luke Penner
So I'm looking forward to focusing on my girls and soaking up time with my precious Littlest One.
She patted the spot next to her so I would sit beside her. 
She is growing and changing literally in front of my eyes. She's independent and sweet and so loving. And I'm beyond blessed that I will get to keep spending precious moments with her. I only have to look at my other two girls to remind myself just how incredibly fast these first few years fly by.

Thanks to my friend Luke for these fun photos:

What a beauty!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Another Anniversary, and Hazel's Turn

April 20th marks three years ago today that we did this:
Last week Hazel was the niƱa de la semana. On Thursday night our whole household got hit hard with what we think was food poisoning. At one point in the night we had a crying baby, I was changing vomit-covered sheets, and I had to run to the bathroom and throw up myself. We had to cancel our Friday morning snack to Hazel's class since we were all sick at home.

Over the weekend we all started feeling better, and then yesterday morning Michael and I got hit pretty hard with another round of a bug of some kind. Last night we were literally laying on the floor, unable to move, our kids climbing on us and around us, as we counted down the minutes until it wouldn't seem too early to put the girls to bed.

Fortunately, we woke up this morning feeling okay, enough to make pancakes and take them to Hazel's class.
Ruby loved visiting Hazel's class
We love you, Hazel Jane!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Comparison and a Throwback

This picture showed up on my Facebook a couple weeks ago. It's me and Ellie 4 years ago on Easter Sunday (while pregnant with Hazel).
Today I put Ruby in the same dress, and couldn't help but look a little more closely at these two.
On another note, last May Ruby was dedicated at our church. I wrote about it and posted this picture of Ruby with 93 year-old Mario. Mario passed away this week. 
Here's to Mario. Rest in Peace.

Friday, April 15, 2016

15 months

This little cutie is 1.25 (15 months) but who's really counting?

Her absolute favorite place to be is sitting on the counter when I'm in the kitchen. She spends quite a bit of time there every day. 
She really loves to sweep.
And "cook."
And play in her kitchen.
And push her baby stroller around.
We even love the funny moments with her sisters.
She's becoming buddies with her sisters, whom she adores.
She brings us so much joy, and we are so thankful for her sweet presence in our family.
We love you, Ruby Mayana! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Momming It Solo

Last week Michael traveled from Monday to Saturday. Compared to other times he's had to travel, I felt good. I wasn't overwhelmed and the girls did well helping me, playing together. We had our daily routine. I packed their snacks and lunches every night after they were in bed, did the dinner dishes, laid out their clothes so the mornings went smoothly, and all went well. We ate things like french toast and grilled cheese sandwiches and simple stir fry for dinner. It helps immensely to live within walking distance of the school, the MCC office, even our pediatrician's office. And it helps that Ruby is older and not quite as needy.
How I found the girls one night after putting Ruby to bed.
(Playing quietly! Together!)
Of course, I wasn't planning on two of my three girls getting sick and being at home most of the week. It was an unexpected glimpse into my younger two's bond. They got to play together, which is happening more as Ruby gets older. Mostly, they play next to each other, but it's still fun to watch.
The girls missed Michael. Of course I did too. We were  all counting down the days and nights. 

On Saturday morning, we suddenly heard the familiar noise of the pick-up truck pulling up in front of our house. Ruby heard it first and ran to the front door, yelling "Dadda! Dadda!" I wish I had had my video camera out. She was almost in tears with excitement.
So happy to see Daddy.
Their faces say it all.
Oh, and he brought me home a souvenir. 
It describes us well.
We spent the rest of the weekend as a family, being together. We're trying to be intentional about family time, taking advantage of time off to enjoy our sweet kiddos. They're pretty fun.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Addendum to yesterday's post: How to walk 20,000 steps

In case you read my post from yesterday, here were my stats by the end of the day:

I walked 10 miles. I think if I had been trying, as in, I had gone for a run or had done some intentional exercise, that number wouldn't stand out to me. But I don't think I've ever walked 10 miles all out of necessity.

Today I'm assuredly going to get far fewer steps. I took a taxi with my two youngest to a new doctor. It was a helpful visit. Three pharmacies later, we came home with three creams and two syrup medicines. Besides having Hand, Foot, Mouth virus (seems to be a fairly mild case), they both have badly infected mosquito bites. Hazel is obviously allergic to bites. Feeling thankful for access to good medical care and the medicines and antibiotics needed to help.

The funny thing is that both "feel" fine. No more fever, no pain. Besides a lot of itching, they are both their normal selves. So we will be staying home for the rest of the week, not with sick kiddos, really, but normal kiddos with lots of energy and some red bumps.

I took it as a good sign yesterday when we passed by Ruby's school and she started trying to get out of the stroller. I think she wanted to go in. We'll try again next week for a full week at school. She didn't even make it two full days this week due to a fever and rash.
In the meantime, we'll be hanging out at home. She was up bright and early this morning. Here she is, "lounging" on the couch with her cheerios at 6am. Every little noise outside she would turn and ask, "Dadda?" Someone misses her Daddy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

How to walk 20,000 steps in less than a day

Note: This list could be adjusted if one had access to a car. Or a spouse. Both things I don't have this week.

Walk your three girls to school.
Less than 10 minutes after arriving home, receive a call from said school and walk back to pick up one sick child.

30 minutes later walk to pediatrician's office. Arrive to be told he is gone for the day, and is off tomorrow (he doesn't take appointments, so no need to call ahead). Quick moment of frustration and an almost-tear (note: this won't add to your step count). Walk all the way back home.

Leave sick child at home with housekeeper and walk to office. Achieve 10,000 steps by 10AM.

Walk to pharmacy. Buy new battery for thermometer to measure level of sickness in child(ren). Walk to landlord's house to drop off late rent check. While walking, receive another call from school. Another child is sick and needs to be picked up.

Walk home, get stroller, walk to school to pick up second sick child. Go home.

15,000 steps before noon.

An hour later, walk back to the school to pick up third child. Be thankful she is healthy. For now.

At home, lay sick baby down to sleep. Walk outside neighborhood and take a taxi with two older girls to swim class.

After dropping off girls at swim class, walk to nearby coffee shop and buy an extremely well-deserved iced latte. And a bonus donut. (note: this may counteract some of the steps for the day. But who the heck cares?) Enjoy these while watching swim class and be amazed at your daughters' mad swimming skills.

After swim class, walk to play area and wait for taxi.

Arrive home. Congratulations, you've reached 20,000 steps and it's 3:30PM.

Spend at least half an hour combing through the house looking for insurance cards to make an appointment with a new doctor. That puts you at 21,000 steps. You still need to make dinner, and help your oldest with her homework in another language, while holding a fussy baby, get three kids to bed, finally take a shower, and rest those sore, aching feet. Most likely you will walk at least another couple thousand steps before you crawl into bed.

Another option to achieve 20,000 steps: go for a really, really long run.

My only advice: Next time, wear better walking shoes.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Ruby's First Day of School

Ruby went along with our excitement this morning. 
Her first official day of "school." Of course her little gabacha (apron) and uniform were just precious, and we couldn't help but take pictures. I think her sisters were the most excited. 
She went in to the school without much of a problem, and seemed to have a good day.
We are still working on figuring out her naptime at school. They really want me to send a bottle for her to lay down with but I refuse to start a new (bad) habit. Today we sent her cobijita (little blanket) and apparently she did sleep a little bit. The only problem is that since she slept for "un ratito" at school, she doesn't want to take an afternoon nap at home, which lately has been three hours. We all need her to nap.
Waiting in the office after school to pick up sisters.
And of course, she came home with a fever. There's a very good chance that she picked up something Hazel has had and now I have to decide if I need to keep one or both of them home from school tomorrow. While parenting solo this week. The fun never ends. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

What not to text your husband, unless you're really, really sure.

Text conversation between me and my husband:

Me: I think the washing machine is broken. It's plugged in but won't turn on.

Michael: That's a new washer. It can't be broken already.

Me: We might need to get it looked at.

Michael: You sure it's not just one of those weird pause buttons pushed?? I can look at it later.

Me: Nope. We've been playing with it for a while. It's definitely not that. The outlet is fine. It has to be the cord.

Michael: Ok. I'll look at it later. I can't really help from here.

Me: I know. Just telling you I'm not an idiot. 

Michael: I know you're not an idiot. I wasn't there so didn't know how much you checked is all.

Me: It's fine.
That night when Michael came home, he checked the washing machine. And pointed out the red part: "APAGADO," which means "OFF." I had no idea that my washing machine had an OFF button. It's never been turned off before. Even after checking all the connections and the outlets, and pushing all the start and selection buttons that I normally do to start it, even with another person, I somehow missed the bright red button.
So, I guess I might be an idiot after all.

When I told our housekeeper this story, she told me Ruby was the one that turned it off. Outsmarted by my 1 year-old. One piece of humble pie for me, please.