Teens and toddlers

February 22, 2008

Having a 13 year old girl and 2 year old boy in the house makes for an interesting dynamic. Luckily teens and toddlers aren’t too different when it comes to certain things. They like apple juice and apple sauce, ice cream, Nutella…anything sweet, really. They like to explore and experiment, want to be independent but also to be taken care of, and to be guided without being smothered. Our teen and toddler can also be quite strong-willed, stubborn, temperamental and prone to overreact.

What I love about them is how intelligent they each are for their age; their silliness and confidence; their contagious energy and sense of adventure.  And how imaginative and creative they both are.

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Diego and Itzul.

Carlos turns 36

February 22, 2008

My guy is wearing his age well, and doesn’t look a day over 30, so I’m confident he won’t be terribly upset that I’m focusing on his latest birthday milestone for my blog.

The timing of his birthday wasn’t great this year, as it came the month before I have the baby and will be taking several months off work. His birthday present was a new cell phone, a nice one, just not the Blackberry Pearl he really, really wanted. Next year will be better. Or maybe Santa will bring you a Wii?

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At work, each coworker gets assigned someone for their birthday. Carlos lucked out with our coworker Sheila. Not only did she bake goodies, bring fruit and muffins, and brew coffee for us, she marked his birthday with an homage to his favorite basketball team.

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That night a few friends came over to eat sopes and enjoy a little cake. Diego thought it was his birthday and enjoyed blowing out the candles with his daddy.  It was a nice night. Of course the party can only last until it’s time to get the toddler off to bed. Not bad for a Tuesday though. I’m thinking the real party will be when the baby is born, my parents are in town, and Carlos and I can have a child-free night to ourselves.

countdown to baby: 5 weeks

February 19, 2008

I know I’m getting close to having this baby because after my doctor’s appointment tomorrow, I have to start going every week. I’m officially due March 21, but given that Diego was 2 weeks early, we’re getting ready around the house to welcome little Rafael Eduardo.

In case there were any doubts I’m with child at this point…. me-pregnant22.jpg

This is me a few nights ago, forcing myself into a non-maternity shirt. Once this baby is had I am considering burning most of my maternity wear, the five shirts and three pants I’ve worn exclusively all winter.

I got a great deal on a swing/cradle that I think will last us most of the first year. Today I put it together — all by myself! — and it’s now displayed in our living room:

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Finally there is the “nursery,” which is really our bedroom. Our room served as Diego’s nursery in Burbank until we moved to Walla Walla and he got his own room. We have a lot more room to share with this baby, though, probably twice as much. And by the time he needs his own space, we might be looking into a bigger home with a room of his own. Or maybe just a spacious room for the two boys to share. So here is Diego’s old crib and bedding, take two:

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There were only a couple of big-ticket items I needed this time around: a double stroller (check), a cradle swing (check), and a changing table/dresser (uh-oh).

I don’t have a place to put the baby’s clothes yet, and I think clearing out one of our dresser drawers will have to do until I find an appropriate changing table. For now, we’re going to use the play pen that we rarely used in our old apartment because there simply wasn’t any room, because it comes with a changing space!

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I’d say we’re pretty close to being ready. Just have to wait for the little guy to be ready also. Hopefully one of my next posts will be pictures of our latest addition to the clan.

ode to donnie

February 15, 2008

A few months ago, the teenager showed up at our house nuzzling a tiny kitty she and a friend had come across. The cat had apparently survived a house fire, or was found under a house that had burned down. Teary-eyed, she begged us to keep him. Being a few months pregnant, I had mixed feelings from the start. We’d been talking about getting a pet, but I had hoped we could wait until after the baby was born to get one.

There we were, face to face with the question. We told her how unfair it was to put us in that situation. She and her friend wanted joint custody of the kitty, switching off every week. We said that wouldn’t work either, that it wouldn’t be fair to the cat (and would be a messy custody dispute should the girls’ friendship waiver).

So we took in little Donnie Darko, or Donnie. Diego loved him immediately, and experimented poking his face and picking him up by the tail. We saw an opportunity to teach our 2-year-old how to be “nice” to a pet and what is “not nice.” (Like the tail flinging).

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As Donnie grew, Diego’s toddler influence must have taken over. Donnie became a rambunctious kitty, loving to paw at you and nibble where he could. A few times, he jumped up and swatted playfully, catching Diego’s face and leaving my 2-year-old crying and not understanding the kitty game.

Now, with several months gone, an exhaustive attempt at conditioning with a water bottle, and a good nail clipping later, Donnie is as crazy and wild as ever. Our attempt to domesticate this stray has failed completely. He’s a great kitty, but his eagerness to swat and bite to play has shot my nerves. I had to tend to Diego’s wounded face one too many times. With a newborn joining us in a month or less, I had to put my foot down.

Donnie needed a new home.

Today we’re heading to a no kill shelter where animals are placed in “foster homes” until an adoptive family can be found. The teen still really wants a cat, and we’re all sad it didn’t work out better with Donnie. I think an older, mellow cat would be a better fit for our household.  A nice cat just looking for a good home and less inclined to play with an infant or torment a toddler. I’m sad to see Donnie go, even though I complained the most about him. I hope we did our best raising him, and that he finds a home that will be good to him and let him be the wild kitty he longs to be.

stroller love

February 13, 2008

After weeks of searching for the perfect stroller for a newborn and 2 year old, I will soon be the proud owner of this:

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A friend recommended the Phil and Teds sports buggy. It’s a single stroller with an attachment for another child. So it’s two strollers in one. Diego’s been eyeing the Jeep stroller at a local store, the one with the steering wheel and  horn. I know he would have preferred that stroller, but I can’t imagine pushing Diego in a single stroller and carrying the new baby around town. Slings will only work for so many blocks before you just want the baby to learn to walk already. We’d narrowed down the stroller dilemma to looking for a tandem (not side by side) stroller…and that’s where we exhausted our list. Did we want high end, to get good wear out of it, or cheapy, since it would probably be large and complicated to push around anyway, and last us maybe two years tops? I thought about getting two strollers. I thought about doing the single stroller plus sling thing for a while.

This was a bit of a splurge for us, but we’re going to make it work if I have to velcro Diego to the seat to keep him still. I think he’ll adjust to a new stroller. The new baby won’t get much of a view, as a coworker pointed out, but he’ll be small. He’ll get over it. Either way, it’ll be an improvement from our current stroller, which has been dying a slow death this past year, is permanently reclined and catches my fingers whenever I fold it up. It should make a nice bonfire.  Or maybe I can sell its parts for cash.