Photog Diego

December 29, 2008

For his third birthday, we got Diego a little digital camera made just for toddlers. We figured it would distract him from wanting to use our camera all the time. It is encased in rubber, has dual view finders and even has a little screen to see the pictures he just took.

Here are some of my favorite pictures he recently took:

And one of the photographer, taken by me.


good luck, bad luck

October 9, 2008

So much news, so little time. The last few weeks feel like they can be gaged in good luck, bad luck terms. First there was the rejection from the Mid-Columbia Symphony I auditioned for. Bad luck. Going to the audition was tough enough. I really tried not to get my hopes up. I felt like “Lucy” from the “I Love Lucy” episode where she tries out for the part of dance girl on Ricky’s show, and all the other girls are younger, thinner, and way better dancers. The girls auditioning before me were younger, talented, and had obviously been practicing with a lot more heart (and time) than I could muster. I really knew I hadn’t spent as much time training as I should, but I wanted to go through with the audition anyway. I hope I didn’t come off like those singing wannabes on American Idol who draw the laughs but are completely ignorant of how much they truly suck.

I know I’m a good flute player, and hearing some recent flute performances have reminded me of how talented I am, but mainly of how talented I was. Or could have been. If I’d kept playing the last few years as much as I did in high school, I might be bad-ass. But I haven’t. Flute has been such an after-thought the last 10 years, that it’s a rarity I play it more than once a month.

Which led me to a big decision. I wanted to sell my flute. I really felt that some young person out there could benefit from having a good flute to kick off their flute-playing ambitions. And I sold it two weeks ago to a college student in Idaho. First year flute student, even tried out the flute in my living room.

It was rough. I got a good chunk of change for it, but now when I get that craving to whip out my flute, there’s nothing there for me to reach for. A coworker recently asked me if I was still selling it (he’d seen an ad I ran in our paper). And I said no. He said his wife has been learning, and is at a point where she could upgrade from her student flute to something more professional. And would you believe I felt jealousy? Like, wait, someone else is learning flute? I’m good at flute! Let me show you!

Anyway, I’ve decided that in a few years, when the boys are well into school, I am going to get a fancy new flute and maybe start teaching lessons. Maybe then I’ll have time to play every day again. Right now, it’s not going to happen.

So I guess the good luck with that is I got a bit of money to buy some nice things for myself and the family. We had a nice streak of good luck with money the last month. Good luck all around. Carlos finally got the money from a retirement account from his old job, and we paid off a ton of debt with it. We got paint so we can make our living room pretty. We got a (used) grill (that needs some parts). And then we both got a little bonus from work for winning journalism awards.

Now the bad luck. I hate UPS right now. A box with some nice clothes I ordered has somehow vanished. I think it got taken to the wrong house. Or it’s likely someone took it off the porch, but really really doubtful. For someone as anal as me, this type of mishap is devastating. I think I lost sleep over it. I”m trying to be humble though. I have so much more than other people. But I really, really wanted those clothes. Oh well.

Last week my grandmother died. Bad luck, although she was close to 100 and not the same abuelita. It was so painful to hear of her passing. It was also painful to see her health go these past few months, so she couldn’t walk or even talk. With her death, I am left without grandparents. But I get to fly down to LA on what would have been her 100th birthday, and see my entire family (all 200 of us) and we get to celebrate her life. That’s the way to go. My grandmother was a beautiful person. I’m glad the boys got to see her before she died. She really enjoyed them and it shows. In the end she even asked me who I was, and when I explained, she said, “oh yes, yes.”

la bisabuela, summer 2008

la bisabuela, summer 2008

I’m easily impressed

September 5, 2008

This revelation blew me away just a moment ago.

Go to the New York Times website, and open any article. Then click twice on any word. The Times’ site has a system that will look up the definition of the word for you, instantly. Even on words like “don’t.” It kind of made my day.

Does it work for anyone else? Maybe I’m hallucinating.

24 hour drive

August 12, 2008

We took our family vacation a few weeks back. Two glorious weeks in Los Angeles to visit family and friends, show off the new baby, and enjoy some time away from work. We took the boys to their first trip to Disneyland, managed to make it to the Comic-Con in San Diego, and got to see just about all our family and friends in the area.

Getting to LA was half the adventure. We knew we didn’t want to fly down, mainly because it was out of our budget. With two kids under 3 years of age, we would have needed to pack car seats, a stroller, the playpen, our luggage, and then rent a car when we got to LA. So driving the 1,200 miles made more sense. But 20 hours in the car is a long time to travel with a 2 1/2 year old and a 4-month-old.

Our strategy was to leave Walla Walla at 7 p.m. on a Friday, take turns at the wheel and drive until we felt too drowsy to keep going. Probably not the safest choice, but the night was the only time we could count on the boys sleeping and us covering the most ground. After loading up on coffee and setting the DVD player up for Diego, we headed out of Walla Walla and toward the Oregon coast, to get on the 5 freeway. Carlos managed until about 12 a.m., and then I took over. I made it through most of Oregon and had to stop at a rest area about 3:30 a.m. Carlos took over again, and we decided to have an early breakfast at 4:30 a.m. The boys rustled out of sleep and were happy to get out of the car in a new place.

We found a Sheri’s restaurant (much like a Denny’s) almost identical to one we have in Walla Walla. I think we were just outside Yreka in California. The breakfast went smoothly, and when we got back on the road the sun was just getting up. We timed the stop perfectly because the boys knocked out once we got back in the minivan, and stayed asleep about another three hours. Then our worst fears manifested. After stopping several times to use the “potty,” to gas up, to nurse, to let Diego run around and play, and to buy goodies to make lunch, we made it to our first destination, Sacramento, at 1 p.m. Luckily we got to stay in a hotel thanks to my awesome aunt Ada, who also cooked dinner for us.

Diego and Rafa chillin' at the hotel in Sacramento.

Diego and Rafa chillin

Everyone slept peacefully that night. We killed time Sunday morning at a park, then started the six hour drive to LA a little before noon. Some more crankiness and way more stops than were necessary, and we made it to LA close to 7 p.m.

I can’t believe we did this drive again two weeks later. More soon…

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?


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.


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.

Carlos and I made a pinky-swear promise the other night to only eat at home until our next paycheck. That will mean two weeks, or about 14 days, of home-prepared meals. The rule will be that if we don’t have enough food to make a meal at home, we’ll go to the store and buy what we need. Usually when this happens at our house we head to a restaurant, then vow to buy groceries the next day. A few days later, we finally make it to the store. But we never seem to know exactly what to buy. We get staples, but then are missing key ingredients to complete a meal. Now we have no excuses. I’m trying to be flexible, though. Frozen pizzas or already cooked foods count, as long as its from the grocery store. I hope we realize how valuable it is to eat at home, and in the end maybe we’ll save some cash.

the window

May 25, 2007

I came home today from a walk with Diego and realized I’d left a window open in the kitchen. No biggie, no one broke in, but we’ve been extra careful about locking our house since we were burglarized a few months ago.

Every time I open the kitchen window I’m reminded of it. The window is large and opens by sliding from one side to the other. There’s a vertical slit in the screen, and a bit of a pry mark, where I think they poked a knife through to see if they could push the window open. It didn’t, because it locks and is also double-paned. Our bedroom window was not locked, and they must have tried the knife-prying trick on it and realized it slid right open. When I got home from work that day, after picking up the baby, I noticed our front security door was open.  Sometimes it would blow open with the wind because we rarely locked it. But it still seemed odd. Then as I pulled into the driveway, I noticed our back gate open. I knew it had been closed. Even as I walked through the back patio, and noticed the bedroom window screen on the lawn, it didn’t really hit me that someone had broken in. Then the back door was shut but unlocked. Again I resisted believing we’d been burglarized. It only really hit me when I walked into the living room and our television was gone. It still didn’t appear like someone had been there. The drawers weren’t emptied out, the house wasn’t a huge mess. But all our electronics were gone. Gameboy, Game Cube, my laptop, our cameras, and the TV.

We did get slightly lucky. We ended up finding our television stashed beside our garage, in a little walkway we’d barely noticed when we bought the house. The police believed one of our neighbors had scared the crooks off as she walked by our house on her way home from school. All of this happened within minutes of me coming home. The way they came in was through the walkway beside the garage, where there was a gate we’d never thought to check that opened up into an alley. We’ve since put a padlock on that gate, and figured out how to lock our bedroom window.

All I can say is I hope karma took care of whoever did that to us. Luckily our insurance helped out with the loss, and we got a little wiser and not so trusting about our house.


May 11, 2007

We might be getting rid of our cable soon. We’ve tried to work with it, and have welcomed some great shows into our lives, but enough is enough. I don’t like myself when I watch television. As much as I welcome the chance to stare at something and not have to think about anything relevant, I am afraid of what the television may be doing to little, impressionable Diego. I don’t want a distracted, hyper child who can’t focus on a lesson because the commercials in his brain are telling him it’s time for a soda, or whatever.

With that said, these are the shows I’ll miss once its gone:


We rented the first season for kicks while it was still in the second season and have been hooked. Each week there are new characters and plot twists.

What Not to Wear

Of all the chick shows I’ve gotten Carlos hooked on, this may be my greatest triumph. There is something so wrong, so annoying, and so admirable about this cute Jewish gal and cute gay guy teaching frumpy women how to dress. Shopping has always been theraputic. Never imagined watching someone shop and transform would be just as satisfying.


That’s America’s Next Top Model to the uninitiated. Sexy models, Tyra’s posing, cat fights, it’s all too sinfully delicious.

teenager in the house

April 17, 2007

There are now tell-tale signs of a teenager having taken over our home. Wet towel left on the bathroom floor. TV blaring while said teenager plays hand-held video games on couch. Unmade bed, clothes strewn on floor, evidence of long hair on ground. All joking aside, having my step-daughter with us is a true joy. It brings a much-needed dynamic to our home and has Diego excited for the extra attention and bonus play mate. I believe he understands the special connection he shares with his older sister, despite the distance between their visits and the 11 years separating them. She’s here on her spring break and Carlos could not be any giddier about it. He showed off some of his “krumping” moves for us on Saturday and couldn’t keep himself from passing gas. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages. But I’m also a bit on edge because I can feel myself going into mommie overtime with extra food to prepare, dishes to clean and clothes to wash. I gave Carlos his first warning yesterday that I’m not going to be the only one on house cleaning duty this week. And I recognize that’s just me being anal. I have no shame in my obsessions.

Here’s to hoping the weather stays sunny and we get outside as much as possible.