"What we do in this life, echoes in eternity."
Maximus, Gladiator
"Our creator would never have made such lovely days, and given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal."
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Odyssey Part II

Yes, there's a second part because now we're in Missouri, after driving for more than 20 hours. What a drive! But even though it was long, it wasn't boring at all? How can you be bored when you're driving at 2 o'clock in the morning, through the Ozark Mountains fog, and even though you can't see a thing, you can imagine what lays beyond the rails, especially after you see signs that say, "Runaway truck ramp". Very scary. Or when after you stopped for gas and food and bathroom breaks, and started driving again, your little three-year-old yells, "I have to go!!!!" and can't wait a single second, and by the time we pull over his pajamas are soaking wet. Or your 19 month old yells and cries and screams because she wants to nurse, again, and almost collapses for crying so much--and you look back and see her little contorted red face, her supplicant eyes, and no, you can't let her out of the car seat. 
We did stop, so she could calm down, and the children watched "Alvin and the Chipmunks," twice, and "Enchanted," "Cinderella III," "Star Wars V," and a couple "Baby Einsteins." Gorgeous Boricua and I talked and talked, and we had about 10 thermos of mate, we asked for hot water every time we stopped. We found a delicious Amish restaurant in Indiana. It was a buffet, and they had such great fresh food, and it was CLEAN! We loved it. Gorgeous Boy had to try every dessert they had. A guy walked up to where Gorgeous Boricua and told him, "you have a great looking family."
The drive was another Odyssey, but this time, papa was with us, and that made all the difference. The apartments we're staying at are brand new. The pool is in a very nice sunny area, so these last two days the kids and I have gotten more tanned than in the two weeks we were in Virginia. Today we found another fountain, that has like a little river and a combination of pools and waterfalls. It's very shallow, so even little Chubbers had a lot of fun playing there.
I have more pictures, but I'll have to post them another day. We finally got our furniture today, yippee! sleeping on the floor wasn't that fun, and I put "Gladiator" on to have some company while papa and I had mate. As always, that awesome movie, just sucks you in, and I get so immersed in the story. So many wonderful quotes. I'll have to write a post on my favorite quotes from that movie alone. Well, all that to say that it's almost 2 in the morning, and I'm still awake. I guess I can stretch my hours of rest to six; the kids might be to comfortable sleeping on beds, and maybe they'll decide to sleep in? We'll see.  

Friday, June 20, 2008

What do they mean?

I have had a lot people look at me in shock and then say, "You have your hands full!" At first I would smile, and say something nice back. Today though, when the tenth person asked me the same thing I said, "It's actually not that bad, you know!" 
For example today, I got me a stroller I've been coveting for a while. But I finished some work, and I have my own money that I can spend however I want. Still, yesterday, I went to a store to see the stroller, and I was so close to buying it, but I didn't. I came home, and did a lot of research, and I went back today and I bought it! 
After that, I came back home to have some mate with Gorgeous Boricua before he went out to work. The other day I had bought some mini water balloons, and today we went to try out my new stroller, I mean the babies' stroller, and we played baseball with water balloons and had a balloon fight. We got very hot, so we decided to go to the pool. The weather was so crazy and we were actually very cold. I know, we couldn't make up our minds. It was at the pool that a lady with a 5 year-old daughter asked, "What ages are your kids? You must have no time for yourself!" And I thought to myself, "What time does she have for herself, working all day?" I mean, I work a lot too; I went to bed at 4 this morning in order to finish some work, but I also love my life, and I have a lot of fun with my children. Like today, after the pool we were starving, so we walked to P.F. Chang's and ordered carry out. We took our food to the park and ate there, while we watched the other children play at the dancing waters fountain. The children ate all their vegetables, they love Chinese food, and we talked and laughed while we ate. We were only missing papa. We didn't want to finish our evening, so we walked to Wegman's, and my kids saw fireflies for the first time, and I saw their terrified and amazed eyes when I told them those little black things were bats and not birds. We rented "National Treasure 2, The Book of Secrets," which was free because I had a red box code. We came home, took baths, and one by one my angels fell asleep while they tried so hard to stay awake to watch the movie. 
I love being a mom. I don't know why people find it unbelievable that someone would love to be home and enjoy her kids. I have the best job in the world. And I don't get paid with money, with currency, but I'm wealthy. I get to spend my days with the people I love best in the world, and who also loves me back, I do fun things all the time, I read a lot, I research whatever I'm interested in, and the list goes on and on. What's not to love? 

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A day at the zoo

Today was one of the days I want to remember forever and ever. I finally got brave, put excuses aside (like Gorgeous Boricua needs the car!), and took my kids to the zoo. The plan was for us to leave by 10:00-10:30. So yes, we left at 11:00, and we didn't get there until 12:00. The Garmin wasn't working, so I had to use the car navigation system. When we were almost there, the instructions stopped. I kept going around a neighborhood. I asked directions to people; the instructions were soooooo easy to follow, but I couldn't find the zoo! I finally realized the Garmin's antenna was down, so I fixed it, and it took me to my destination in 30 seconds. The kids were so excited to finally be there! And we were hot. But the forecast said "temperatures in the mid 70's", but I felt someone was roasting me! And Chubbers, El Cangri and I were wearing longs pants! At least my other 2 kids can choose their own clothes, and they weren't uncomfortable as they were wearing shorts. Actually, after I parked, cooled down, and started having fun, I realized I wasn't that uncomfortable after all. It was so funny because after we emerged from the parking lot, so worried about remembering in what lot we had left the car, we couldn't find any animals. I mean, there were exhibits right in front of us, but it seemed the animals were having lunch or napping; none were in sight. And then, when the kids started getting impatient, we saw the gorillas. There were four in their exhibit, and we got to see two of them fight. Chubbers was in the mei tei, and kept saying "moo, moo," and El Cangri would say, "no moo, a, a, a, a! No gorillas mami. Mon-key!" After that, the animals starting coming out of their hiding places and we saw: armadillos, yellow little monkeys ("Winnie-the-Pooh", Chubbers said), meerkats, shrews, squirrels, a chipmunk in the wild (it was eating nuts by a path), elephants training and smiling their sweet happy smile, capyrabas, pygmy hippos, zebras, cheetah, sloth bear, red panda, and many others. But we were all anxious to see the real stars of the zoo. The panda bears. There are three: Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and the baby Tai Shan. The zoo has a beautiful panda habitat, and as we approached the beautiful bears, I was so anxious. I could picture the little child in me, being so excited about seeing those magnificent creatures, and I kept saying to myself, "we are gonna see pandas!" But we didn't see any, and then we turned and we saw a cluster of people, shooting like crazy with their cameras, and I made myself look, and there it was, a living panda in front of my eyes. And Chubbers started again, "moo, moo". We spent what seemed like hours learning about our favorite animals. And then of course, we went into the shop. We left we some little friends: Tan-Doo (GB's webkin panda), Kai-Lan (Swan Princess' panda in a purse), Bananas (El Cangri's webkin monkey), and Mei Mei (Chubber's panda). We walked and walked, and while we walked we talked. My babies were sleeping, one in the stroller and one in the mei tei, and my older kids told me all about their future careers as vets and zoo workers. Also, they expressed, in the most vehement fashion, how mad they were that people kept contaminating our planet and killing animals.
We had a wonderful day.
And then it was time to go back home. It took me forever to get out of Washington. That was the other zoo. A zoo of upset people driving, disoriented tourists trying to cross the street, ambulances coming from all directions, traffic lights in the middle of turn-abouts, traffic lights hidden by trees, and a crazy woman with four hungry children who couldn't find her way out of the city. I had such faith in the two navigation systems, the car's and the garmin, that even though I felt I was going in circles, I hoped I would end up home. And yes, all of a sudden, the noises died down a little, and I found myself in the freeway. And we were home!!!!
And now, everyone is asleep, dreaming of panda bears and elephants maybe. And I am looking at the pictures I took today, and realized that there are pictures of animals, but the majority are of my own cubs, smiling, posing, eating, nursing, sleeping. I don't get tired of looking at them. I like going places just to see the light illuminate their eyes first, and then the rest of their faces. How fun to be them! How fun to be their mother!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Rain and peace

It's raining; in fact, it's thunderstorming and today I had the laziest day in ages!!!! We did get up earlier than we have all week; I guess we're back to our UT schedule now. After breakfast we walked to the park, and stopped by the grocery store. We were all soaking wet, even baby Chubbers who was placidly napping in the stroller, but it was so hot and humid. I finally gave in and put El Cangri on the mei tei. He was so grateful he kept saying, "Gracias mama. Estoy cansada." (Thanks mama, I'm tired, which of course should have been "cansado" since he's a boy, but oh well).
Gorgeous Boy helped make the most delicious pizza pan we've ever had (plain old bread slices with pizza sauce and cheese on top), and after that, I rented "Mr Magorian's Emporium" from the cable on-demand, and I drifted to oblivion for the next 3 hours. I did have a certain girl clutched to my breast, sucking hungrily like a newborn, even though she's bigger than her sister at 3 years old (Chubbers is 1 1/2), but still, it was much needed rest. I do feel so guilty that my poor husband is out in the rain, I feel like he should be the one resting, but I'll make it up for him tomorrow, and I'll treat him like a king for Father's Day.
I opened the kitchen door, that goes to the tiny balcony, because of this sweet, intoxicating sound I heard. There were two cardinals on a tree, singing to the world. They flew away, but they left me such a feeling of peace, such sense of contentment that now I have the energy to end the day nicely with my kids. Was it that I received the cardinals' gift because I was in peace, or was the peace the gift they left? I don't know, but I thank them for it. Come back tomorrow little birds, and the day after that!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fairfax Fun

We've been having a blast. A good proof we have way more than we need is that here we live in a small 2 bedroom apartment, with only the basics (table, chairs, 2 couches, dressers, beds. That's it), and just the few toys we could haul in El Cangri's backpack. And we are content; the children aren't traumatized. I bought them a long, long jump rope yesterday, a case of sidewalk chalk and the owner of a toy store gave us about a dozen balloons she was going to pop at the end of the day. I can't describe how much fun the kids have had with these few items. Ah! I'm forgetting the writing stuff: notebooks, pencils, crayons, and books. In fact today I took a picture that summarizes in a nutshell, or a stroller to be accurate, what I need to survive:
  • baby sling, any kind will do, but the mei tei is doing all the work these days
  • my very "green" hemp messenger bag with diapers, sunscreen, bug repellent spray, treats
  • phone
  • a book. Now I'm reading "Romeo and Juliet." Don't get me started
  • SIGG water bottles. They're cute, safe and so useful!
  • the only missing thing is my mate set (it was too hot to drink mate at the park)


So, instead of writing and writing about our activities, I'll let you watch this slideshow--gotta love picasa :)
Incuded are: pics with my friend G's boys, airport and flight odyssey, water fountain, pool, and park. Warning: you might fall in love watching this. I know I do every time I watch it. 

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Oddysey

It did have epic proportions, this moving cross country all by myself with the four children. I must acknowledge here that my parents were a ton of help in sending me off to the airport, with all three very over sized bags plus two stuffed car seat cases. The dogs were taken care of, the children fed and bathed, I was made up and ready to go. So we left a very windy Spring/Fall day in Utah, and started our journey. We flew Jetblue, boy were they helpful!!! They forgave me a couple of pounds my bag was overweight; they overlook a bag of toiletries I had packed in my carry-on by mistake (complete with eyebrow plucker, shampoo and all), they helped me through security ... My children are seasoned travelers, and they were amazing. Even El Cangri took his shoes off before I said anything, and was a total angel. My little Chubbers, being the vivacious toddler she is, just wanted to run. Thank goodness for the stroller and my heaven sent baby sling. I just love it! The first leg of the trip was painless. Except that when we had almost made it to our destination, El Cangri complained of a stomachache, and I immediately gave him the little white bag, and he threw up in it. He didn't even soiled his shirt (he was so worried he had gotten dirty!), and nobody knew he had been sick. When we deplaned and gave the flight attendant the bag, he was so surprised he hadn't even noticed when he was only sitting behind us the whole trip! 
While we waited for our next flight, the red eye that would take us to papa, we had a sandwich that to our surprise was very good. It seemed that my Cangri's problem was airsickness and not a bug, and I was so grateful for that. We ended up waiting 4 hours instead of three because our flight was delayed. But we watched "Alvin and the Chipmunks" on my computer, and the 3 kids had their Nintendo DS's to keep them entertained, and books! We read also. On the plane we had a row with a ton of legroom. We were on row 2 (we didn't have to pay extra!), and Princess and Gorgeoous were on the row across the hall from Cangri, Chubbers and me. A young guy sat beside Gorgeous, and I could tell he was so nervous? worried? because he kept trying to make small talk with my son. Gorgeous kept looking at me and rolling his eyes. I had to laugh when the flight attendant started doing the safety demonstration before take-off, and the guy handed Gorgeous the safety leaflet. Gorgeous just stared at it; the guy took it back and put it away. Hahahaha!!!!!! Another guy sat beside Cangri and me. Cangri was in the middle, and I held Chubbers. I can't feel my arms today. That baby kept moving restlessly because she's not used to sleeping in my arms. And every time I fell asleep, my arms would give out. So I had to fight to stay awake so I wouldn't drop my baby. I also wanted to keep an eye on the kids, and Cangri kept wanting to hug and get a hold of the guy sitting beside him. Both men, were so gracious about sitting beside us, and my children were very well behaved. 
We arrived; Gorgeous helped me with my rolling bag, and Princess carried her own rolling bag and El Cangri's backpack. He said "es pesada!" (it's heavy!). It only contained his playmobile and Nintendo. 
At the luggage claim carousel, we met papa. The older kids run to him, and El Cangri kept running around them to find a spot he could get a hold of papa. Then Jeff picked him up, and even when he had to put down El Cangri, our little boy kept clutching his leg. He was not going to let go! My Chubbers kept squealing for papa to hold her. He did and she kissed him over and over while she chanted, "Who loves papa? ME!!!!!!" 
We all rested at the apartment which was so dirty! But I didn't have the energy to start right away. I finally got up a couple of hours later, and we went shopping. It was Puerto Rico all over again. Cleaning supplies, vacuum cleaner (yes, no vacuum cleaner after 2 months in the apartment), and food. We made the unavoidable trip to Wal-Mart, and then we went to the grocery store, Wengman?, I don't recall the name. But I loved that store!!!!!! The produce section was incredible. They had a section for mushrooms, with a ton of variety, olives of every kind, fruits and vegetables from all over the world. They even had malanga and yucca! A whole display of only feta cheese. Delicious fresh bread, all kinds of hispanic foods (by Hispanic read Puerto Rican), and believe it or not ... yerba mate!!!! Organic to boot. I had brought my own, but it wasn't the kind we like but it was the only one I had at the moment. So I bought yerba which is delicious, I'm drinking mate right now, and a rotisserie chicken and tons of fresh real food. 
We came back to the apartment, and I made pesto pasta and salad with the chicken. We were all satisfied, and while the kids got wild and used their energy I got to work. It took me two hours, but I cleaned every part of this little apartment. Jeff said, "It looks like home." And I know what he meant. Not the physical aspect; you can't compare our 5000+ square feet home with this two bedroom place. But the place was clean, it smelled good, there was good food, and the kids were laughing in the background. This is what I do best; this is my passion in life. I can make a home for my husband and my children anywhere we are. We don't have the toys, the space, the luxuries, but we are together. That is real happiness.  

Saturday, June 07, 2008

One more day

So every time, before I write a new post, I check my favorite blogs, Catherine's, Beck's, Aline's, Tamra's; I visit their links, go to Stephanie Meyer's website, Mothering... After a couple of hours, I don't remember what I wanted to write about, or my ideas seem so flat compared to the writing of the talented writer's I just visited online. But all day, my mind is creating poetry. When I look at my kids, or have a flash of inspiration, I instantly think "I'll post that tonight!". It's way past my bedtime, but I had to write tonight. I'm tired and really excited this time because tomorrow we're leaving to see Gorgeous Boricua, my husband! All week was spent planning what to pack (luckily we're flying JetBlue; they still allow one free piece of luggage), packing, taking the dogs to be groomed, shopping, going to the E.R., getting my nails done, soccer camp. What? Are you curious about the E.R. visit? Here's the tale I wanted to tell you all day: 
Today we spent a wonderful morning with my dear sister-in-law. She's married to GB's older brother, so it's always a ton of fun to talk about the boys. In spite of their age difference (10 years) they're so much alike!!!! The children had a blast playing with their cousins. V's younger boy is 9, and her youngest (a girl) is 7. Her older boy K is an awesome cousin. He's 15 (?) and loves to entertain the younger kids. I think my Chubbers has a little crush on him. One day I'll fulfill your "wildest dreams" (1) and tell you about my crush with my cousin when I was little. Oh, but I digress... Well, they actually came to pick up our dog Dandi to babysit her while we're gone. Aren't they awesome? After we laughed, ate lunch, and they left, my Beautiful Boy was getting Coco's (our other dog) stuff from the yard. We were taking him to my mom's. I heard a shattering noise, and nothing else. I froze in my kitchen, waiting, I don't know for what. Maybe for a "mamy help" or something. But my baby didn't say a word. I looked outside, and there he was, in his own universe, staring at the broken ceramic dish and his bleeding foot. "What happened? Are you hurt?" I must have said the right words because he woke up from his reverie, and started crying. He walked and left a trail of bloody footprints. I carried him and sat him on the counter. I realized he needed stitches, and maybe a, gasp!, vaccine, and called who else?, my dear neighbor to please come watch my children while I took my firstborn to the E.R. He was terrified of going to the hospital, and he only calmed down when he realized we were just going to the Urgent Care clinic by Wal-Mart. He needed 3 stitches. No broken toes. No vaccine (the Dr., an older man,  said he's never seen a tetanus case in all his career). No soccer camp today and no sports for a week. No pool either. But Gorgeous just kept crying, and finally in a thread of voice, with anguished brown eyes, he asked, "Why did it have to happen the day before we left to see papa?" So there it was. He thought we wouldn't be able to travel. His father reassured him over the phone, and he relaxed. But he stayed so emotional throughout the day! After pizza and banana splits I took everyone to my mom's so I could go to Target to get a couple of things I needed. I got him the latest "Magic Tree House" book. He cried of happiness when I gave it to him, and he declared, "Tomorrow on the plane I'm not playing Nintendo! I'm reading this book!" He's truly my son after all. Braver, nobler, happier, but a little like me after all. I want to be more like him. I least I love to read too. I'm getting there. 
So there's my story for the day. I'm gonna finish uploading my audio-books to the computer so I can have them on my ipod. We're obviously going to the end of the world. Both my carry-ons are crammed with books (from "The Motherly Art of Breastfeeding" to "Romeo and Juliet") and cameras and ipods. I decided to leave my yarn and knitting needles behind. But what snacks? More diapers? What else do I need? I'm sure I'll think of it and pack it just in case, and pay $200 of extra luggage. I do it every time. 

1. The quote if from "Napoleon Dynamite". One of the silliest but funniest movies of all time.

I haven't provided links. I'm too tired/lazy tonight (this morning) but you can find the blogs on the side bar, and Mothering is just mothering.com, and Stephenie Meyer is just stepheniemeyer.com. Ahhhh! I just thought of Edward...

Monday, June 02, 2008

My baby is 18 months!

I know, the quality of the first pic is not good at all, but for some crazy reason I don't have her new pics on this computer. Oh well... Did you notice the platform shoes she's wearing? She's my little diva!
Officially she was 18 months last week, but with so many things going on I didn't get around to posting it. I just watched her birth video for the very first time today. My doula had told me that some women never watch their birth videos, and I know why. I was afraid of feeling embarrassed by what I saw. Well, I had the surprise of my life because it was such a peaceful birth that watching it filled me with strength and determination. In the video you can't imagine the struggle I had in my mind. During some minutes I had the temptation of letting go, of losing my mind and my self-control. But I knew that if I gave way to this impulse, the experience wouldn't be what I had planned. Chubber's birth was one of the greatest achievements of my life. I loved my midwife, her assistant, my doula, hypnobabies and my husband, giving me their trust and support. I wish every woman may have the opportunity to experience an all natural birth. Of course, it doesn't mean that going natural makes you a better woman; in my case, it showed me what I can do if I set my mind to do it. And seeing my baby, so tiny, not even crying, just gazing around her to the world, just filled me with happiness that she's now a beautiful lively little girl. I'm also a little sad because my tiny baby girl is no more. Time for another one? No, just kidding. I loved having my baby at home, and be surrounded by my family at such a sacred moment. A new person was born of me. How cool is that?