Friday, August 31, 2012

Belly Cast

When I was 36 weeks pregnant with Xavi, Mario and I  did a cast of my belly to memorialize the moment.  It was supposed to be a fun little project but it ended up being a lot harder than we thought...and then it's taken me 2 years to complete!  BUT I finished it this week (a bit of pressure with another deadline coming up on us :))...TA DA!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One Dirty Boy...One Tired Mama

Most days I don't worry about Xavi getting as dirty as he's just necessary to wash before eating and take a tubby every night.  (Today I just hosed him off before nap time because it was hot and he was all sticky.)  Most days I don't pick up until AFTER the little tornado goes to takes about twenty minutes every night to put order back in the cottage.  Most days (especially lately) I am exhausted by the time evening rolls around...and sometimes I take stock of all I do in the day to make sure that I have a good reason to be especially tired.  Mario caught this series of photos to demonstrate one such activity...makes me tired just looking at them.  Enjoy!

  WHEW!  Just one example of daily chores that require wrestling with a very strong, busy, and determined little boy.  Include in this category such activities as changing diapers, getting dressed, putting on shoes, taking a nap, drying off after tubby....but in the end, the smile returns once he is set free.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Precious smiles and days

We found a new "secret" spot to enjoy beautiful beach days in Southern California.  Secret because it appears as if people around here aren't aware of how great it can be...once you get down there.  You see this is a surf spot that has a smaller, rockier beach than others in the vicinity and quite a hike to get down with gear, boards, and baby in tow.  Xavi, however, walked not only down the hill but all the way back up...TALKING the entire way.  I couldn't catch my breath and Mario just laughed at our crazy, strong little man.  
 There is an area that local nudists have claimed as their own...we didn't go to that area but no one was Xavi fully enjoyed the license that our privacy gave him.  The rocks are a bonus to us because he can pick them up, put in his bucket, then dump back out...a la garbage truck...noises and all.    Necessary toys for the beach (and most other trips)?  Digger, Truck, Concrete Truck, Bucket, and shovel....check, check, check, check, check.  We can also just sit and throw the rocks into the surf enjoying the different noises that different sizes make.  For as long as you can take the rocks in your rear end...
 The best bonus is when we try two or three other surf spots and find the one spot where the surf was actually breaking...AND there are just a few others to share it with.  Diego has been going with us most places since we lost Sasha and he has gotten A LOT more tolerant of Xavi's amorous and aggressive "uggs" (hug!).

We are about a month away from becoming a family of four and Xavi gaining a baby brother.  I don't feel quite ready...there are a few projects I need to complete in order to relax these last few weeks (impromptu closet remodel, Xavi's belly cast, and Xavi's birth book).  Mentally, I also know that I'm not quite ready to be mom to TWO little boys AND be a good and kind wife to my husband.  How can I possibly split myself further:  my love, my energy, my time, my chi chis?  I know I will get there...but I do need these last few weeks.  I'll get these last few items checked off my list and make a new one.  This list will simply be my intention not only for this upcoming birth experience but for the next year that will bring it's share of challenges, joys,  ups and downs.

Xavi:  you've brought us such joy, healing, and amazing love.  I know you'll be the best big brother.  You'll always be a bright, shining light in my heart.

Monday, August 13, 2012

One last adventure...Hawaii

We had a chance to meet up with Mario in Hawaii on his way back from his travels to the Philipines and Guam.  It would be just 6 days together in "paradise" but likely our last opportunity as a family of three.  I underestimated how tough the trip would be and feel like I'm just starting to recover from the travel alone.  Plus my lap is growing smaller everyday and this was the last trip with my "baby" traveling as an "infant in arms".
He was good as a busy almost two year old can be...but with an hour to go, I was all done.
In toddler time, an hour is an eternity.

Direct Flight...but Mario was delayed so we had another adventure to negotiate in getting to the beautiful Hale Koa hotel on Waikiki.  

If it looks early, its because it IS early.  4:30 wake up for the first two days...our hotel was right on the beach which made things a lot easier.  

We would get some fruit and a muffin then go see the ocean first thing.  In the afternoon, the beach was too hot and windy for him, so we went to the pool then.  We swam, had Hawaiian shave ice, chased birds, and went everywhere with a bucket.  

Mario surfed most mornings before work so we were all out the door early but met up again poolside in the afternoon.  

The first full day I attempted to go to the beach after nap time...first and last attempt.  By the time I hauled everything to the water's edge, set up, recovered our flying umbrella missile TWICE, then moved us again after the waves ran up over our towels and stuff, settled Xavi in with his toys and snack, applied sunscreen...he informed me that he was "all done" and started to walk back towards the hotel.  Mind you that was only 10 minutes of frustration...I wanted to cry.
I felt like such a failure.

Xavi on the other hand was content to play "BIG Truck...Trashman"...everything would get picked up and put into the "Whoa, big Trash".  Here he is scooping up ice spilled on the grass and putting in this receptacle.  Seriously..he did this for 20 minutes before I was finally able to move us to the pool.  

We said good morning and good night to the giant Koi that lived at the hotel as well.   He walked along this wall and yelled "Whoa...fishy".  If we tried to hold him so as to prevent him from going for a dip, he pushed our hands away.  Very determined and becoming very independent.

Turtles were next door at the Hilton along with Penguins and more "Whoa, big fish"

Another boundary to push

Mario took us to another hotel that had dolphins...but surprisingly that didn't hold Xavi's attention for too long. ..

It was the turtles that he wanted to see more of...

story time with Papa

Our view from the hotel...a few nights we sat out and listened to the live music from our lanai while Xavi slept.  How I yearned to be one of the "normal" people that could sit out at the beach side bar, having a cocktail, listening to music, and having adult conversation...sigh.  It was probably a good thing that I went to bed early every night since my little chirpy early bird roused me without fail before sunrise.  

One night, we had "dinner" with our friends Amra and Ian.  I put it in quotes because I didn't really eat anything.  I did, however,  end up with a child head to toe plus my shirt front smeared in butter and left the table with about a cup of butter spread all over its glass top.  Judge me if you must, but it kept him occupied while we attempted to converse.  A & I were such troopers, not having any kids yet themselves, and I felt as normal as I had since we got there.  

Xavi didn't like to wear trunks in the pool or at the he ended up mostly wearing just a diaper or this speedo like suit.  We did go swim in the ocean everyday...some days more happily than others. Every day at least two people (always a woman) commented on how huge I looked...or made comments not so discreetly about either my belly or...?  Let's just say it didn't do much for my self esteem...but I met another mama, pregnant with her 4th, due in September and she had  a boy Xavi's age.  What a relief and a blessing!  We bonded at the kiddie pool on two different saved at least two days from frustration and tears.  But seriously...weren't most of these women probably in my position at one time or another??  Wouldn't they of all people know what NOT to say to a large pregnant woman?

I had to include this picture because breakfast at the buffet was a daily adventure.  Somedays he ate ok...most days his toys ate well...and one day he grabbed a whole plate of food and dropped it on the floor with a crash.  A sympathetic woman from the next table jumped up to help me since Xavi was in my lap and she could see me know how when you are on the verge of tears it's almost worse when someone helps you, pushing you right past self control?  well, I had to put my sunglasses on and escape with quick apologies to our server.  

The last flight, I was never so happy to get back.  Xavi was the most active he's ever been on a plane...hitting me, pulling my hair, yelling, spilling things...our seatmate took pity on me and to my shock, Xavi went to this grandmotherly saint for a walk up and down the aisle.  I'm so thankful for helpers like this that don't ask but just DO...and save a mom's sanity and dignity for a brief moment in time.  But that brief moment means the world to a mama in need.  I didn't quite know what to do with myself...I watched them walk, and breathed in and out.  

HOME!  Finally home, he was perpetual motion at 11pm...DIGO !  CHA CHA!  BIG TRUCK!  and then he slept for 6 hours and 45 minutes ON HIS OWN.  Our new record.
I had to analyze why this trip was so hard for me when I had such positive anticipation and for the most part, a lovely time.  Why was I so weepy?  Why did a breakfast plate on the floor send me off in tears and runny nose out the door?  Why did a little wind, water, and discombobulation make me feel so defeated?  I figured out as we were leaving (of course) that somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I knew this was our last  adventure as a family of three.  It was the last time my attention would not be divided and when Mario and I might have had some meaningful time together.  But alas, it WAS hard with a very busy boy who was quickly developing a strong independence and a penchant for the word NO!  Nor was I able to "do" some of the things I had always loved to do, especially in Hawaii...I was mourning the loss of simple pleasures like being able to sit on the beach soaking in the sun and surf, read books poolside, look decent and feel comfortable in a swim suit, not to mention hike, swim, surf, even paddle, have a cocktail or beer at sunset, and hold hands or have a conversation with my husband without one of us racing to catch him from running off some cliff.  I am getting excited to welcome #2 to our family, but know that it will further separate me/us from those simple pleasures.  Are we ready?  Can we do it?  With those "losses", however, comes more joy, more love, and more purpose than I've ever known in my life...and for that I am thankful.  We'll just have to make up for lost time in about 18 years.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Taking a friend "home"

We lost Ponch in May after an acute bout of pancreatitis and organ failure.  He was living in Texas with Gramma and Grampa and although they took good, loving care of him until the end, there was nothing else to do but release him to doggy heaven.  We didn't get to say good bye and it felt surreal that he was really gone forever.  No more Ponch hugs or "one eye" moments.  He lived with us just a short time but he had a way of taking over every place (and most moments) that he left a big hole behind.  We missed him when he was in Texas but always thought he'd live for at least 25 years, bringing us many more memories and laughs.  We thought our kids would grow old with him.  But you really never know.  And he is gone.  

We had him cremated and took his ashes with us on our recent trip to Hawaii.  He went on one last hike with Mario, Xavi, and I. Mariner's Ridge is a hike that he did regularly with Mario while living in Hawaii.  There is a memorial for Mario's teammates and it was a special place for them.  And so he went "home" to Hawaii and a special place to remember him.  We may never have another Ponch but I'll always cherish the memories and moments that we had... Including having to LOCK the refrigerator before leaving for any length of time, seeing him sit next to me in the car a vigilant navigator, hugging him and putting our heads together so as to see "one eye" one last time in El Paso, and the way he looked at and loved Mario.  Rest in Peace Ponch.  We will always love you.

Ponch would have wanted us to "party" even in serious we did our best in his honor to have light in our hearts and think of all the things we loved about him.  We imagined him on our hike..lagging behind on the way up but then surging to the front on the way down.  Staying close and looking up at us with a wink and a smile even though he was sure he was not going to make it without a snack or two.  We love you Ponch.  We hope to find your spirit again.