Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Sticky Situation

Jo is not one to follow directions well.  She is positive that at her ripe old age of 3 and a half, that she knows far more than her mom or dad will ever know. 

Today was one of those days where she realized that she really may not know it all just yet.

Elizabeth started soccer practice today, so Jimmy and I loaded into the car with Gabriel and Jo, and took Renee, Delmi, Annie and Elizabeth to the field to practice while we went to the grocery store with the little guys. 

One of the items that was on our list was apple juice.  We get the frozen kind so we can put it in a big pitcher and water it down quite a lot.  Jo was sitting the back of the cart since Gabe was taking up the baby seat part, and she was organizing all the groceries that we put in the cart.  Every once in a while, I would see her put the corner of some bag of something or another in her mouth.  I kept telling her to stop since the packages were dirty.

When I dropped the frozen can of juice in the cart next to her, she took it in her hands and said, "Mommy!  Look!  It's so cold!"  I know, Jo, you're right.  Put it in the cart so you don't freeze your hands.

The next thing that came from her was "Mommy, this can is so sticky!  Watch!"  and she touched the tip of her tongue to it quickly and it lightly stuck to the can.  Don't do that, Jo.  The can is dirty and anyway, your tongue will get stuck and hurt.

Then I turned to get milk out of the cooler, and the next thing I know is that blood is seeping out of Jo's mouth and she is screaming! 

What happened!?!??!  

That is what happened!  She stuck her tongue on the can and couldn't get it off and when she pulled it off, she left quite a lot of skin behind!

So, then she is sobbing and wants a band-aid (one of those words!) and has her hands clapped over her mouth so it looked like I had just smacked her, which I promise!  I didn't!   

But you should have seen the looks we got walking through the store with her sobbing and saying 'I won't do it again!  I promise!'

...and I'll bet you she won't!

Poor Joey!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Getting Ready for Spring

I know that I am getting a little bit of a late start and that I should have been planting my seeds a while ago so that they would be strong seedlings now and ready to plant in the garden, but honestly, there just isn't enough room in this house to put them where anyone could tolerate them for any amount of time.

So, this weekend (before Gabriel took his trip to the ER) Jo and I went to to Lowes and picked up some seed packets.  I have never dealt with seeds before in this garden.  I always just got the seedlings from the garden center where I used to work and went from there.  But this is the first year that the garden center didn't open up because it was run out of business by the Lowes, Home Depot and WalMart nearby, so I decided to give it a try. 

I only had a certain amount of money, as dictated by the butt-head, so I decided that instead of buying seedling pots, I would make my own out of newspaper.

I actually ran across this on another blog, but I can't remember which one, and try as I might, I can't find it again.  (So, if this idea was off your blog, please accept my apology and let me know so I can link to you and give you the credit!)

Anyway, this is how you can make some really great little pots that then you can plant right in the ground when it comes time to plant!

I showed my mother-in-law how to make one and she got all excited because I had gotten her some cilantro seeds, so she just started whipping right through them and made a whole bunch!

All it takes is a sheet of newspaper and a soup can:
Take the newspaper and lay it flat.  Then fold it into fourths the long way.

Then lay your can on the folded paper with one edge of the can lining up with one edge of the paper.

Next, roll the paper around the can, being sure to do it loosely enough because you are going to remove the can later!

 After you have rolled the whole strip around the can, it will wrap around several times, secure the edge with tape.

Next, set the can up on its end with the extra paper facing up toward you, and fold the paper down over the edge of the can like you are wrapping it like a gift.

Secure this with a piece of tape, too.  It doesn't have to be pretty, just relatively flat since this is actually the bottom of the pot.

The, slip out the can and there you go! 

A cute little inexpensive (free!) biodegradable, recycling project! 
  That's Jo's pansy plant she brought home from Sunday school...no, the seeds didn't sprout that quickly!

And these are the seeds I am going to try this year.  I know, I'm not very brave.  I think that we are going to get our tomatoes as seedlings this year.  I just need to see how all this works out for us!  I have never grown potatoes or carrots before.  Jo wanted the carrots and my mother-in-law wanted the potatoes, so we'll see what happens! 

Next is making the plan to see where all this will fit in the yard!

I'll keep you posted.

And lastly, a picture to warm your heart:

Oh,  no, wait...that isn't it...

There it is.

I was working this afternoon and I looked up from the computer and out the window because it was strangely quiet outside and LOOK!  They are together!  Without arguing!  This is unheard of!  

Anyway, it is times like this that make me realize that as much as I want to get my office out of my house and reclaim my living room, I also don't want to leave because I don't want to miss the little 

moments like this

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Relation? Christian

Gabriel ended up in the hospital this Saturday.  He was wheezing and really having a hard time breathing along with a fever and some vomiting, lethargy and lack of appetite (which for him may have been the most worrisome thing!).   But for us, it was scary to see him not being able to take a good breath and to be able to hear him struggling for air from across the room.  And it wasn't like a congested stopped-up nose kind of struggle, but something further inside that was constricting his airway. 

So, we loaded the poor little guy up in the car and hauled him off to the local INOVA emergency clinic.  It was great because there was no wait at all so we walked right in and started getting his paperwork filled out.  Jimmy was in charge of the papers while I held Gabriel on my lap and the nurse took his temp and his vitals. 
Then we were shown into the little curtained cubicle where you wait to see a doctor.  The doctor came quickly and I held Gabriel again while they hooked him up to a nebulizer to help clear his airways. 

While I was doing this, a nurse came and took Jimmy out of the cubicle to have him finish filling out the papers.  The he returned and the doc left and we dealt with crying Gabe with an elephant mask over his little face breathing in the vapors that would help him breathe.

Once that was done (it took 15 minutes of pure crying!) we waited again for them to come and get us to do the chest x-rays to see if the little guy had inhaled something or what exactly was going on in that little chest of his since he still had a wheeze and was struggling to fill his lungs.  We had to take his little shirt off and I sat his little tiny body on that huge table designed for an adult and he sat against a plate and we were both given the lead aprons, only his was much smaller.  I had to hold his little arms up in the air so that they could get a good shot of his chest and then I had to rotate him and do it again.  He was crying and just wanted me to pick him up and hold him.  He was so little and vulnerable in that big room with the big table and the whirring machines, and I couldn't get my apron off fast enough to grab him up and cuddle him on my lap again.

When he finished that, he was definitely feeling better, but we were still concerned that he had not eaten or drank much all day, so the nurse let him pick out either graham crackers or Teddy Grahams to eat (he chose the crackers.  Much more crumby, of course) and some Pedialyte to drink and we were back behind the curtain trying to get him to drink as much as we could so that he wouldn't have to get and IV.

He did very well and since he was breathing better and ate and drank, he was full of energy and started to run around the ER.  The doctor came back with the diagnosis:  Gabriel has an ear infection and the beginning of pneumonia, but she gave us a prescription for a round of antibiotics which she said would clear up both. 

Now he is home and after 3 doses of the antibiotic, he seems to be feeling much better and although he is still a little wheezy, it is not nearly as bad as it was before.

Then Jimmy admitted something to me: 

He said that when the nurse called him out of the cubicle to fill out the paperwork, the nurse went through all the information necessary:

Child's name? Gabriel
Allergies? No
Medications? No
Your Name?  Jimmy
Relation? Christian


Relation?  Christian. (Why are they asking me this?)

No...realtionship to the patient.

Oh!  Father.

And Jimmy told me that he was embarrassed that he answered that way because he had not understood the question.  He said that he thought the nurse had said religion!

But then I got to thinking in 2 ways.  What is really the most important question to be asking in the hospital?  What is the most important thing to tend to?  Which is more important?  Physical health or spiritual?

But then the other thing that I started to think about was that yes,  Relation=Christian.

That is the most important relation that we have.  Everything I am and everything my children are can be directly attributed to God and His relation with us. 

He is the one that gave me the calm to not absolutely panic when my young son could not breathe right.  He is the one who helped me hold him calmly and reassuringly so that Gabriel felt comfortable to not scream the whole time and to allow the nurse to show him his snack options and to eat and drink calmly.

And this relation of Christianity that I carry around with me helps to me have better relations with other people.  I am not in this alone.  I don't have to face relationship stresses by myself because I have my relation with Christ.

So, Jimmy, don't be embarrassed.  You are right and you should not be ashamed to shout it out.

Relation?  Christian!

Friday, March 25, 2011

In Other Words...

When we first started together, Jimmy's English was not as good as it is now, and he would read English words exactly as they would be read in Spanish rather than remembering to follow the rules of English pronunciation.  (Hence the word 'nuts/'noots'.)  A lot of these words have stuck with us and our family even now that he has learned more and can read English much more proficiently.  

I do believe that my favorite of our 'Jimmy words' is the word 'budget'.

One of the things that Jimmy and I do together monthly along with the Family Meeting, is to plan our family's monthly budget.  Jimmy and I really do try to control our budget in any way that we can (hence the home-made haircuts and home-made yogurt).  We have both been blessed with good jobs, but in this D.C. area, it is hard to make enough money and still be able to spend the type and amount of time as a family as one would want, and it often seems that we are sacrificing income for family.  Because of this, Jimmy and I make a budget every month and spell out how and where our money will be spent at the beginning of the month and really try to stick to that plan for the month.  We believe that this is the best way to be the most responsible with our money. We also use it to teach our children the value of money and that everything we have is a gift from God and must be used wisely and according to His will and plan for our family and for  reaching out to the people and community around us.

If you look at this word, budget, from a Spanish point of view, you see the word 'bud' and the word 'get'.  Well, the 'd' in Spanish is softer than our 'd', more like a 't' and the 'g' is pronounced like an 'h' when followed by and 'e'.

So, you put that together, and you have the word




Purely accidental, and we do not generally allow the word 'butt' in our house (we have other more fun words for that like rear-end or fanny or pompis, nalgas or trasero...so many to chose from!), but in this case, there is no other word that really gets down to the bottom of the meaning of the word budget!

Every month, I sit here at my computer and Jimmy drags his chair over and we spend some time going over the butt-head.  For us, doing the budget is not often a fun thing.   It is usually designed around self-denial and sacrifice, which are really not my favorite words even though I know that in moderation, they are a very good thing.

And Elizabeth will be told that, no, we can't get that because it's not in the butt-head, or yes, we will work it into the butt-head for next month. 

I was reminded of this word because it is nearing the end of the month and we have turned in payroll hours so we know what income is coming so it's time to figure out how to spend it best. 

So, c'mon, Jimmy.....

It's time

to do



 (You only made what this month!?!?!  Let me see that!  ARGH!!!  This whole butt-head thing is such a pain in my tucus!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Cut Above

My husband is a very brave man.  I mean, really, really brave.

He let me /this/ close to his head with an electric trimmer!

I am not sure I would let me close to my head with an electric trimmer, but then again, I have long hair.
Anyway, Jimmy and I are always looking for ways to cut back on the budget, and we figured that if we invested in an electric trimmer, we would recoup the money very quickly at $20+ per month on hair cuts for Jimmy and even more for soon-to-be hair cuts for Gabriel.
This is what we started with.  I was a bit nervous.  I have only done this once before, and this is what we ended up with that first time:

So you can see my trepidation.

But, Jimmy trusted me once again, and I set to the task.  First I had to evaluate the situation
And I realized that it really may be hopeless, but I was brave and forged on ahead.

 (and no, I'm not pregnant, I just look abnormally large in that photo.  I think it's the way I'm balanced on the chair)

Then I took stock again,
and I realized that there was still more work to  be done
 Annie was quite shocked by the turn of events.

But I persevered,

and finally saw all that I wanted to see fall off his head and into the sink

It was a job well done!

If I do say so myself.

He certainly does clean up well, doesn't he?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Incredibly Happy Birthday

Monday, March 21, was Gabriel's 1st birthday!  I can't believe how the time has flown!  It seems like just yesterday I was preparing for his arrival and now it's been a year!!!!

But our birthday story really begins on the Saturday before his birthday with Gabriel's first sleepover.

Now, lest you think I carry this birthday thing too far, let me explain the whole sleepover thing.  Elizabeth's friend, Annie, who is like an extra part of our family, was spending the night with us on Saturday night.  There was a dinner for all the choir people of the church and since Elizabeth is in the choir, we all went to snack and socialize.

There is another teen in the choir, Jordan, who absolutely loves Gabriel.  (She admitted that she makes her schedule to come to church on Sundays and Wednesdays around Gabriel's schedule of when he will arrive.  She goes to visit him in the nursery before, after and between the services, and takes him to the youth room on Wednesdays until he gets kicked out by the youth leader when class starts.)  Anyway, she was there at the dinner, too.  As the evening went on, Elizabeth mentioned to me that it might be fun for Jordan to sleep over, too, and since Jordan agreed, and Jimmy and I are always of the opinion of 'what's one more anyway', we agreed to have Jordan over as well.

We had already planned to watch a movie at home, so we set the TV up on Jimmy's work place and the girls put their sleeping bags on the floor to snuggle in and enjoy the flick.  

There's Jordan to the left (with Gabriel, of course) with Elizabeth and Jo in the middle and Annie to the right.  Since Jordan is besotted with Gabriel, she had him sitting in her lap for half of the movie ('til he was just too tired) and fed him little pieces of popcorn.  Gabriel was in heaven!  His sisters don't treat him this well!  So, Gabriel had his best friend over for a sleepover for his first birthday, but where he went to sleep at a somewhat reasonable hour, the girls did not. 

The next morning, we went to Sunday service and class, and when we came back, I told Elizabeth that after she and Annie did their homework, they needed to make Gabriel's cake so that it would have time to cool and we could ice it and decorate it for Monday evening.

Well, since homework took a long time to complete, and since the girls hadn't gone to bed at a reasonable hour the night before(despite my telling them to be quiet and go to sleep!), Annie and Elizabeth ended up relaxing upstairs in Elizabeth and Jo's bunk beds and the cake did not get made.

This meant no cake for Gabriel's birthday!!!

So, with my wheels turning and clanking, trying to figure out how I could get the cake done and decorated by Monday evening when I had to work all day Monday and we only had a small window of time to cut the cake since I have Women's Bible Study on Monday evenings, Jimmy, Elizabeth, our van load of neighborhood kids and I headed off to the Youth Leader's house for small group study.  (It seems that everything happens in the spring...small groups and Women's Bible study.  It's a lot, but I don't want to miss the gems I get out of each of them and they only last a certain number of weeks!)

But, much to my surprise and delight, when we got to Mr. Kevin's house, Jordan, who is in Youth Group with Elizabeth, came bouncing up in her mis-matched socks and told me that she had made a cake for Gabriel!

It was so sweet!  I mean, the cake was sweet, but the thought and the cook was, too!  

So, Monday night, after dinner, we stuck a candle in the cake

and Elizabeth lit it, (well, she tried to, but the match wasn't cooperating) 

And we all sang Happy Birthday! 

Gabriel had some help blowing out the candle,

and Gabriel got his first piece of birthday cake.  He wasn't quite sure what to do with it at first.  We rarely just plop something so wonderfully gooey on his tray for him to do with what he may.  

But then he realized that cake was for eating, and the fun began!

Jimmy was astounded that I gave him the whole piece to eat on his own, so it was determined that I would have clean-up-the-kid duty.

But it was well worth it and a fun time was had by all!

But wait!  There's more!

I have been told to add the following pictures because they look like a president.  Which president, I don't know, but a president none the less:

Did you see the president?  Yeah, I'm not sure I do, either, but when your eldest makes a request for a special appearance in your blog, you can't say no, right?  Besides, this reminded me of when my mom, brother, sister and I would go grocery shopping together when I was young and when we would come home and my dad would be unpacking the groceries, inevitably the roar would come from the kitchen:


I promise we didn't do it on purpose!  Really!  It just always somehow got mangled between the time that it was fresh on the shelf to the time that it ended up in our kitchen.  
Anyway, it was a great day, and this blog is testament to the fact that we all survived the first year of our Gabriel!

Friday, March 18, 2011

And Now Introducing...

I would like to introduce you to the newest member of the family:

Yes, yes.  That's him...right there in front.  The green blob.  We haven't given him a name yet.  The relationship is still too new, but he is there and a very welcome addition to our family.

His original name is Cladophora aegagropila, or Marimo Moss Ball Plant for short.  Maybe we'll just call him Mossy or maybe Moe. 

Anyway, he is just too cool!  Look at him!

Does it get any cooler than that? 

Can you sense my excitement?

I have wanted one of these for some time now.  I don't know why, but they just seem so neat.  Technically, it is really just strings of algae tangled together in a radial pattern to form a fuzzy ball that can rise and sink and roll around the tank according to the light rays in the tank.

But to me, it is a cool, interesting and infinitely curious living thing that I am not familiar with so I am intrigued to see what it will do and how it will grow.

My husband and I are very practical people.  It is sad, but neither one of us is really a romantic, so, when our anniversary rolled around this past Wednesday,  rather than getting each other some sentimental something that has no real use, we use the opportunity to buy something that we really can't justify spending the money on, and that we would never buy for ourselves, but that we want.  And we both knew what we wanted. 

Can we go to the pet store, please?

Sure, he says.  Do you mind if we go to Target and get a chip for my PSP.

No problem.  Fair enough.  Good trade.  Something I want that he has no interest in and something he wants that I have no interest in. 

We actually got Jimmy's chip a little while ago, so tonight, being Family Night and all, we decided to go to Cici's Pizza for Gabriel's birthday, which is coming up on Monday, and then to the pet store.  (It seems our family outings revolve around the pet store and the library.  I guess that's what happens when you have a family of readers with a bunch of pets.) 

And my Marimo was on sale!  And so were the Tetras!  For $1 each!!!!  So, we got a few more Neons so now we have 7 so that they can school better, and we got 5 other Tetras, a snail and my Marimo!  The snail was Jimmy's idea.  I told him if the tank becomes over run with snails, he will be the one to deal with it.  We are hoping that our snail is a single snail who will not gift us with little snail-lets.  (What do you call a baby snail?)

But I am very excited about my Marimo.  Next month we will have to invest in getting better lighting in the tank.  It is against a glass door, but the fluorescent light is what makes the fish's colors come out so well.  Then I want to get a few more Mollies to replace the ones we lost a while ago and 3 more Ghost Catfish so they will school, too, and then the tank will be fully stocked.  Well, as stocked as I want to have it.  I am always nervous about getting new fish, though.  I don't want to upset the balance of the current fish, but our tank is pretty big and there just weren't enough fish in it. 

But now our tank is just one more step closer to being complete.  

Thanks, sweetie, and happy anniversary!

Goodnight, little Marimo, sleep tight!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Top 'O the Morning To You!

Yes, yes, it's St Patrick's Day, so we are here celebrating our Irish-ness.

 Doesn't she just look so Irish?  (Jimmy was eating lunch today when she got home from school at 1, and even though she had already had her lunch and various snacks, she saw what he was eating and asked for 'yoz' (that is her pronunciation or 'arroz' or rice) con crema and a chicken bone.)

 And what about this one:

Irish to the core.  And yes, he probably would 'Rather be lucky than good!' (Gabriel!  Come here!  What do you have in your mouth?!?!)

But wait...let me explain!  First of all, St Patty's Day is the only day of the year that we get to have this as a meal:

So, I would claim Irish anyway, no matter what.  'Cuz this brisket with these

in the crock-pot are a heavenly thing to have once a year.  (Yes, I know my carrots have sprouted.  We really need to go to the grocery store!  We are at the bottom of the barrel!  At least the potatoes haven't gone yet...I swiped borrowed them from my mother-in-law.  It is great to have them with us in the house!)

But besides the yummy meal, take a look at this:

This is my brother.  And my sister looks like she could be his twin.  Note the red hair.  I do not look a whit like either one of them, but if they've got it, I do, too.  Now, my husband says that all because they have red hair doesn't mean that we are Irish, but really, we are.  My mother's mother was Irish.  She had the red hair, too.  I never saw it red, though.  In fact, I usually saw it pink.  She was always amazed that it was pink.  She would dye it red but it always turned out pink.  I never really understand why this puzzled her.  I was at the age where we were learning about mixing colors and I could have told her that no matter how many times you do it, red dye on snow white hair will turn pink!  It was a beautiful shade in my eyes, though.  It was the shade of warm hugs and candy in the candy dish and card games at the coffee table.  Anyway, like I said, even though my kids look nothing like it, they are part Irish, too.  Actually, we have quite a lot of claims to fame.  I am Irish, Scottish, English and German, and add in my husband, who is from El Salvador, and our kids are quite an incredible mix!

So, I took advantage of the day to indulge in the corned beef although we did stay away from the cabbage.  All of us have to share a room with someone, and no one wants to be put through the aftermaths of a dinner with cabbage.

Oh, and I can't forget to show you the shamrock that my mom made for Jo. 

On Tuesday my mother told Jo that she put something in the mail for her and something for Elizabeth.  As soon as Jo got home, she ran to the mailbox to see if it was there.  It wasn't, of course.  'But Gramma SAID so!'  Yes, Jo, but it will take a few days to get here.  'But I want Gramma to put it in here right NOW!'  It will come later, Jo.  Later that night, around 10PM when all children should be fast asleep...'Mommy, I want Gramma to put it in the mail right now.  She said she put it in the mail for me and one for Izzy'  Go to sleep, Jo, it's coming.  

You can not imagine my relief when it arrived in the mailbox the next day!

After dinner, we went to the library, but before we went, Jimmy changed Gabriel's diaper.  It often takes 2 people to change him, especially if Jimmy is one of the 2 people, because he is so active and will not be still long enough to get the job done.  I was in the kitchen cleaning up, though, so when I came out, this is what I found.  

Come here, buddy...get your pants up!

Jo LOVES the library!  Especially when it brings the promise of stopping by the health food store to pick up more tapioca pearls!

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