Thursday, May 31, 2012

Last day of school

Today was Sanaa's last day of school and now she is on summer break. I've been preparing her for the past couples of weeks that school was about to end because she loves going to school. During the winter when school was canceled due to weather she was very upset. So I really didn't want the summer break to surprise her. 

She had a fun last day and I was able to tag along for the whole morning. Sanaa was very excited that I was staying with her at school.

Heading out the door for the final day.

The first activity of the morning was watching a juggler. He was really good with the kids and it was a fun show.

After the juggling show the kids went to the gym where there was a small bounce house set up and these cool rocket stompers. All the rocket stompers were braced with pvc pipe to keep them from falling over. Each time I've asked Sanaa what her favorite part of the day was, she's mentioned the rocket stomper.

After gym time, we went to another room where 10 different stations were set up for the kids to meander around. I had offered to help so I was in charge of the fishing station. I thought some of the other stations were a little more fun, but the kids really flocked to the fishing station and the fishing poles were in near constant use.

There was a face painting station and Sanaa choose to have a heart and butterfly painted on her face.

I thought the croquet station was cool and Sanaa did a really good job. It made me think we might have to set up a homemade one this summer for the girls to enjoy in our yard.

The ring toss was a little hard for Sanaa and she didn't hang out at this one for very long.

The final stop was back in the classroom where the kids had a snack. One of the snack items was chocolate pudding with crushed oreos and gummy worms. Sanaa wouldn't touch it and when we got home I discovered that she thought the pudding was really covered with dirt. I had brought her untouched pudding home, so once I explained that the "dirt" was really a cookie she finally took a bite.

And finally, a picture of Sanaa with her wonderful teacher Ms. Napier. I hope that in another year Layla will be lucky enough to have Ms. Napier as well.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Our Memorial Day weekend

We had a good weekend. Nate had 3 days off in a row (which is unheard of, especially over a holiday weekend!). So we made the most of his time off. On Saturday the girls and I took Nate to the farmers market here in town. It was a lot of fun. Sanaa kept asking to eat and was not afraid to try some of the different foods that were there. Nate and I were very surprised since Sanaa is the one who doesn't like to try anything new.

Sunday started off normal and we headed to church. Nate and I dropped the girls off at their Sunday school classes and we headed to ours. We walked into class and everyone there paused and shouted, "Surprise!" Both Nate and I were confused and I said, "Surprise for what?" They were throwing us a surprise baby shower! (We'll do another post on that later).

The rest of Sunday was spent at home playing. I tried to get the girls out of their dresses before playing outside but gave up. Dresses are washable. Besides Sanaa said, "Mom, I promise I won't get my dress dirty." Haha. I used a lot of stain remover on both dresses, but luckily both dresses are nice and clean and ready for them to play outside wear to church again.

Layla is holding a worm and saying, "Cheese" for the camera.

Sanaa showing off on how well she can balance on a rock.

Monday was Memorial Day and Nate's birthday. We took the girls to the zoo that morning. Sanaa was our guide and looked at the map most of the time. She kept us moving and didn't really allow us much time to look at the animals. We'd get to an animal and after about a minute she'd say, "Time to see more animals." 

Despite Sanaa rushing us through the zoo, it was probably the best trip we've had. Many of the animals were active. We got to see a polar bear playing with its toy. It was right up at the glass and polar bears are huge! I could not believe how big its paws were. We arrived at the lion area just as the zoo keeper finished placing raw meat on the various rocks. She left the lion's area and opened another door to let the lions out, so we got to see the lions eat their breakfast. 

We also got to see the hippos awake and eating. We've never seen the hippos awake.

Monday evening my parents came over for dinner and to celebrate Nate's birthday. The girls are always excited to see grandpa and grandma, but were even more excited since it was daddy's birthday!

Layla really enjoyed daddy's cake.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Quest for Oregon

Hi there blog fans!

Nate here. I feel that I've been remiss.

I have had many experiences since I moved out to Oregon, but I don't really spend time posting about them. Thus, the blog tends to be all about Rosa and the girls, which is good, since this is a blog pertaining to our family.

That said, I've got stuff to share too and since many of our favorite tv shows have ended and I'm at a lull with my computer games I care about my friends so very much, I'd like to update everyone with some posts I've had on my mind of late.

One of which is... I never told anyone how my trip up to Oregon went. Here goes, in kind of a stream of consciousness format.

So. I give you:

(may or may not be an artistic representation of my trip)

Let's flash back to the beginning of last August. A few days prior to my leaving, I had my last day at the Willow Bend Apple Store. It was hard. Pretty tearful. It had been home for 9 years. I had literally worked there for as long as I had been married to Rosa. But my new store in Portland wanted me there PRONTO, so I had only 2 weeks to digest that I was leaving, and 1 week to travel up there and then start work. 

The 2 weeks before leaving were night after night of moving boxes. Since I would be leaving Rosa all alone with 2 children, it was my job to do heavy lifting and move all of the big stuff into the garage. So each day flew by. The 2 weeks were done before I knew it.

Principal Actors

Me. No further explanation.

The Cats


Keldorn on the left, Merlin in center, Aria on the right.

We were originally going to leave Merlin and Keldorn with a shelter in Texas and just take Aria, because we didn't think that the boys would do well with the trip. That said, leaving the cats with a no-kill shelter turned out to be something that would have taken a LONG time, so the decision was made to take ALL THREE cats with me to Oregon. This decision saved Rosa a ton of headache as she no longer had to worry about cleaning up after them or dealing with them. 

On the day that I left, we drugged them so that they would be asleep for a good 12-16 hours, but our goal was to not let them out, feed them, or anything until we got to Oregon. Before any animal rights activists get on my back, let me note that this was at the recommendation of our vet.

My traveling companion, Noe.

(a perfect visual representation of Noe Rodriguez)

This trip was a 30 hour slog. No extended breaks. No sleep. Just plowing straight through. So I needed someone to swap out with and sleep on the road. Noe was one of my co-workers at Apple, and he hadn't seen much outside of Texas and Oklahoma, so he was excited to see a whole mess of the country. He also had never flown before, and so I had bought him a plane ticket home, and the opportunity to fly for the first time was exciting for him too.

Our Route

Alright. Everything clear? What follows is a synopsis of our travels through each state.

The Departure

Rosa and I packed the car in the morning. We drugged the cats 30 minutes before we left, but... the drugs hadn't really kicked in when it was time to leave. The cats fought me like mad, as I tried to get them into their traveling cages. It wasn't pretty. The time came. I hugged the kids and Rosa, and ran to the car to drive away. I ran partly because it was over 100 degrees even though it was only 11:00AM and the cats were baking, but also because Rosa and I were fighting not to start sobbing uncontrollably. This was going to be the beginning of us being away from each other for the longest period of time since we got married (30 days). I got into the car and drove away... to Noe's house, where I picked him up.

Leaving Texas

(The Drive Friendly bit is hilarious to anyone who actually lives in Texas)

Texas didn't want me to leave. As we drove up I-35, we came across a cataclysmic wreck that shut down all of I-35 and made us have to exit, detour around, and then get back on. As we were stuck in this mess, the car started to overheat, the cats started panting, and I started to panic. Thankfully, Noe knew the roads of North Texas well, and took me on a route that steered us back onto the highway.

My main memories of the Texas drive were of a state that was desperately trying to retain one of its own, and was throwing every traffic jam and inconvenience at us to slow us. But escape we did. I remember leaving Dallas and saying "So Long, Dallas." I've lived my whole life in Texas, and was very ready to leave. It was no longer a good fit.


(Where good Texans go to die.)

Oklahoma is a terrible state, but for many Texans it feels like a Little Brother state in the same way that many Americans perceive Canada. So it is boring and has little to recommend it, but it still feels like part of Texas, and so continued the feeling of "leaving home." This was as far away from Texas as Noe had ever been. It was still hot. But things FELT a little cooler (maybe it dipped into the 90s?). It felt like we were out of Oklahoma soon though, which brings us to...


(Yup. That's pretty much the view of the whole state)

Seriously though, Kansas is a good driving state because it FEELS like you are in the country. Noe put on the Bluegrass and southern Rock on the radio, and while I don't really like those styles in general, for Kansas it just FITS. Kansas is the sort of place where you put the Mellencamp on the radio and pretend that you are much more manly than you truly are. So while we were in Kansas for an obscene amount of time, it was ok because we were enjoying the Kansas vibe.

While we were in Kansas, nighttime hit. 


(we didn't see any of this, but I'm sure it was there)

We were in Colorado during the night, so the amazing vistas and sweeping peaks that define the state were completely invisible to us. We spent much of the waking part of the night looking off into the blackness and imagining what these mountains might look like. My memories of Colorado include drinking prodigious amounts of Coffee, and then needing to pee very very quickly but not wanting to stop because Noe had recently gone to sleep and I didn't want to wake him. So the latter part of Colorado consisted of me squirming in the front seat with a very full bladder, which lasted until...


(You will see about 12,000 of these signs in Wyoming)

We began Wyoming with me pulling over to the side of the road at 2am, jumping out of the car, and feverishly relieving my aching bladder. At some point, the sun came up. This state was characterized by Rosa giving me a frantic call at 6am because she was tracking me via my cell phone, and the GPS showed me out in a barren wasteland (which is fairly realistic because c'mon, its Wyoming) and away from the highway. So once she was convinced that I wasn't passed out in a ditch in Wyoming, she was fine. 

We passed Little America very early in the morning, when the sun came up. I desperately wanted to stop and gorge myself on 50 cent cones, but Noe was asleep, and again, I didn't want to wake him.

The weather had started getting cool sometime during the night when we were in Colorado, and when we got out of the car in Wyoming, it was almost chilly. We had weathered 3 months of 100+ degree weather in Texas, so this was glorious. 


(Utah... *sigh* Always with the beehives...)

Utah brought with it mountains. We arrived in Utah around 8 or 9am. It was gloriously cool. We spent Utah wondering what the deal was with all the beehives on every official sign. We learned later that the Utah people see themselves as very industrious like bees. Mmmmm.... Ok. Whatever. 

Nonetheless, Utah was pretty. As you can see though from the map near the top, we were out of Utah all too soon, which led us to the dreaded state of..


(How Oregonians perceive Idaho, and it is very, very true).

How to talk of the horrors of Idaho? Noe and I were convinced upon leaving it that the state was the devil. 

Why is Idaho the devil?

1. It lasts forever. It felt to Noe and I like we were there for a year. It goes on and on and never really stops. Combined with the fact that we were already tired from so long of a trip, and you have a bad experience.

2. Many states are pretty. Idaho is not. Idaho makes me think that God took tons of rock, chewed them up in his mouth, and then vomited it out all over the state of Idaho. Scads of rock, lying everywhere. Not pretty rock. Ugly rock.

3. Boise. Boise does not want you here. Boise wants you to leave. Boise keeps its fast food places, gas stations, and everything else well hidden. You can't see these things from the interstate as it is walled off and you feel like you are driving in a prison. 

4. The People. The residents of Idaho make me think that some residents of East Texas migrated Northwest and lost their way. I came Northwest to leave them behind, so it was disconcerting to see them again so far Northwest.

Let us never speak of Idaho again.


(The life people live in Portland. Not at all an exaggeration.)

Ah Oregon! Passing its border felt like coming to my new home. Our voyage was almost at an end. That said, Oregon doesn't get as pretty until you get sufficiently west. East Oregon is a lot of mountain passes, prairies, and farmland until you get farther west (around The Dalles). It still felt good. I felt better the moment I wasn't allowed to pump gas anymore (because in Oregon you aren't allowed to pump your own gas). I felt even better when we first sighted the Columbia River, and I got seriously excited when we first descended into the Columbia River Gorge.

(yes, it really is that pretty)

It was about at this point when Noe's jaw started dropping, and stayed dropped for the rest of the trip.

Some of the things that blew him away about Oregon:

1. The wind turbines and hydroelectric dams.
2. The Gorge, and the amount of people doing watersports on the river.
3. The numerous hiking trails that we would pass, in a fairly short period.
4. The bike lanes! Bike Lanes!
5. The tree farms, where evergreens are grown and then planted elsewhere in the state.

And then... Portland.

We arrived at Robert and Rachel's house that evening (around 8PM). We were exhausted, but at the same time, very very relieved to be done. 

The next day, I took Noe out for some Pacific Northwest seafood. Noe said it was "stupid good" and devoured it all. I then took him to Portland International Airport and put him on his flight to go home. 

As I hugged him and watched him walk to his flight, I realized suddenly that my last tie to my old life was walking through Airport Security, and I was alone in Portland.

I sat down on a nearby bench and took a deep breath. 

Then I sent a text to Rosa saying: "My new life begins."

Friday, May 25, 2012

Almost 36 weeks

I had another doctor's appointment this morning to check on baby #3. All is going well. I'm currently 35 weeks and 5 days and now get to see the doctor weekly. This has been a long pregnancy but suddenly it feels like it flew by! I guess I need to get my act together and finish any projects that need completing before he arrives (like tagging clothes for another consignment sale that's coming up in early June and buying birthday gifts for the girls!).

At this appointment Malakai's heart beat was at 160. That shocked me since that's the fastest heart beat any of our kiddos have had and for the past few months he's been in the 130's-140's. But the doctor wasn't concerned and said he sounded good. He was also moving a lot and the doctor joked that it appeared he was attempting to do flips or something. He has definitely been the most active baby so far.

It also appears that he has dropped and is sitting much lower. The doctor asked if he felt lower and at first I wasn't sure but then I thought about the number of times I need to visit the restroom and the fact that some of my shirts don't seem to cover my belly as well as they once did. The doctor also thought he was lower than the last visit. My belly is measuring in at 34 inches which is actually a little small since most of the time the measurement corresponds with your current week of pregnancy. The girls were always right on target so it's surprising that this time around I'm measuring smaller even though I feel and look bigger.

I still continue to have braxton hicks contractions. They haven't increased or decreased but have stayed about the same over the past couple of weeks. All of this is making me wonder if Malakai will wait until June 20 and the scheduled c-section or make his debut early. I guess we'll see.

Prepping for baby

On Monday, since Nate had off, I painted Malakai's room. I got a majority of the painting done while Layla napped, but both girls had to help. And who can blame them. It's not everyday that mom lets you paint on the wall! The old color was some kind of yellow/tan and not that pretty. It was a weird color that didn't match well with much. So I changed it to the same color as the girls room and the color that I used at our house in Texas. It's called Oregon Coast! It's a nice neutral color, but the name is awesome!

Sanaa does a great job of helping me paint. She's very careful and I'm pretty sure she'll be my painting buddy in the future.

(And yes, painting in a butterfly costume is a must! It just makes it so much more fun.)

This was the first time Layla was ever allowed to paint a wall! She loved it. I let both girls come help me with the last small section in the room that way they were there when the room was finished.

Here is a before and after shot of the room's paint color.

The room is definitely not ready for a baby, but I figure I still have a few months before Malakai will actually use the room. It's funny how I've changed with each child. With Sanaa I had to have everything finished and perfect before she arrived. I didn't do anything for Layla except buy a second crib since she was going to share Sanaa's room, but at least her crib was put together before she was born. And now for Malakai I don't even have the crib completely put together or his room finished! The girls still really enjoy using his room to play in and I figure I won't stop them until Malakai is actually here and they can see and touch him. Right now I think he is still too much of an abstract idea even though we talk about him a lot.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Just another Monday

Today is a rainy Monday morning. We have had a lot of nice sunny weather the past couple weeks so I guess we're due for a rainy day. Today we're stuck at home waiting for the internet repair guy to arrive. We've had sporadic outages the past couple weeks and have made numerous calls to our provider. They finally figured out there was something wrong with the box on the side of the house. 

Since we're not planning to go out anywhere I let the girls pick whatever outfit they so desired and this is what they picked. I guess today is Halloween here!

Looking out the window at a slug.

The only other thing we might be doing today is potty training Layla. This morning she has requested to sit on the potty 3 times. She doesn't want to use her little potty but insists on sitting on the big potty like her sister. Guess we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Morning routine

Layla often finds me in the morning and hangs out while I get ready so she has become very familiar with my morning routine. For the past few days Nate was out of town due to work. I'm not sure why we were blessed (I'm being very sarcastic!) with early risers but we were. I attempted to get up at 5:45am each day to beat the girls but it never failed that at least one of them was up by 6:00am. My attempts to get them back to sleep failed but at least I was able to get a quick shower in each morning before they woke up.

In the mornings what Layla will do is climb up on our toilet and then climb onto our counter where she sits and watches most of the time. On this particular mornings she found a makeup sponge that I don't use and sat there applying her makeup while I did mine. When I moved onto my hair, she needed to do her hair as well. Many mornings this can be annoying because I just want to get ready by myself but I know I'll look back at these pictures and wish I could return to these days, so I'll try and enjoy my lack of privacy for the time being!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Quick pregnancy update

Last Friday (May 11th) I had a doctor visit. I thought I had updated about that but when I checked the blog I realized I hadn't done anything since Sanaa's spring program.

The doctor's visit went well. The little guy is doing well and continues to kick at the doctor whenever she attempts to listen to his heart beat. We also talked about the date to schedule my c-section. The date the doctor and I settled on was June 19th. I was hoping for the 15th mainly because Layla's birthday is on the 1st and Sanaa's is on the 30th, so I thought it would be cool for our third to be born on the 15th. But the 15th was two days before my 39 week mark and the hospital has strict rules about not performing c-sections before the 39 week mark unless they are an emergency.

So, since my doctor is off on Mondays, we went with Tuesday the 19th. However, this morning I received a call that my c-section has now been moved to Wednesday the 20th because the 19th was booked up. Really? Wow! My actual due date is the 24th, so with the c-section only being 4 days before it I kind of wonder if I'll go into labor this time. With Sanaa I dealt with false labor for about 2 days before being induced and then ended with a c-section. With Layla I didn't have any labor signs (didn't even feel braxton hicks!) before heading in for my c-section. But we will see what happens this time since I've been experiencing braxton hicks for almost two weeks. This pregnancy has been different in nearly every way that if I do go into labor before the 20th I won't be surprised at all.

My next appointment is Friday the 25th.

Mother's Day weekend

For Mother's Day weekend we drove over to my parents house for dinner Sunday evening. Not only did we celebrate Mother's Day, but we also celebrated my dad's birthday (which was a couple days before Mother's Day). My brother and his wife and daughter were also there. Both Sanaa and Layla were very excited to see their cousin. 

The big gift for my dad this year was an ice cream churn. On Saturday night I cooked up the ice cream mix (yes, I had to cook it since it had raw eggs in it). Nate told me he had never churned ice cream and sat there and churned the ice cream for 40 minutes. I didn't think he'd last 40 minutes, but he had to prove me wrong!

Sanaa was fascinated with the process and she even had a short turn churning the ice cream. She looks like our little movie star with her sunglasses, dress, and flower headband!

Layla didn't care about churning. She just wanted the ice. The fact that the ice had salt on it did not stop her from chewing on the ice.

As the ice cream becomes firmer, the bucket begins moving more. So my brother sat on it to keep it still. My dad reminisced how as a boy it was quite often his job to sit on the ice cream churn while the others churned the ice cream.

The other memory my dad shared was how his mom and sisters would always clean the beater completely never leaving any ice cream on it and he always wished he could just lick the beater clean. Well... he finally got his chance to lick off the ice cream and he taught two of his granddaughters to do the same.

The ice cream was really good! I don't normally enjoy vanilla ice cream, but this was good and I actually enjoyed the plain vanilla quite a bit! I think the ice cream churn is going to get pulled out a lot this summer.

Like I said earlier, Sanaa and Layla were excited to see their cousin. Layla got right down on the floor with Ariana and the two chatted about something. Sanaa was busy fanning them to make sure they stayed cool.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spring program video

Here is the video from Sanaa's spring program. The first video is 8-9 minutes long. I taped it with our camera and zoomed in so you could see Sanaa. It is definitely shaky so if you get motion sickness easy you've been warned! :-) Also, towards the end of the video, the person sitting in front of me kept getting their head in my way! Sanaa did much better at this program and it was fun to see her actually singing.
(Yes it does end abruptly because my memory card was suddenly full.)

These final two videos are ones that Nate took with his phone. They are the final songs of Sanaa's program. It's hard to see Sanaa, but she is in the second row on the right side of the screen roughly 4-5 kids in. Good luck finding her!
(If you find the girl in the back row with the big white bow on her head then you should hopefully be able to spot Sanaa in front of her every once and awhile. The girl in front of Sanaa often block her from our view.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sanaa's spring program

Last night Sanaa had her spring concert at school. Unlike the Christmas concert, this one was only the 3 year olds. So, it was much shorter and we got to hear many songs that Sanaa has learned this past school year. Sanaa did much better at this program and sang nearly every song. She did not do any of the motions but at least she sang. Tonight I'm just posting some pictures and I hope to get the videos up tomorrow night.

My parents and my brother, sister-in-law, and little niece came to hear Sanaa as well. After her program Sanaa gave uncle Ryan a huge bear hug which was so sweet. 

Showing off in her dress before we left for the concert.

Because Sanaa got all dressed up, Layla felt the need to dress up as well.

Both girls excited and ready to leave.

Sanaa walking onto the stage. At one point I was worried she was going to cry because I could see her looking for us, but once she spotted us she was fine.

Standing on the risers waiting for the program to start. I love her expression in this picture!

I know she looks like she's going to cry, but once they started singing she was fine.