Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What, your grandma didn't give you a pony?

Sorry, she must not love you as much as Bella and Matea's grandma loves them. Maybe you can ask for a new grandma for Christmas next year.

No surprise, the girls got totally spoiled at Christmas. After opening a bunch of cool gifts from my mom, Uncle Ronnie brought in this pony. Bella went crazy, twirled around and shouted, "I just got what I've always wanted!". Her name is supposed to be Butterscotch but Bella keeps calling her Hopscotch. I call her a pain in the ass to store in my house but the girls are having a lot of fun with it.

Santa brought the girls a sand and water table for our new backyard and it seems to be a big hit already. They spent a few hours playing with it yesterday with only minimal fighting. We're still eating tamales that Steve and Bella made on Christmas Eve. She looked so sweet, concentrating so hard.

Did Grandma get me markers or makeup?

I totally thought of that Anna Nicole Smith video I saw of her 9 months pregnant, higher than a kite, with messy clown makeup when I saw these pics.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Look out Broadway, here she comes!

Thursday was Bella's Christmas program at school and she delivered and then some. Seriously, I think I'm going to charge the other parents to watch the show next year because they got to see quite a performance. The other kids were kind of just standing in a clump, mumbling the words. Not Bella. She added her own dance moves and sang her heart out. I laughed so hard, I had tears in my eyes and afterward all of the other parents told me she stole the show. On the way home I told Bella how proud I was and that she made everyone smile. She said, "I just wanted to make everyone like me." Awwwwwww.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Graham Cracker Houses

Grandpa and Grandma Cindy were visiting this weekend and I decided to put Grandpa's perfectionism into full swing by suggesting they make gingerbread houses (but from graham crackers-I'm far too cheap to buy the gingerbread house kits when I can spend half the money and have tons of graham crackers left over for snacks). Anyway, Grandpa seemed to have a lot of problems with his supplies-even though no one else did-which usually resulted in him eating the "defects". Grandma Cindy had a mild heart attack when she accidentally put a gummy bear in her mouth. Apparently, in addition to never making a gingerbread house before in her life, she's also never had a gummy bear and wasn't ready to do it this weekend. Bella was mostly concerned that she wasn't going to win the competition and literally worked on her house for almost two hours so she'd be guaranteed to win the prize.

You know I love handmade gifts...

and Bella's gift to us is no exception. She made this little candle at school with beans, glue, a dixie cup, and a tea light. She was really proud of her creation but mostly excited that I let her hold a lit candle for the picture. She kept saying, "Mommy, am I just a really big girl now that you're letting me hold this candle?".

Thursday, December 13, 2007

To the Sleuther Scooters!

Bella's favorite tv show right now is "My Friends Tigger and Pooh". It's like an updated version of Winnie the Pooh with a girl named Darby. The whole group is call "The Super Sleuths" and they spend each episode following clues to figure out some kind of mystery. Of course, like any kids show, there are several catch phrases, one of them being "To the Sleuther Scooters!". Last night I was working in the office, Steve was in the shower, and Bella was apparently busy building her own scooter. She came in and asked me to help her figure out how to attach her tinker toy stick to the chair to complete her scooter. Then she said she was Darby and started "riding" the scooter. I'm always so impressed with her imagination. I just wish it didn't require so much of my involvement. Seriously, I spend half of my day pretending to deliver her baby, eating fake food, crawling like a kitty, etc.

Ugly to Cute in 60 seconds

Matea has the best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) fake crying face. We usually see it when she gets reprimanded or when Bella's throwing a fit - the girl has to have some competition, right? And it usually turns right into a smile because we're laughing so hard, she can't keep it going.

She's really grown up so much in just the last month or so. Had her first big girl pig tails last week and learned to drink her milk from her cheerios bowl - that's a milestone, right? Ooooo, and she's been introduced to the naughty spot. Actually, made 3 trips there yesterday for biting and hitting. Such a sweet girl.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Bella's letter to Santa

Dear Santa,
I want flowers and a Dora doll. I want some flowers for Matea. And then some for Papa. Some that you need water for and some you need rocks for. I want some new doctor stuff. Some for Matea and some for me and then some for the whole family. I want a camera that you never have to use with the computer. And then a ring that I would let Matea put in her mouth.
To get to my home, go through the forest and then past the beach high up on the hill and then you drive on more parts of the road and then you'll be at my home.

Love, Bella

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Back to the doctor

It seemed as though Bella was recovering well and then she developed a bad cough again over night on Monday. So, we headed back to the doctor yesterday and went in for another chest xray. Luckily, Bella was much more relaxed and calm this time because the xray two weeks ago was a nightmare. The results showed that the pneumonia is clearing up but isn't completely gone yet. So, we're just playing the waiting game, hoping it will clear up on it's own. We have to watch for a fever, decreased activity, irritability, etc. and then she'll go on a second round of antibiotics.

In the meantime, here are some super cute Christmas pics...

Saturday, November 24, 2007


One nice part of staying home for Thanksgiving is that we got to put up our Christmas tree and decorations extra early. Bella seemed to be feeling better today so we actually put on regular clothes (we've been wearing pj's all day for several days now) and put the ornaments on our tree. As expected, Matea's completely fascinated by everything and can't keep her hands off the tree. I also came home from my work out this morning to find a partially opened Christmas gift under the tree. Bella's been extra grumpy during her illness and decorating seems to be bringing out a better side of her. I actually got some cute, smiling pics of her which doesn't even happen when she's feeling well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bella Update

It's looking like the antibiotic shot yesterday is working well. Bella slept well last night (we still haven't moved her back to her bed) and woke up asking for Cheerios this morning. She went back to the doctor this morning and she said she could hear crackling in Bella's right lung which is a good sign that the infection is breaking up and moving out. She's definitely feeling better today, only had a slight fever and spent some time playing. But she's still getting easily worn out and you can really see in her face that she's had a rough week. We're trying to get her back in her bed tonight and hope she'll sleep well in there. She's been sleeping in the recliner the last few nights, partly to help with her coughing and partly because she had been waking up Matea with her coughing and whining at night. Grandma got her some new movies so we'll be watching hour upon hour of "My Friends Tigger and Pooh Super Sleuths Christmas Movie" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It's pneumonia

I took Bella to the doctor this morning because we just couldn't keep her fever away. She checked her out and sent us for blood work, urine, and a chest xray. I dropped off Matea with Steve at work (what, you don't think an auto shop is a great place for a 16 month old to hang out?) and took Bella for her labs. She was really nervous about the chest xray and kept crying but was able to hold still long enough that we got good xrays on both views on the first try. The blood work was another story. She's been with me several times when I've had blood drawn so she knows enough to realize that a needle goes in your arm and that probably doesn't feel good. She was so upset, it took me plus 3 nurses to hold her down and get her blood. Not exactly the nurturing, motherly feeling I like to have. Picked up Matea from Steve, ran by Vons for more Motrin and by the time we got home, Dr. Teaford called and said the xray showed pneumonia in the upper lobe of her right lung. I immediately lost it, starting bawling on the phone with the doctor. I think knowing the seriousness of what's wrong with her, combined with questioning whether you've handled everything well as her mother was just too much for me. On top of that, tomorrow is the third anniversary of Grandpa's death so I haven't exactly been feeling warm and fuzzy anyway.
I took her in to check her pulse oxygen level (it was good, 94%) and get a shot of antibiotics. I still couldn't keep myself together emotionally and asked Dr. Teaford to please not write, "Mother is a big weenie" on Bella's chart. She goes back in tomorrow morning to be checked out again and then we'll just be enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday at home, letting our baby rest and recover instead of dragging her through the stress of traveling.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Holy Shnikes!

Bella's fever got up to 106.5 last night! Nope, that's not a typo, 106.5! We threw her in a cold bath for the fourth time in one day, of course she screamed the whole time but we got it down to 104.5. Gave her some Motrin when she got out (started alternating with Tylenol) and then her fever started creeping back up again. Called our doctor's 24 nurse triage hotline (so stupid that they don't have any kind of on call doc to talk to-we have to pay $30 to call a nurse for 3 minutes). Anyway, she said we needed to go to the ER because a fever that high could signal a bacterial infection. So, off we went. And damn if her fever wasn't down to 102.5 when we got there. The ER doc checked her out, said she was fine and sent us home. She told me I could alternate Tylenol and Motrin every 3 hours instead of the 4 I was doing and I really hoped that would keep her fever from spiking again (it seemed to be spiking in the last hour between doses). Got home at midnight, slept with her in the livingroom on the aero bed, woke her up at 3:00 for her medicine and the fever was gone. She woke up feeling like herself this morning and we couldn't be more relieved.
She was such a good girl through the whole thing, never once complained about not feeling well. Then at the hospital last night she said, "Mommy, I like spending time with you." Nice. Quality time at the ER. So I told her that as soon as she got better I would take her on a date with Mommy to see "Bee Movie".

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Poor Bella

We've all been taking a long time to get over this cold but Bella seemed to be getting over it more quickly than Matea and I. Until Thursday night. She got out of bed at 10:00 with a 102.5 degree fever and woke up at 101 yesterday morning. She seemed to feel ok during the day but we could tell she was getting a fever again last night. Pumped her full of tylenol and she fell asleep on the couch around 7:30. Then, we woke up to her in our room at 3:00 this morning and she said she was trying to drink water but her body wouldn't stop shaking. Poor baby's fever was up to 104 degrees. We did our best to cool her down, gave her more tylenol and then put her back in bed around 4:00. Matea decided not to cut me any slack and woke up at 5:00, two hours before her normal time. Bella got up at 6:15 and her fever was at 104.2. I feel so bad for her but she seems to be holding up really well.
And before you ask why we haven't rushed her to the doctor...high fevers are very typical for Bella. She's actually been as high as 105 degrees before (her first and so far, only trip to the ER). And besides a little cough, there's really no sign of what her body is fighting so the doctors wouldn't really know what to give her medicine for anyway. So, we'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, November 12, 2007

One big turkey and one little turkey

First the little turkey. Matea had her 15 month well baby visit today and got the stamp of approval from Dr. Teaford-Hoffman. She's still a little peanut, weighing just over 21 pounds which puts her in the 30th percentile for her age. She's currently saying 10-12 words consistently, using 4 signs, and can identify 8 or 9 body parts. And Dr. Teaford was as tickled as we are that she points/looks at Bella when you ask her where her belly is. Bella went with us to the visit and I told her she might be getting some shots because the doctor mentioned that Bella was behind on a few during our last visit. She was so freakin excited. Couldn't stop talking about getting the shots and then getting a bandaid. Sadly, as I expected, the experience was not nearly as exciting as she thought it was going to be and she bitched and moaned at me about the shots all the way to Santa Maria afterward.

Ok, now the big turkey. Living on one income when you really can't afford to do it means that you eat what's on sale. And of course, right now that means eating turkey for the next two months straight (and apples and pears-we've made apple sauce, apple fritters, apple burritos). So this big guy is in my oven right now, treated with butter, lemon, and herbs. 15 pounds of yummy turkey for turkey and stuffing, turkey sandwiches, turkey wraps, turkey ummmmmm....out of ideas. Hmmmm, need to get more eggs for turkey omelets for the girls in the morning.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Thanks a lot Grandpa

I talked to my dad a few days ago and he asked how the girls were and whether everyone had been healthy. I told him we had been really lucky and both girls had only been sick once in the last year. Two days later, we're all sick. Damn him! Actually, Steve's not sick, he never is. In the 12 1/2 years we've been together, I've only seen him sick twice. He has some kind of freakish immune system. Anyway, here are some pics from today and yesterday.

Doesn't Bella's face communicate how she's really feeling right now? The second pic is how I found Matea in the recliner when I woke up this morning. Looks like she partied all night. Oh wait, she did. And the last pic is them right now, eating their second round of popsicles for the day.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Last ones, I promise

Yes, we went out of the house with him dressed like this. We only went to 5 neighbor's houses and 3 of the 5 wanted to take a picture. Then we went to our neighbors' church carnival and I swear it was like Jesus himself spoke to everyone there and said, "Stop and stare at the hairy man dressed as a big fat woman with nice boobies." Every time I looked up, people were pointing and starring at him and a few men asked if he was available. And lots of teenage girls talked to him and commented on his costume. What's up with that? We may have to retire this one.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Is it over yet?

Seriously, is it just me or has Halloween lasted for several weeks? I'm really ready for it to be over. Anyway, we went trick or treating in the village this afternoon and I sweet talked Bella into wearing her wig. Matea picked up on the whole concept of trick or treating rather quickly and if she could talk, I guarantee she would have been saying, "I'll be damned if Bella's gonna get candy from that stranger and I don't!". She actually threw herself down in the middle of the sidewalk screaming at one point because I had the nerve to carry her past one of the businesses Bella trick or treated at. And is it not obvious that she's a gold fish? We heard duck, chick, and rooster. She was also very offended when people said to Bella, "Here's a little treat for your brother's bag." Come on people. The goldfish costume is way too sissy for a boy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Another day, another costume

Bella's mermaid costume isn't wearing very well (don't get me started, just boycott Lillian Vernon!) so she decided to mix things up today with this Snow White costume our neighbors got for her at a yard sale for $1. Why in the hell did I buy her the expensive mermaid costume when she looks so damn cute in this one?
Anyway, they had a little parade at school today. And, I mean little. There are only 6 kids in her class so Tater and I dressed up to make it a little more fun and exciting. Papa and Auntie Devin also came to see the parade.

Pumpkin Carving

We carved pumpkins last night for the first time. I don't know how it's happened, but every other year we've had something come up right before Halloween or just forgotten about it. Anyway, Bella was super excited about the whole thing and overcame her issues with getting dirty and dove right in her pumpkin. Matea, not so much. I cut the top off of hers, reached in and showed her how to scoop the seeds out and she just looked at me and cried. Later, she decided to take everything I had scooped out and put it back in her pumpkin.
Oh, and they both got free pumpkins again this year from Gordy, the owner of JJ's Market up by our house. Bella's always had a really sweet friendship with him and I think he enjoys having fun with the girls since his grandkids live out of state.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A mermaid and a goldfish

Don't the girlies look cute in their costumes? Bella has a bright red wig that goes with hers but she refused to wear it. Which caused me to launch in to the traditional, "Money Doesn't Grow on Trees" lecture and tell her that if she doesn't wear the wig to school with her costume, she needs to get $10 out of her piggy bank to pay us because she insisted on getting the wig with her costume.

We were supposed to go to a little carnival in the village last night but it started raining so our friends, The Rushings, threw together a little party instead. The girls got the wear their costumes, Steve got to have a few drinks, and I had one of those cheap cupcakes from the grocery store with 3 inches of frosting on the top. All were happy.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ahhhh, this is the life.

Up until the last year or so, I really didn't appreciate living here. Yeah, the low crime, good schools, awesome weather have always been on my mind, but since I'm not really a beach person, I never really appreciated living by the ocean. But after a night like last night, and seeing how much fun the kids have out there, it's hard not to feel incredibly lucky. I mean, how many people can see the ocean from their house and have their feet in the sand five minutes after leaving home? We picked up dinner on the way there, ate in the back of the Explorer, and then spent hours playing in the sand, chasing birds, sitting by the fire and roasting marshmallows. As some German (or were they European?...that's a joke for Lena) tourists nearby shouted "Marshmallows!" in their super thick accents, it finally hit me that we're amazingly lucky to live in a place where people from all over the world come to visit. I'm not positive, but I may have officially given up my dream of moving to North Carolina and having a bunch of land, not really working but just leading a really simple life where we exist through bartering with neighbors for services.