Thursday, March 19, 2015

March Baby

One week after St. Patrick's Day last year, I was asked by social services if we (Casa de Amor) could honor the special request of a street girl, a friend of mine. She had just given birth to her 5th child even though she is very young. The teen father, another long time street friend, was (and still is) in jail. They wanted their newborn, already being taken away, to come to Casa de Amor's Baby Home.

I went to social services and took him from the arms of his sobbing mother. When we finished with everything there, it was after noon, so I took him home with me first. After my family had eaten lunch and I had nursed both babies, we took him to the Baby Home.

Little G turned one yesterday! See pictures of the festivities here, in a birthday post by Casa de Amor volunteer Hannah.

He has hardly changed at all - just in size!

I never got around to posting this video last year, but St. Patrick's Day (and preparing to have two babies in our house) reminded me of it!

Jake was just groaning and I wanted to laugh! :)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

El Avion!

Today Michael, our son who never hesitates to say what he's thinking, told Jake, "You and Mom sure have a lot of anniversaries!!" To which Jake replied, "Boy, if only you knew. It's not easy to keep up with all of them!"

Three long and yet short years ago TODAY Jake and I met in person at the "avion" (airplane) in the south of town! I had become much more familiar with this rough part of town in recent years since it was near street kid hang-outs and a police station, and thought it interesting that I was probably meeting my future husband right HERE...

(See Part II of our love story.)   

Today after our Saturday morning market trip, Jake grabbed the tripod and we headed south to get a family picture at our spot. 

The whole crew!! Or, at least for the next month before a new face joins the crowd.

And a close-up...

(These are the first family pictures where Sophia is standing!!)

On our first "meeting anniversary", we also got a picture at the plane. It seems like we were so much younger then, in our brief childless days, although we had just found out exactly one month before that a baby was on the way!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

At the Park

Last week, I wanted to take the kids to our nearest big park for a picnic lunch on the one free day I had, but it rained that entire day. This week, my one free day is sunny and a blockade day, so we went!

Daddy got away from work for a minute

Sophia is a true fan of parks now. It was actually so bright and sunny, I was snapping pictures without really seeing, but you can see that of the pictures that turned out, she always has a big smile!

 Jumping with Joel 
They did this till he wore out :)

Her bonnet flap is turned up because it's gotten bent wrong and almost covers her eyes! Time to find a new one at market.

 She really liked the cool (as in not burning hot) tunnel

And the best picture of the day! My camera actually cooperated quickly. :)

 Sliding again and again with Michael!

There was a bit of a fit when it was time to go home, but after a bath she was all too willing to nap, ahh...

Hopefully now that I'm trimming back what's been a crazy weekly schedule, we'll have some more park days before the next baby shows!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Getting ready for #2/5!

Slowly but surely, we're getting ready for the arrival of the 5th child to our family!

Jake says I'm ready for the baby to come (as in, be done with pregnancy aches and pains) and yet not (eek! 2 babies), and that it sounds very much like being female. Very funny...

After my last doctor's appointment the day before Valentine's, I went on a little shopping excursion in the market. It was quite the unusual combination - lots of stuff to buy, money to buy it with, and alone! Jake was just glad he didn't have to come check out everything twice with me. He's a man with a purpose when shopping, whereas I want to weigh all of my options. :)

The best find was the perfect place for our new baby to sleep!

This cute little "crib" met all of my qualifications:
~ Cost around $100 (we got Sophia's crib made for 200)...cribs, especially US brands, are pricey here, probably because so few people use them
~ Small enough for our little bedroom and yet big enough for a sitting baby to use (I don't think busy-body Sophia will be leaving her crib anytime soon!)
~ Pleasant colors! I really like the neutrals better than all-out pink and girl colors. 

So pretty!! Even matches the walls of the guestroom, it's current home.

I thought it was pretty great that the boys put it all together using the instructions, their heads, and some good ol' trial and error. Jake was busy with a long work phone call and we didn't want to wait. :) (Note: they are wearing their swimming trunks.)

 Sophia took immediate ownership of the cute little teddy bears, which would explain why one is currently missing... Here she is kissing them.

Someone put Sophia inside for a little trial run, and while I thought she would protest at being caged, she actually thought it was lots of fun to play inside while the boys continued the assembly! She threw a huge fit when we took her out to adjust it to "stage one", for a newborn.

My crib helpers in 2015...

And my young handsome crib assembler in 2013...

I also found a stroller for Sophia, one of the cheapest I've ever seen here but still decent. It's the first she's had in Bolivia and she really likes her "vroom vroom"! It's certainly a back saver for me and the boys when we're not with Jake, and the boys love taking turns pushing her. When I'm carrying the new baby in a sling or carrier, this will be a good option for Big Sister.

She was so excited to have the pretty flower on our walk to the vet

On other fronts, I still have quite the list. Last time I was so busy with work and adoption paperwork, it was challenging to find time to get ready, and I actually didn't even get to that point since Sophia was born the day before my maternity leave was supposed to begin. Now I'm in a very different phase of life that brings it's own challenges. I've had constant Casa de Amor meetings, errands, and paperwork, homeschooling and therapy and doctor/orthodontist appointments for the boys, and of course keeping up with Sophia. Right when I think I should have some free time, it's often time to begin dinner. The once kids are in bed, what used to be a prime time for computer work, I'm often too tired to get much done.

Trying to be organized helps!

Bins ready to go!

Top to bottom: birth supplies, postpartum and nursing supplies/supplements, newborn clothes

I need to print certain papers with notes for the birth bin and then it will be more complete, such as lists for the kids and who is willing to watch them if we need that, and a hospital packing list and birth plans in English and Spanish if for some reason we have to go to the hospital. Last time there wasn't time to finish preparing the birth plans, but we didn't need it anyway!

I'm working on easy menus of meals and shopping lists so that my hungry men won't waste away while I'm out of commission. It shall be interesting, as cooking lessons in the kitchen with the boys have been, ah-hem... Messy and hair-raising!! I'm aiming to freeze one meal a week, which is about all our freezer can hold, but I figure that anything is better than nothing!

In a week or two I need to gather up home birth supplies from around town. Another urgent item is the Anti-D shot since I have a negative blood type and it's highly unlikely that I'll ever have a negative blood type baby. I've been trying to get it for a month, and can usually track it down at one of the three best pharmacies/chains in town, then right when we have the money for it (cost has tripled since Sophia, not sure why), it's all sold out! Right now NONE of the three has it in stock, which is concerning, because I'll need it no matter what within 72 hours after birth. The next time I find it I'll have to immediately run out and buy it to store in the fridge.

But it's all coming along and one must stay flexible where babies are involved!! :)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Happy 8 Months!

Today we're to 8 months!! Time has really started to fly!

Even though I weigh 3 pounds less than with Sophia at this stage, I'm about as big as I was right before she was born. For the whole pregnancy, I seem to look about month ahead (comparing this time to last time). That's alright and normal, I've heard. I just hope it doesn't change to two months the next time, ha!

Quite unexpectedly, I never got a 9 month belly picture with Sophia. The picture I got was with her on the outside. :)

October 19, 2013

This week's ultrasound also makes the big day seem really close! Baby weighs approximately 5 1/2 pounds (2.5 kilos), a size I'm very familiar with because I'd say about half of our newborns at Casa de Amor arrive this size! She's measuring 10 days ahead, which would mean an April 3 due date. A similarly timed ultrasound with Sophia showed her measuring 9 days ahead, and even though everyone said to not put much stock in it, she was born 14 days before her due date (4 days adjusted already + 9 more days).

I do hope this one waits until April 6, at least! Our midwife from New Zealand gets back on April 2, and our second medical person (a friend and CDA volunteer now in med school) arrives on April 5.

The biggest relief at the ultrasound was learning that the baby is head down and in the ideal position for this last stage of pregnancy. Last month, I asked my doctor how baby was positioned because it felt so different from last time. She cheerily replied that she was...sitting! Some quick research showed me it was too late for that sort of messing around, so I got to work with special exercises and stretches and other ideas to make baby flip, and I'm so grateful that she cooperated! Now to just stay that way. :)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Sophia & Books

For the past few weeks, Sophia has really taken off in "reading"! She has LOVED the activity for a long time, but now at multiple points during the day she will cozy up with a book all by herself. She has her favorite spot in the living room, on the couch, and can entertain herself for at least a half hour at a time with a couple of books. She can usually climb up alone but waits for someone to answer her yells to get down. :) (One day she chanted, ever more urgently, "mama!" until I appeared.)

She jabbers away to herself as she points at the pictures and goes through a book again and again. If there are words she can sign or say or that call for an animal sound, she does that, too.

Pretty excited! Book is in mid-flight. (We're still teaching her about book care, ha!)

Of course, she still loves the interaction of reading with us, and will sometimes bring a favorite and plop it in our laps. All that is missing is for her to order "START READING!!"

Not a "book" she is "reading", but these pictures from Jake's camera were neat.

When we go get her up from naps, her first words are often "book, book, book!" as she signals to her bookshelf and wants to get going. Her brothers marvel at how books could be so wonderful since they think they are about the most boring thing ever. This is where Sophia is already a good influence on them. :)

This huge (for her) "World of Animals" book is one of her favorites

I haven't observed such a young child reading so much on her own and developing such a long attention span. Jake says this is the kind of child two book worms produce, ha! I knew several words by sight by age 2, according to my mom, and I expect at least as much from Sophia. The issue will not be her level of reading, but keeping her from reading something she shouldn't while too young! I also predict that she will have her dad's super long reading attention span.

She also LOVES scribbling and will work on these giant sheets of paper for a long time, especially if her brothers are coloring, too. She is pretty good about keeping to paper, but there has been some wall-marking and this, the very day after I got it....

When the boys are all writing in their notebooks during school time, or using their A Beka English books with pictures she finds really fascinating (lots of FISH!), she loves "writing" alongside them. She studies them and tries to copy their exact position....except that she appears to be a leftie!!

She is going to be such a good little student!!