In previous posts, I've tried to describe our family and what all we've been up to, but since it has been a little while, I thought I'd give you a little snapshot of each of us, and anything new that has been going on.
My Amado: He has been very busy! This week, the new Hispanic Center that he is coordinating opened. I was so proud of him as I got to meet his coworkers and see all the people who were attending. We are all really excited about the opportunity. It is going to mean a lot more work on top of his full teaching schedule, but he loves new challenges, and is enjoying it already. I have the sense that this is going to lead to even bigger things, and I am full of anticipation.
Me: Now that the nausea is past, I am in the fun part of pregnancy. I feel huge--much bigger than in previous pregnancies, but not terribly uncomfortable. Allergies, however, are kicking my tail. I have had a few killer sinus headaches, and they always bring out the worst in me. Last night I was screaming at the kids to settle down and be quiet and realized that I was not modeling the behavior I wanted them to emulate. I am glad that grace is for moms, too! Teaching is going well. I have three classes for summer, so the month before the baby arrives will be super-full, but I am grateful for them.
I am looking forward to the birth and getting to meet this little person inside me! I don't have adequate words to express how grateful I am to my midwife, or how peaceful and joyful I feel about the homebirth. I'm still reading everything I can find on it. I enjoyed the Your Best Birth book (by the same people who did The Business of Being Born). In a quick sweep of the library, I had grabbed a book on having an easier labor, expecting it to have info on nutrition, exercises and stuff like that. I didn't read the whole thing, but the gist of it seemed to be to never, under any circumstances question the hospital policies or the deities in charge (any and all medical personnel) and get an early epidural like a good little girl. Um, yeah. Not exactly helpful, and I have no idea why they wrote a whole book on it. Going back to reading my Ina May books, and thinking of ordering a Sheila Kitzinger book with my next Amazon reward certificate.
I don't feel all that peace and joy at the moment about out church situation. Instead, I am really torn. I don't want to look for a new church or leave our current one, but we do need something to change. Interestingly, my two closest friends had both independently decided to visit another church in our area at the same time. I think we are going to join them! It may not be a better fit, but I know that being with my special sisters will be refreshing for me.
Ariana: She is growing up so fast! The Ames and Ilg books talk a lot about equilibrium/disequilibrium on half years. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it, but last year I was getting concerned because she seemed sooooo timid and so willing to do what anyone else, particularly Joel, wanted her to do, regardless of her own inclinations. She has snapped out of that with a vengeance! The last several weeks I feel as though I am continually admonishing her to be quieter, not to mess other people's things, be considerate of her siblings, and all sorts of other things that wouldn't have even crossed my mind last year. I am glad that she seems to be finding her balance there, though.
She has recently discovered the Lord of the Rings movies, and absolutely loves them. This is the kid who usually gets scared by anything--commercials, passing comments, things that would never phase Joel. I thought the orcs, uruk hai and fight scenes would be way too intense for her, but nope. She hasn't been scared once! Although she did confide that Gollum disturbed her far more than any of the other creatures, and that his eyes are creepy, he doesn't frighten her.
School is going well. We are almost finished with the state objectives for first grade, though she is technically supposed to be in K still. Writing, art and music could use a bit more work, but she is ahead in reading and science. Math is going well, although she is still working on the last part of first grade stuff.
Joel: Ah, my little sweetie-bops! I have been exceedingly grateful that during Ariana's more intense stages he seems to grow a little more laid-back, and vice versa. He is super affectionate and loving, and seems to have a knack for having other people like him. He is very rule-oriented right now, and seriously recites expectations whenever we go anywhere. He will gravely tell me that we should all stay together and not run away, that we need to use quiet voices, and that we must all hop like bunnies or wiggle our tails like little fishies as we walk to and from the car. He still likes to cuddle close while sleeping, and makes sure that he is snuggled up to somebody every night.
He is very media-focused. I should probably limit things there a bit more, but he is so physically active that it is easy for me to brush off my concerns. He loves video games and Sponge Bob. He is extremely good at the games and can even beat Carlos some times, and me frequently. Maybe he will be a game developer when he gets older!
Elena: She, too, is growing up ridiculously fast (yeah, I know, they all do). She won't be two for a few months, and I had planned to wait another six months or so before any potty training to give her a little time to adjust to the baby, etc. However, we switched from cloth diapers to disposables when my nausea was so bad, and either she decided she did not like them, or perhaps she was just ready. Anyway, she has been consistently using the toilet for the last couple of weeks, and the last few nights has woken up dry and asked to go to the bathroom instead! Whoohoo! I wasn't going to pressure her, but I have no intentions of trying to hold her back, either!
She has been using sentences for several months, but her speech isn't always clear to me, and I know she gets extremely frustrated if I don't understand. Her personality is not nearly as mellow as the other two. She is either very happy and smothering you with kisses, or she is furious. Her tantrums are terrible and awesome to behold. Before she was born, I knew she would be a warrior, and she has left no doubt about her capacities in that area. She is incredibly tender with babies, though. Ariana never played with dolls (although she loved Carlos' old action figures), and Joel only played with them briefly. Elena loves dolls, though, and carries them around, kisses them constantly, offers them leche, and screams and attacks Joel if he even looks like he might bother them (in typical big brother fashion, he has learned that pretending to tickle her dolls evokes a very exciting response and teases her with it). She adores her new baby cousin, and gently strokes his and kisses him.
About a month ago she broke out in a terrible rash. I thought it was in response to a few bites of pastry I had eaten that contained eggs. I've been diligent about avoiding, though, and while it is better, it still hasn't gone away. Her face is pretty clear, but her tummy, sides, and the backs of her knees are still pretty bad. She has been tested before, and almost nothing showed up, so I don't know what to eliminate. We haven't used any new soaps/detergents/etc or introduced new foods. I hate not knowing how to help!
Like everyone, we have our ups and downs, but I am so incredibly grateful for the family I have and for the amazing grace that God has shown us.