Friday, December 31, 2010

We Will End 2010 with...

Salvatore being potty trained!!! Yay to my smart, handsome, silly little guy who is figuring this whole "potty" thing out and for mommy who remembers each day that this is "training", not "instant success." 

 And now for our acceptance speeches:

Salvatore: "I would like to thank my mommy and daddy and abuelos, tias, and Lolo for helping me along this awkward journey to being diaper free.  I need to still tackle successfully using restrooms in public, but am sure of myself here at home each day.  I now use the potty each day on my own free will and can easily pull up and down my pants.  I will continue to use diapers at night.  I am so glad that my parents did not give up on my me or my learning process.  I feel so proud of myself when I can wave good-bye as we flush the toilet."

Shalimar: "I would like to thank the horrible rain for once making me slowly forge ahead since we were all homebound.  I would like to thank David's family for also helping out so much and for not minding if we had to dart into the bathroom in the middle of your shower (or flush the toilet) just to put him on the potty.  I would like to thank the sticker chart, although he lost interest in you after just 3 days, it helped me to organize this seemingly impossible job. I would like to also thank ahead of time the stores, friends houses, and public restrooms that we will surely have accidents in or with, so bear with us!" 

Everyone told me that at age 3, something would just CLICK  for him. Well, it did not.  I kept waiting for the click, for him to be ready, willing and able all at once and it did not happen.  I got so frustrated with the sticker chart and the silly books and feeling like I had to throw a huge party every time he went.  One step forward and two steps back would just about be the death of me, or so I thought.

One night, after tossing and turning for hours, I decided to reread old posts on my blog.  I reread the one about us taking his nighttime bottle away from him and remembered how THAT felt like the worst thing in the world to go through.  And I remembered how silly I felt afterwards for being so afraid, and for waiting so long.  Our kids need our help to get through things, over things, around things, and to grow.  So, whatever and however that looks for you with your kids or your life, go forward, don't let fear hold you down or back, and you will eventually find success!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Rainy Day Play

This is Salvatore's new favorite game. 
 He loves to practice picking up the cotton balls with the tongs and then he switches hands and practices some more.  His dominant hand is his right hand, and he was very confused the first time he tried this with his left hand.  I challenge him by not letting him use his other hand while attempting this.  I love that this is great for his hand-eye coordination, his motor skills, his math skills and that there is no mess to clean up when he is done. 
 He continues to amaze me daily with his ever increasing wit and vocabulary.  He is just so, so, so neat and fun.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

7 Months

7 months of pure love and joy...

She is changing and growing each day...
She is starting to wave and imitate her baby sign language...
She is acting like she wants to crawl...
Like this...
Here we go....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More Talent in her Little Finger

I have a nice friend, Melissa, who made these wonderful gifts for me before and after I had my children.  Upon hearing that I was expecting a daughter, she made this beautiful blanket for her and gave it as my baby shower gift. SO GENEROUS!!

We use it daily and you can see how much Valentina loves it!  

Back when I was due with Salvatore, she made me this blanket for him.
He also still loves it!

When I returned to work this past August, I wanted to be able to carry stuff around with me when I didn't have pockets, so I thought of Melissa.  I wanted an apron.  I had the idea to give her Salvatore and Valentina's old clothes and asked to just make a patchwork apron from it.  I did not know what to expect, but she created the most beautiful apron.  It looked even better than I imagined and she found a great way to blend all of their clothing together!

Now, every time that I wear this apron, I have sweet reminders of Salvatore and Valentina!  I had originally just been saving some favorite clothes from them in a plastic bag in our attic.  This way, I can have the special memories with me whenever I want!  
I will call on her soon again, to make some more special things for some special people in my life.  Melissa, you come from a talented and wonderful family (her mother and sister teach at my school and also make incredible crafts), and we are blessed to know you all!  
Anyone interested in Melissa's special talent, please contact her at:

Saturday, December 18, 2010


She was a vision...

Classic crying photo.
Reading her first prayer book.
Proud abuelos.

Proud great-grandparents.
Her baptism...(I was standing behind the Deacon)...and she did not cry.  Love the proud look on Brian and Fabiola's faces!
Paying attention like a good little girl.
Valentina and her Godmother before we left.  We had a wonderful experience, just like with Salvatore.  Thanks be to God for our healthy children and our wonderful, loving family!

I Like to Ride My Bicycle

Salvatore is LOVING his new bicycle!  We practiced every day last week before the rain came.  I love seeing him learn something new.  He has a really good attitude lately about trying new things and being patient with himself as he goes.  Now, whenever he sees another person on his/her bike, he wants to ride with them.  Our goal is to be able to all ride together this summer down by the beach.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


My Sita (maternal grandmother in Arabic) came over yesterday and brought wrapped Christmas gifts for the kids from my Aunt Lisa.  Salvatore was SO EXCITED to show me the presents.  They had unpacked the big bag and scattered them in my dad's house first.  Salvatore kept telling me to follow him to Lolo's house to see the great presents.  We walked back there to my dad's house and as Salvatore led me into his living room to show me, he enthusiastically spread him arms out wide and yelled, "TODAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!"  
He was trying to say, "Ta-da!"

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gracias Nana Janet...

...for thinking of us each year as you create cute stuff to make...

...and for giving us the chance to get a picture like this...
...and for raising such a great daughter...
We love the hats!
We love posing together.
We hate to take them off!

6 months

Valentina Lourdes is 6 months old!

She has been spoiled by her Sita (my mom), her Lolo (my dad), her abuela (David's mom) and by her abuelo (David's dad).

She is getting so big and so bright!  She sits up all the time now.  She loves playing with all of her brother's toys.  She gets so excited when she sees Benedict.  She talks, coos and babbles so much, just like her big brother.
She does not really seem to like her solid food that much, it is more of a hit-or-miss with her on any given day.  She would much prefer to nurse all day and often waits for me to return home from work to eat most of her meals.  And she is no longer sleeping through the night, which is awful on me, but the house full of family is worth the change.  I have learned from Salvatore's experiences that it always works out somehow, someway. 
She is just so precious.  We love her and take turns holding her and playing with her all day.  Salvatore is the best big brother and we are so proud at how they interact!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Piece of Paper

I am tired of hearing people (especially celebrities) say that marriage is "just a piece of paper."  Not to me.  I have a piece of paper from the state and one from our church with a date and a time that proves that we did it, but my marriage is never about that paper.  It is about commitment.  It's about love. It's about acceptance.  It's about family. It's about communication and forgiveness and laughter and friendship and support and it is hard and easy and challenging and rewarding.  Ask any widow if they think it is just a piece of paper.  I know that not all marriages are happy and sometimes a divorce can save your life and lead you to better things.  But it is not a piece of paper.  

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Family Party

We had a family birthday party for Salvatore today..he will officially turn three this Tuesday.

My mom and I made his 3 birthday cakes.  Mom did the fancy white and blew us away with her skills!  I made the chocolate and another not pictured. 

Lolo and Salvatore
Sara and Valentina
His new bike (thank you Tio Flavio)
Parents, grandparents and great-grandparents
Sal's turn at smacking his pinata with encouragement from Fernando
The really good-looking gang
Tio Brian and Tia Rebecca
Tia Suzanne with her girl...our day was filled with laughter and love!  
We are so blessed and THANKFUL to have you all in our lives!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Valentina's Song

Salvatore, just like his mommy, is absolutely obsessed with music.  He tries to sing along to anything he hears and he definitely has grown-up taste in music and enjoys the latest pop, hip-hop and some classic songs.  At night, he will often hum himself to sleep with one of the many songs stuck in his head.  
His new favorite is titled Just the Way You Are, by Bruno Mars.  We say that it is Valentina's song, because of how he sings that the girl in his life is perfect just the way she is.  When he hears this song on the radio, he gets crazy excited and insists on singing it to Valentina.  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gracias Tia Maylo

David's parents, mis suegros, have come to visit and we are overjoyed!  They brought many cool toys and nice clothes from Mexico and Salvatore loves them all.
David's sister, Mayda, gave them these cute hats.  
Muchas gracias, Maylo!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Salvatore picked out these keys for her to play with.  He guessed that she would love them and he was right!  I love to see them interact...we are blessed that he has always been loving and accepting of her!  They share a room now and it is nice for both of them!  

Friday, November 26, 2010

My Handy Manny

We have slowly been fixing little things around the house when there is $ to spend on that sort of thing.  Salvatore has been wonderful about helping us out, keeping himself occupied, and "fixing" his own stuff.  We gave him a little squeegee to play with and he has not put it down.  He calls it his "spongee" and he uses it everywhere!  After taking this picture of him, he asked me if I was proud of him.  "Oh, I am SO proud of you," was my reply and then I told him to take a picture of me to show him my proud face.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rice, rice, baby!

On her 6 month birthday, we gave her her first taste of rice cereal and she loved it!!!

Here was Salvatore when we gave him his first taste of rice cereal when he was 5 months old.
I love how they were both smiling and waving their hands around.

She loved it all and I ended up giving her two tbsp.
Sal liked his first cereal, but not as much as she did.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I do it for Jack

I started recycling.  Although it is good for the environment, that is not what drives me to do it.  I only get about $8.00 a month, so it isn't for the money.  I started after reading what Jack wrote in his first grade journal.  It does make me feel good, and I do use the extra change for gas and baby wipes, but the "pat on the back" from a kid who can express how he loves Mother Earth is the best incentive!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Watch her watching him

A huge thank you to my wonderful friend Jennifer for passing on this fun little kitchen for the kids!!!  I knew that Salvatore would love it, because his favorite place to be in the house is in the kitchen with me.  Ana also passed on the blue Bumbo seat for Valentina and we are so grateful!  I love to watch them play...but mostly love the way she stares, follows and watches his every move!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Some Valentina Milestones

I hate to admit it, but I have not been good at filling in her baby book.  It is now mostly on the blog.  I had a nice little calendar for Salvatore all filled out, and that is how I can look back and check and compare the two of them.  But, anyways.  Here she is sitting up.  She's been doing it for about a week and will either last for 2 seconds or 2 minutes, but she is practicing!

Here she is blowing raspberries and just being simply adorable.  You can also see her two bottom teeth, which came in 3 weeks ago.  She bit her own toes the other day and immediately gave me the saddest look and cried.  
Valentina will be 6 months old this Thursday, the same day her Tio Brian, and Godfather, turns 33 and her Aunt Suzanne turns 33+10.  

Senior Citizen

I took Benedict in for his yearly immunizations and he was a champ as always.  I don't think he even feels the needle at all.  And he LOVES our vet and they love him too! 

 While waiting for the vet to come in, I was reading the "How Old is your Dog?" chart on the wall.  According to his weight (92 lbs.), he ages faster than dogs weighing less.  Benedict is 5 years old and will be 6 on March 2nd.  This March, he will be 48 dog years old, and according to vet science, this will begin his senior citizen time.  He will be considered a senior citizen dog until 9 human years, which will then put him into the geriatric category.  

I started to cry as I read the chart. 

 A senior dog.  Benny.  The one who still jumps on every person who walks in the door.  Benny.  The one who still scampers around the backyard like he did as a puppy.  Benny. The first thing I ever owned that had me changing my plans, my mind, and my life.  
The first thing I ever spent more money on than myself.  The first thing I ever let sleep in my bed and lick my plate clean.  The one who cost us so much money in home repairs with his teething and chewing and digging and barking.  The one who taught me more about patience, love, and being a teacher than my credential program did. 
 Benedict, we love you. 
 We don't walk you enough and you are pretty much bossed around by all of us, but we love you.