Monday, August 30, 2010

Valentina at 3.2 months

Valentina is so special because:
1.  She smiles and laughs most of the day.
2.  She is sleeping through the night now, from 9:30p.m. until 6:00 a.m., wakes for a feeding, then back to sleep until 8:30 a.m.
3.  She can roll over from back to front and will scoot herself around on her back all over the place.
4.  When she is grumpy or cranky, Salvatore usually calms her right down by just talking and singing to her.
5.  She nurses so well and will caress my face and neck and gaze into my eyes at every feeding.
6.  She kicks and splashes like a little mermaid in her bathtub.
7.  She usually puts herself to sleep with very minimal or no effort on my part.
8.  She makes the cutest grumpy face before she cries, as if to politely warn you.
9.  She is a great baby on long car rides and long days of running errands.
10.  She never seems to mind that many people still mistake her for a boy, though she sports her barrettes and earrings with great confidence.

*Be sure to read the previous post to see why my handsome brother is so special!

Salvatore at 2.8 years old

Salvatore is so special because:

1.  He LOVES his sister and always wants to be with her and help care for her.
2.  He always puts his dishes in the sink when he is done eating.
3.  He wipes his mouth and chews with his mouth closed.
4.  He has many songs that he likes to sing while we are driving, including Take Me Out to the Ballgame, California Girls, Break Your Heart, and Find Your Love.
5.  He will entertain himself with his cars, trucks, and books when Valentina gets fussy.
6.  He can read the signs of many stores and brand names and will shout them from the back seat until you acknowledge him.
7.  He memorizes the books we read each night and often reads them to Valentina.  
8.  He sits patiently at the table while I am cooking and does not get up without first asking if he may be excused.
9.  He puts all of our dirty clothes in the hamper and will put his shoes away in his closet.
10.  He loves to eat cookies and always shares his with Benedict!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Valentina is a Richman Racer

Auntie Rosie took this picture of Valentina in front of our school office the other day.  Valentina and her brother came to help me set up my classroom before school starts on Monday.  I love how my school loves and accepts my children! 

For Grandpa Bill

Happy birthday to Grandpa Bill in Florida!!!!!!

Our Angels in the Outfield

Friday, August 27, 2010

Universal Studios

Familia Licona took the kids and Lolo to Universal Studios last weekend.  It was really hot and Salvatore was fighting a head cold, but we still had a wonderful time!  Here we are waiting for the Animal Actors Show to begin.
I know it's a far away picture, but I got to "meet" Marge and Bart Simpson!  The little recreation of the city of Springfield was amazing, complete with a Kwik-E-Mart that sold Duff Beer and Homer's pink sprinkled donuts.  To know me is to know that I am a huge Simpsons fan.  My dad and I got to ride the ride while David waited with the kids.  
Valentina on the way to Universal.  She was such a great baby the entire day!
Salvatore was full of excitement on the way, though his cold kept him pretty grumpy while we were there.
Below are photos of us as the Flintstones, Salvatore and Milhouse,  and proud Lolo and his girl!  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cutest Fan in Attendance

David and Flavio took Salvatore to the Angels vs. Rays game on Monday, August 23rd and half way through the 7th inning, Salvatore graced the TV!!!!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Daddy Coaching His Destiny

David coaching Salvatore in the park.  
With uniform, socks, soccer cleats, cones and plenty of black and white soccer balls.
Salvatore following daddy around the cones, doing different drills and skills.
Stretching, warm-ups and cool downs.
David has played soccer all of his life and feels so happy to see his son share his love of the game.  
Valentina and I sat on a blanket nearby and watched. 

 I learned a lot from watching David coach.  Coaching is so similar to teaching, yet it takes a different path, one that encourages all the growth, character and development that comes from an organized sport.  
Some time later, we were watching this program called "I Scored a Goal" and it interviewed all of the players who had ever scored a goal in a World Cup game.  The stories and flashbacks were incredible and each goal was its own special moment in time.  One player said that he remembered watching the World Cup with his dad and his dad was crying over the final game, and he told his dad to not cry because one day he was going to score a goal in a World Cup game.  And he did.   And it made us cry...just to think of our "one day."

Salvatore and Joaquin 2010

Well, we packed in a few play dates this summer and here are the highlights:

Checking out the trains!
Swimming at Splash!
More fun times on the train steps!
Together on an airplane!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

1, 2, 3!

Propped up, ready for the first picture..
Take #2...
And there she goes on take #3!

All Thumbs

My guess is that she will be a thumb sucker.  Or should I say that she will suck her thumb. 
She searches for her (left) thumb if I am not around.  
I don't know what it means to be or have a thumb sucker.  Public opinion ranges from "who gives a s$#t" to "oh dear God, you've got to stop this horrible habit now."
  I am sure some of you readers will tell me that you were a thumb sucker also.
  So tell me what it means.  Is it really no big deal?  Is it a long road of insecurity and therapy?  Is it something in the middle that only time will tell?
  I gently redirect her hands every time I see her even about to do it.  It's not working.
Maybe she'll stop once she starts shoving toys and playthings in her mouth.  Maybe she'll do it till she's 3 and then stop on her own.  Maybe she'll do it forever.
So far, it is the greatest difference between Sal and Val.  Most of you know that Sal never put much in his mouth!  

Triple Blessings

August 18, 2010 is important for three wonderful reasons:
1.  Happy 69th birthday Dad!
(photo from when he was 4 years old-looks like Salvatore:)
To the best father and Lolo around!

2.  Happy 3 year anniversary for us!
We were married by Father David at St. Philip Benizi Church in Fullerton.

3.  Happy 3 months for Valentina!
She has added tremendous joy and love to our lives and we are complete with our son and daughter!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Oh, her hair...

is like Rod Stewart

crossed with Joan Jett,

crossed with Liza Minelli,

crossed with Tinkerbell!

she has "bed head" 24 hours a day

it is the first thing people comment on

and most people try to touch it

You wouldn't believe how soft it is on your cheek when you are holding her!

Del Mar 2010

Another fun family trip to Del Mar for the horse races. This makes it the 16th annual trip!
Tio Brian and Valentina, hoping for a win!  Salvatore's highlight this year was seeing one of the jockey's fall of his horse in the middle of a race.  He talked about it for days!  There was no money to be made this time, but it was still a really fun trip for us all!  

Thursday, August 12, 2010

99 reasons to love $.99

All of this fresh produce seen here cost me exactly $9.87.  I bought it at my local 99 cents store.  Really.  The cost for these exact items at Albertsons would be approximately $28.00.  No joke.  I have been doing quite a bit of cost comparison shopping lately, because we have to survive on a tighter budget...and it is changing my life!  Seriously!  In the last 3 weeks, I have saved my family $300.00 in grocery costs by purchasing certain items from the 99 cents store.
Here is how I did it:
 David took me into the 99 cents store and I started making a list in my iPhone of things I WOULD POSSIBLY buy.  I went up and down every single aisle and made a list.
Some things I took off of my first list.
More things have been added to my first list.
Here is my list:
Baby shampoo, vaseline, Q-tips, cotton balls, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, shampoo and conditioner for David (most guys don't need the fancy stuff, plus they have a huge variety of wonderful scents), Pepto-Bismol, Nyquil, Comet, Palmolive, tortillas, spices (they have ALL varieties), salt, pepper, dressing, Kraft mayo, cans of tuna, beans, Campbell's soups, crackers, chips, candy (bars and bags), cookies, lettuce, bags of onions, garlic, bags of potatoes, shredded carrots, frozen corn and peas, italian squash, tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, oranges, green bell peppers, red bell peppers, jalapenos, mushrooms, celery, cans of kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, white beans, pasta, Shasta soda, Gatorade, bleach, plastic tableware, band-aids, and spinach.  The only thing I may take off the list are baby wipes.  They come 80 to a pack for 99 cents but they are not the best quality.  Actually, the quality is fine, but they do not pop up automatically and this drives me insane.  I have found that the pink packaged Care Bear brand wipes are the best of the bunch though.  And that change alone has saved $10 compared to the wipes I buy from CostCo.  
I then went to CostCo and Albertsons and now have three lists, one for each store, of things we buy from each place.  It is so much easier and healthier for my family to plan meals now.  I use Costco for the big stuff-chicken, steak, salmon, diapers, dog food, etc. And I still go to Target and Albertsons occasionally for the specialty stuff.  
But a quick trip to the 99 cents store is also easy because it is never too crowded and the check-out lines are very fast.  Plus, I only need Kindergarten math to figure my total, count each item and that is how much I will spend!  Here is wishing you Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Corn Festival Fun

Valentina staring at the ponies while Salvatore was saddling up!

Salvatore made a basket and won two plastic inflatable swords that provided hours of fun.
Hanging around, enjoying the food and games.
Bonus that we get to spend a little time with Uncle Paul, when he has a break.
Uncle Paul always has a Jr. Police Officer sticker for Salvatore to wear.  Another fun yearly event!

Salvatore Rides Again

We went to the annual La Habra Corn Festival this weekend where Lolo likes to take Salvatore on a pony ride.  This was his third time.  Salvatore rode this horse named Cinnamon like a pro!

Below is last year's picture, when Salvatore was 20 months old.
Below was Salvatore's first time on the pony, when he was 8 months old.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Prettier and Prettier

My littlest one is getting so big..and so beautiful!!  She is now 2 1/2 months old, weighs 12.7 lbs and is 24 inches long.

Flashback two months ago when she was 3 weeks old, and just a little peanut!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Potty Training For Real This Time

I decided to start really potty training Salvatore. For real this time.  With results.  

This fluke decision came from PURE BOREDOM one evening.

I had nothing else to do one late night so I made him sit on the potty, which he has done many times, and this time expected an outcome, which he had yet to produce, until now.  

He cried for 30 minutes, but never once tried to get up or run, so I kept my cool and my hands to myself and just sat next to him on his little stool until he did it. 

 Finally he did.  

Then I cried because I was SO HAPPY!  You should have seen his face when he realized that he did it!!  

Next day, he cried again, but he did produce again.  Here we go, I thought.

He hasn't cried since, and he runs for the toilet each morning.  Sometimes he sits for 1 minute, sometimes it takes up to 20.

He has had 4-5 successes each day this week (#1, not #2 yet), and two accidents.

I let him run around naked, which he does not like, but when he is without clothing, he is successful every time.

The two accidents happened when I jumped way ahead of myself and put cool Lightning McQueen underwear on him.  He couldn't really feel as well that he had to go with the underwear on...we will try this again soon, but I think I did it too soon. 

He still wears diapers and I am not ready to try this out in public yet.  I won't have "freedom from a diaper bag" for a long time anyways.  

But it has begun, and we will slowly forge ahead.  It is hard to spend so much time in the bathroom, so close to the toilet (though it is so clean) with a little baby who is more and more aware and awake longer each day.  

But we are so proud and to see him so proud of himself is surely the reward.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Baby Bath

Both kids love their bath time.

Valentina got a soapy mohawk here.
Salvatore, sans mohawk, loving his bath but questioning the intruding camera.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Are You My Mother? Part 2

Here is part 2 of Salvatore reading this story to me and his sister.  The Blogspot will not let me load a video longer than one minute, so that is why it's in different parts.  You can hear him speak some words in Spanish.  As his proud mama, I love to hear his sweet voice and to see him continue to develop his love for books, pictures and stories.  As an educator, it is exciting for me to see him memorizing things, making connections and growing each day!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Are You My Mother? Part 1

Salvatore's wonderful Auntie Patty gave him this classic book, Are You My Mother?, and it is his new favorite!  After a few times reading it, he now prefers to read it to me and Valentina.  We love it!  This is part 1, please visit again for the next few parts.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


My sweet friend Janice gave the kids matching pajamas from Old Navy and the kids look so cute together when they are wearing them!  I love waking up in the morning and crawling into bed together to watch cartoons and laugh and love!

More Sweet Smiles

She still loves to be swaddled!  Salvatore only liked it for about a month, but when we swaddle Valentina, she instantly smiles, coos, and sleeps like a champ!
Early morning smile!  The photo actually looks like she has teeth coming in, but she does not...just the light reflecting off of her saliva.
I love that my big boy still finds backyard swings thrilling!