35 is Halfway to 70

I turned 35 on the 12th. It was a quiet day. No sister here to bake a cake and all that this year, but the boys were up late making me gifts the night before. In the morning, they presented me with their creations. :) Dorian wrote me a comic book and Dante drew me several pictures. It was very sweet and they both made me laugh with their goofy humor. Dominic regaled me with kisses, since he’d been sent to bed on time the night before.

Irving bought me some wine and smoked Gouda to enjoy while we watched Arrow that evening, so that was nice. Plus, a friend stopped by to wish me Happy Birthday in person.

Overall, it was a pretty good day. The downsides were grumpy kids and tantrums from Dominic, as one might expect as a mother! No breakfast in bed, but that Gouda was delicious!

Rainbow Sky

A couple of nights ago, Dorian ran inside, shouting excitedly for us to come and see. “There’s a rainbow in the sky! A really cool rainbow!”

I figured he was just excited because he hasn’t seen many rainbows in his life. And then I stepped out the door and saw this:

We were in awe. The photos do NOT do this sky justice, but you can get a little glimpse of what we saw. It was like an oil spill in the sky. I half expected an alien mothership to come bursting through the clouds at any moment.

The colors smeared and bled and then finally faded to golds and greens and disappeared. It lasted for a good 20 minutes, though, and we stood out there watching the whole time. What an amazing spectacle!

Update: Apparently this is called a fire rainbow cloud. You can read more here and see a much better photo of one. I need a new camera, apparently.

Hi, Spammers! Plus a Little Update

Apparently, leaving your blog without constant updates encourages spammers. Every time I pop over to check, there are more spam comments telling me I have great tips for beginner bloggers, or asking what theme I use, etc. Even my spam filter isn’t catching them all!

I guess it’s good that my blog is big enough to attract the ‘bots and spammers? ?

In other news, things are chugging along here. My uptick in work hasn’t slowed down, so I’m still writing for long hours and trying desperately to maintain some semblance of balance. It’s all moot though, we basically get school done and I’m working until late at night. But, I never expect these things to last long, so I’m just going to enjoy it while I can. At least the kids like eating the fast meals I throw together every day!

The good thing is that I happen to love each and every project I’m working on right now. My clients are all awesome, pay quickly and the projects are all things I really enjoy learning more about. It’s made for a rather pleasant change from my usual dreary tasks of writing automotive descriptions and payday loan blog posts.

Irving has been super healthy lately. His blood sugar levels are great, even when he cheats and sneaks two packets of Oreos. Ahem. We’re all eating healthier, though, of course, it’s easier when I’m not working so much that I forget people around here neat to eat!

Potty training is done. Dominic has proven himself both at home and in the street, though he has had a few small accidents. In general, though, he does very well and is great about getting to the bathroom on time, on his own. I am still stunned to have a two year old who is potty trained, except for night, but it’s pretty awesome. We’re saving tons since we only need a few diapers each month.

The older boys are also doing well. They’ve been working hard in school and trying more foods and basically just showing how grown up they’re getting. I see more responsibility in them every day. Of course, they still fight and complain, but there are definite signs of being more mature, which is much appreciated and much encouraged.

How are my readers doing?

Yup, Still Alive!

I’m still here and still kicking, even though I haven’t written recently. Every time I start to write something, I get distracted and forget to do it. Oops.

So, what has been going on here? Mostly work. We took a couple of weeks off of school, which the boys have really enjoyed. During this time, I’ve been really pushing the workload, applying for new jobs and just generally trying to make enough money to do more than survive (that’s always nice, right?).

I’ve been getting more and more gigs doing ebooks rather than articles, which is nice. Irving has a ten day “tour” coming up in the middle of the month though, so I won’t be doing a lot of writing at that point. On top of that, we are working on a couple of new projects (no, none of them is a baby, in case you are one of the many people who thinks we’re going for a fourth!) that I’ll write about in the near future.

The kids are growing like weeds and enjoying their vacation. Dominic has really been coming into his own lately and is turning into quite the little clown! He cracks jokes and teases a lot, which is pretty funny coming from a 2 year old.

While we’re starting back to school tomorrow and I have another set of books to write, I need to get my bedroom organized so I can put my fabric away and start sewing again. I’m doing some things for one of our upcoming projects and also some NICU gowns for Pishamitas con Amor, a group in the capital that provides clothing and blankets for new moms in the public hospitals who have little for their babies. Some blog readers and friends have brought or sent down some flannel fabric and assorted items to make these gowns with, plus I had my sister bring me some when she came in April.

So, plenty going on around here! What are you doing these days?

Time Flies

I keep thinking I just posted here and then I looked and there hasn’t been a new post in May. Oops. Time just flits past me these days. So, what’s new around here? A few things.

Dominic has had quite the vocabulary explosion. He is using full sentences more often now and has started saying “me” and “I” instead of referring to himself in third person or just skipping that bit. He’s been practicing lying, as well, which is pretty normal for this age, if I remember correctly. He spilled water on the floor the other day and climbed onto the couch. When Irving asked him to get a mop and clean it up, he said, “Yo no hice NADA!” (I didn’t do anything!) We reminded him that he DID spill the water and he had to clean it up anyway.

He has also been copying his big brothers in things like climbing on furniture. He very proudly called us over the other day and showed us how he can climb over the back of the sofa. He was very excited about his success! We have to remind the big boys not to set bad examples by jumping off furniture though, because he’ll try that, too and fall.

Over spring break, both big boys made big leaps in reading and writing. I was even presented with some stories they wrote! I love this stage. Notes are constantly landing on my desk, comics are being designed and written and they even collaborate on some projects. It’s so much fun to read what they’re thinking! Dominic is getting into it, too. He wants to do school every day with his brothers and he tries to write, as well. We have some dry erase books that he uses on a daily basis.

The rainy season seems to have shown up and it’s been nice to have cooler days and cloudy skies. After the intense heat of last month, this is a welcome change. Makes it tougher to dry clothes, though!

What’s up with you?

Random Bits of Life

Dorian is learning about prefixes and suffixes in school, but he’s had a rough time trying to understand them. I did some research over spring break and found this fun idea. So I adapted it slightly and set up a prefix/suffix forest on the laundry room wall out in the breezeway. He got the concept quickly and Dante learned about word parts, too.

We’ll be adding new words to these trees and new prefixes and suffixes until I’m sure he fully understands.

Another project we worked on was chore charts. I drew a frame in marker on cardstock and had the boys decorate their own charts. Then I drew lines in the middle and we covered them with clear contact paper. I used Velcro dots to stick them to the fridge and magnets to attach a ribbon to hold the dry erase marker. Each day, I’ll fill in any new chores that need to be done and the boys check them off as they complete each task.

I’ve also been playing with food lately. Like these potato encrusted chicken nuggets with sweet potato fries. I had a tough time getting a photo because the kids were all over these! Dorian said they were the “Best chicken nuggets EVER!” and Dante said, “I never want to go to Pollo Campero again!” Pretty high praise from my picky eaters.

I’ll be adding links as I put the recipes up on Gourmet Mama.

Dominic has been obsessed with cookies lately and since we don’t usually have cookies in the house, I decided to try those two ingredient cookies with banana and oats. One cup of mashed bananas mixed into one cup of rolled oats and baked for 15 minutes at 350° and you have really delicious little cookies that the boys gobbled up so fast I had to make another batch!

I also made these carrot “cookies” which are really crackers. Again, big hit and they are good for you with whole grains, carrots and olive oil. Yum!

mini crackers

What have you been up to?

Happy Birthday to Me

It’s my 34th birthday today and since my sister is here, I got spoiled rotten! First, they all let me sleep in until 8:30. Then, I got this for breakfast:

My sister also stayed up half the night making me a cake that I wasn’t allowed to see until after lunch. It was pretty awesome:

For those who aren’t familiar with this car and the symbols, it’s from the TV show Supernatural.

Next up were some sweet gift boxes designed by the boys and some special cards they made me.

This is inside Dante’s card, Minecraft imagery and a birthday cake:

Irving took me out without kids for a bit and we went to look at fabric though I didn’t get any because I seriously have to sew some things with what I have first! Then we headed home and Sarah is making Baconators, some pretty unhealthy looking hamburgers. Well, I only turn 34 once, right?

My dad sent down some gifts with my sister. They are really beautiful!

I don’t even want to use them, they’re so nice!

Summer Bucket List

Irving and I have a number of things we have wanted to do with the kids or around the house for a while now. The curtains were one of the things we wanted to do. I figured I’d write out our summer bucket list so we keep it all in one place.

  • Take the kids to see a movie in the cinema. The boys have never seen a movie in a theater and I’d really like them to enjoy that while they’re still young. We *may* go see LEGO movie when it comes out here. Still not sure if we will exhaust ourselves looking for an English version or just give up and see it in Spanish. I doubt the kids will care, but I don’t really like watching dubbed movies.
  • Put a second level on the laundry room/bathroom. We are planning on putting a couple of offices up on top of the bathroom and laundry room, which would give us each our own space. Living in 200 square feet with three kids is not exactly easy. If my sewing space and all our stuff was moved into offices, we would move our beds into the boys’ room and the three boys could enjoy our much brighter and more spacious bedroom.
  • Visit the children’s museum. There’s a museum for kids near the zoo in the capital, but we have yet to see it! That’s got to change.
  • See the train museum. There’s ALSO a train museum, which I learned about years ago when Dorian was in his Thomas stage, but we never made it there. I want to take the boys before they’re too old to enjoy it.
  • Have more picnics. We used to do a lot of picnics in the ruins in Antigua, but in recent years, we’ve only done it when we had visitors. I think more family picnics are in order.
  • Paint the main room. Our paint job is getting a little old, what with kids bashing it and furniture scraping it up. This chore may or may not be left until later, however, because we may be raising the walls.

What’s on your summer bucket list?

Odds and Ends

The boys have taken it in turns to get sick over the past week or so. Dante was first, with a low grade fever for two days, then Dominic spiked a fever and has had a runny nose since. Dorian was the last and had a minor fever and stuffy nose for a couple of days. They recovered relatively fast, but now it’s my turn and apparently my immune system isn’t as great as theirs! Ah well. This too shall pass.

Lent has begun and so have the processions and concerts that go with it. This means that instead of heading out in the evening for a 3-4 hour gig, Irving is walking all day in processions. It is warm up for Semana Santa, for sure. This year, he will have to carry food with him, because of his diabetes.

Speaking of Semana Santa, my sister, Sarah will be here for it. She wants to get out and see some of the processions, of course, so I MAY try taking the kids to Antigua this year. We haven’t seen the alfombras and processions there in years because I don’t dare attempt it on my own with three kids and Irving is always working. Between Sarah and I, I think we can hold onto all three boys. I’m really looking forward to introducing her to molletes, my absolute favorite Guatemalan food! Molletes are bread filled with creamy goodness and raisins, then dipped in egg batter, fried and simmered in sugar syrup. Healthy? NO WAY! Delicious? A little piece of heaven in your mouth.

There has been quite a bit of work on the writing sites I work with, so it’s been busy lately. Fortunately, most of it is just pick up what you can, so I can work around school and Irving’s gigs. It would be awesome if there were this much work year round!

We got a pool for the boys. It’s six feet across and holds almost 200 gallons of water. I didn’t realize it would be quite that huge when I got it (on sale!), but it is perfect for them. Unfortunately, the rainy season seems to be appearing early, so we’ve had a lot of cloudy, cool and very non-pool days since getting it. They still enjoy splashing from the outside though.

Just a few of the random bits that have been happening around here.

There’s Something About Sofia

I have four nieces through Irving’s family (no one else in the family has had a boy yet!). The oldest is Zanelle, of course. She is the oldest grandkid in the family at 11. The rest of my nieces are named Sofia.

Irving’s brother, Vardin, and his wife, Evelyn, had the first Sofia. Her full name was Evelyn Sofia. We call her just Sofia, or the original Sofi. She was born when I was four months pregnant with Dominic and she died when she was just over a month old. She had Crouzon’s Syndrome, but her death was from pneumonia. There are a lot of weird things surrounding her birth and her death, but we will just leave it at the hospital not being the best place for her.

Sofia 2 and 3 were born a month apart. Diana Sofia was born to Irving’s sister, Diana, and her husband, Miguel Angel. She’s a sweet little thing, but she almost never smiles. I’m currently her favorite aunt, but Irving freaks her out for some reason. She also really loves Dominic. She’s almost 7 months old and visits frequently.

Alejandra Sofia was born a month after Sofia 2, to Irving’s youngest brother, Melvin, and his girlfriend, Alejandra (see a theme here?). They thought she was a boy until the moment she was born, so that was a huge surprise for everyone! She is a chubby little angel who has a ready smile. Unfortunately, there are a lot of problems between Irving’s family and Alejandra’s, so Sofia 3 doesn’t get the benefit of knowing most of this side of her family. I’m making sure she gets to know most of her cousins though.

Despite all three girls having their mother’s name as their first name, all three are called Sofia. Why? I’m not exactly sure. It could be a method of tribute for the original Sofia. Or maybe it’s because Sofia is a very popular name at the moment (Sophia is apparently #1 in the US right now). Or perhaps it’s just a lack of imagination. At any rate, I think we’re going to have to find better nicknames than numbers at some point in the near future.