Saturday, February 24, 2007

February is coming to a close!

First and most importantly, I would like to ask you all to PRAY for this beautiful little girl named Jillian. Just a couple of short weeks ago, a football sized tumor was found in her chest and she is now undergoing chemo therapy. You can visit the listed website for more details, but please pray for her health, and for her parents and 10 siblings as they go through this difficult time.

Well, this week in bitter cold Chicago, we had a heat wave: it was in the 30's F (between 5-10 degrees C). So, we were finally able to get out of the house and we went to pay a visit to my brother Scott's family. Here is Joshua with Dillon.

And then Joshua with Cheyenne.
Joshua is about 8 months older, and it is a toss-up as to which one is taller!

And Dominique with Cheyenne. They love playing dress-up!

Here is Dominique with Gabriel. Dominique is about four months older than Gabe, and again it is a toss-up as to which one is taller in real life, but in the pic Gabriel definitely looks taller.

This is my new "thing" ~ wrapping my baby up in a long piece of cloth. This is him wrapped up in a saree I bought 10 years ago in India. Glad I finally found a use for it! I think it is about 8 yards long. He feels totally secure in this and it is comfy for me too, because his weight is evenly distributed between both shoulders. And my hands are free, which is often necessary these days!

This is our Valentine's Day date. Israel still gets to go on dates with Mommy and Daddy! :)
The bad thing was that Fabio was getting sick! You can tell in the pic that he wasn't feeling up to par. He only went down hill from here and was in bed for several days. He is fine now though!

Funny Im only getting around to posting this now, when most of the snow is melted, but this is what happened to us last week! Lots of snow!

Here is my big helper girl Dominique. She LOVES to help me vaccuum, and Joshua does too. In case you are wondering, yes, she painted this shirt all by herself!! That was one of our snowy day projects. ;-)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Da Basement's DONE!!!!!

I had five more pics that would not upload for some frustrating reason, but these will give you a good idea anyway.

Here we go down the steps. You can kind of see in this pic that there is a doorway to your right just at the end of the stairs. That is a "bedroom". We aren't supposed to have bedrooms down there because of lack of fire escapes, but that one was grandfathered in, so it stayed. Continuing on straight at the end of the steps takes you into the main area (family room), and if you turn to the left before you get there, you will head to the future bathroom and the crawl space room.

So, once you get into the main area and look toward the left, this will be your view. Since we couldn't have rooms and still wanted to break it up a little, Fabio put a partition in and that is what you see here. You can see the couch sticking out behind it. On the left side of the partition (where the trampoline is) will be our school/scrapbooking/sewing/play area, and to the right will be the family room. Fabio designed the built-in shelves here that I just LOVE! For CD's, videos, books and decorations.

Moving to your left, we are now in the "play" area, where you can see more shelving in the partition, the arch window that has the couch on the other side of it, and the fireplace on the wall in the family room side.

Here is the couch with the arch window above it. That way I can keep an eye on the kids no matter what side they are on. ;-) And yet more shelving next to the couch. Notice by the ceiling the detail with the lighting. Nice touch, eh? It is also wired on either side of the couch for surround sound stereo. :)

You can't really tell in the pics, but Fabio put rounded "bull-nose" corners in most places too.

Now the couch is to your right and you are looking back toward the steps from the back wall. More cool "wall boxes" there and the arching doorway leading to the hall. Just outside the arching doorway to the left is a nice big closet. :)

And that does it! We still have to get situated down there and figure out how to organize stuff. And we need some men to help take the rest of the furniture down. But for now, it sure is nice to be able to use it and for the kids to be down there without getting full of sawdust/paint/ drywall mud/ etc. all the time! And for Fabio not to have to use every spare minute to work down there. :-D YAY!!!!!!! WOO HOO!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

So they really DO love each other!

Guess what? I caught the kids being good yesterday and had to snap a shot of it! Well, I actually do catch them being good every day, just not necessarily to each other! They occasionally do play nicely together, but often they bicker. Sometimes it's because Joshua has a program and Dominique doesn't feel like going along with it, and sometimes it's because Joshua is playing something that Dominique is too little to do right, and ends up wrecking it. Or other times, they just both want they same toy, or something like that. I once asked our pastor if there was a way to raise children without them bickering with each other, and he replied that yes, there was: you could raise them in separate houses!

Anyway, they are learning, and moments like these are encouraging to me! I had let them watch a zoo video and when I peeped in to check on them, I found them like this. Melted my little heart! And after my negative opening comments, I should add some positive ones! Lately they have been enjoying playing hide and seek together, even though Dominique doesn't always get it. She often pops out of hiding just as Joshua comes into the room, exclaiming: "TA-DA!" And sometimes Joshua plays on her level to make her happy. The other day I heard him say to her, "Follow me, Dominique. Come on! Just relax!" I'm not sure what he wanted her to do, as I was sick and comatose that day, but it was cute. :)

They also like to do art projects together and usually do well sharing crayons and supplies. They are learning how to get along, little by little. :) Too bad it doesn't just come naturally, eh?

One of these days I will get around to ordering that little book with the clever title, by some of my favorite authors: Raising Cain without Killing Abel. Written by Christian parents of 15 children, I'm sure I will find some further helpful advice there. ;-)

In other news, there isn't much. This extreme COLD has been keeping us in, like it or not. We are running out of groceries and my list of errands is piling up. But one of these days, it's bound to warm up, right? Until then, we are mostly hibernating. :)

But we actually do have really GOOD news: the carpet is being laid today in the basement!!! WOO HOO! I will post pics later. I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited I can hardly contain myself! Now we will be busy "moving in" down there and getting things situated and re-organized.

More later. :)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

7 wk old Israel and the Superbowl

Here is my beautiful baby boy, 7 weeks old now! It has always seemed to me that the weeks of pregnancy drag, but once the baby comes, they FLY by!

After many tries, a nice sibling shot. Israel wasn't looking, but oh well.
They love him to death and want to hold him all the time! He is getting too big for them to hold him like they did when he was first born, though, which decreases his comfort level...

One in sepia....

And it will be the last time he can wear this outfit. The jacket is still okay, but the pants are both too short and too tight. They are 3 mo size.

Chubby boy. I wish I had some digital pics of Joshua at this age so you could compare. Sometimes I think they could have been twins, and other times I think Israel looks a lot different.

We made it to two superbowl parties this year, merely for social reasons, as neither of us care about football! Here is Fabio and the hispanic guys.

And before that we hung out with my family. Here are my neices and Dominique playing dress-up. They are so cute! Jessica is wearing the dress I wore in her parent's wedding. :)

This is a little blurry because she was moving, but Dominique's new favorite thing to do is curtsy. :) It is so cute! She even does it wearing pants, stretching out the bottom of her shirt! Such a little girl.

And, *finally* our first family photo! Took long enough! Joshua is in a stage where he thinks it is really cool to pose and make funny faces for pics...

Well, this week has been different and more restful, mostly because Fabio hasn't been able to work much in this extreme cold! It is wickedly bitter cold out there! I haven't wanted to get the kids out either, so we've mostly just been hibernating. We got a bunch of snow yesterday and the kids were dying to get out and play in it. Fabio let them go with him to scoop the walk, but they didn't last more than about ten minutes! It was too freezing cold!

Note to Eiko-san: Tegami morai mashita! Arigatou! Mata kakimasu ne! :)

More later!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Quick Update

Well, blogger is being dumb again and keeps deleting my pics for no particular reason, *after* I've waited forever for them to be uploaded... ugh. So, for now, what you see is what you get!

Fabio is still putting finishing touches on the basement, but the actual real end is in sight! The trim is done, the doors are painted, and now the stairwell is done too. That is what Joshua and Dominique are helping with here.

Fabio couldn't drywall the stairway or it would have made it too narrow, so he decided to texture the block walls to add some character. He is so creative! :) Since that is something that doesn't have to be nice and smooth or anything, the kids got to help and had a blast doing it!

Of course, Dominique had to try it on another freshly painted wall, but other than that, it went great!

It is so good for them to get involved in real life daddy projects! I'm so glad Fabio takes the time (and extra work!) to let them help when he can. Joshua especially thrives on it, and declares himself to be a carpenter. He says that when he gets just a *little* bit older, Daddy's gonna talk to his boss to see about hiring him on!

Many hands make lights work!

I think the last last last thing is the built in shelving, and then the carpet will be laid in about a week and a half! YAY! The light at the end of the tunnel!

Dominique and Joshua are both asking constantly to hold the baby, which is great! Usually Israel is fine with that too, but sometimes he is less than thrilled with the change of hands.
Here Dominique is thinking, "I have no idea what to do with him when he cries like this, but sucking on my fingers at least helps me feel better!"
Joshua's preferred method of calming Israel's cries is to sing "Jingle Bells" rather loudly in his ear! I'm not too sure why he picked that song, but it doesn't always seem to have the desired effect. It does possibly drown out some of the crying, though! :)

This is Israel last Sunday, the day he turned 6 weeks old. Tomorrow he will be 7 weeks already! Already he looks bigger than in this pic. Today I really noticed him pushing himself with his arms rather than just lifting his head up! I'll have to try to get some pics of that soon. He still loves to be on his belly, awake or asleep. Even being held, his favorite position is on his belly, over my arm. Sometimes is it kind of frustrating because I want to LOOK at him, but he often starts fussing if I turn him around. So, back to his belly he goes!

I haven't really taken any pictures this week, though. These are all from last weekend. I tell ya, every time I *think* I'm just about back on the ball, I fall off again! LOL. It has been one thing after another. This week I had a really "fun" case of mastitis that kept me down for a good couple of days. My temp reached 103.6 and knocked me out! I have had similar infections before, but never this bad. The Rx? Rest, extra fluids, increased nursing, hot compresses, echinacea, mega doses of Vit C, and plenty of raw garlic. ;-) The raw garlic was especially fun to ingest a clove at a time! I once heard that eating raw garlic makes you lose weight. It actually doesn't, but your friends tend to stand so far away from you that you look smaller. ;) Well, it wasn't from the garlic, nor was it my preferred method of accomplishing it, but being sick did take off a few more postpartum pounds. Hey you gotta look at the bright side, right?! Also on the bright side is the fact that my mom was able to come help, and that I was comforted to know that I was not contagious!

I asked a few moms of many when I could expect things might get back to normal and they assured me that in about five to ten years, things should be much easier, regardless of how many more children have come along by then, as long as I am being diligent in training now. I think that was encouraging! I'm sure we'll have a lot of fun and make a lot of memories in the meantime. :)