Friday, January 29, 2010

I didn't believe it...

...before I got pregnant.

There are a lot of things that pregnant women say that to women who have never been pregnant seem ridiculous. I didn't believe, but now I do. Here is a list, though not an exhaustive one, of the things I didn't believe, but now I do.

1. You really have to pee all the time.
I go to the bathroom before I leave work. By the time I get home, 10 minutes later, I'm running to the bathroom again. The other day I got home, went, and not five minutes later had to go again. I even checked with Ramon, "I did just go to the bathroom, didn't I?" You piddle like two drops and it's sweet relief for about 20 minutes.

2. You waddle.
I thought that was totally exaggerated and untrue. It's not. I don't know when it happened or how, but I am now a waddler. Just a note to people who like to talk to pregnant ladies, you don't need to tell me I walk like a penguin or a duck. Believe me, I already know.

3. You have some seriously strange dreams.
Just this week I traveled to China and kneelers came out of nowhere, so everyone started praying, except my mom, she decided to have some dumplings. Then we decided to try to go from Mexico to the US illegally using only 15 bucks, just to see if we could. Good thing the Border Patrol thought my story was cool and let me go.

4. You turn dumb.
I can't remember anything. On Thursday I went to the grocery store, came home and happily went inside. About 20 minutes later, I remembered there were groceries in the car. Whoops. Thank goodness I didn't buy anything that needed to be super cold. (Another side note, I just realized that I had my numbers going from 3 to 5 skipping 4, case in point)

Here we are at 31 weeks. Ramon took this last Sunday. I'm surrounded with Ana Victoria's baby loot in what will be her bedroom. 60 days to go...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

On my mind

I've been thinking a lot lately about the differences between stay-at-home and stay-at-work moms. If the world were perfect, I would love to be able to stay at home with our baby girl. In this perfect world, I would also own my home, have two reliable and safe vehices, and always have spare money to travel to see my family. Fortunately and unfortunately, I live in the real world. None of those things in my perfect world are my reality right now.

And that's okay.

I get that it's a huge sacrifice and a huge gift and in turn, a huge reward to be at home. It's something that I'd ultimately like to do. Maybe I'll be able to when #2 comes around. Maybe not.

I'm making my sacrifice in a different way. I'm not continuing to work to get ahead in my career. I'm working because it means that my daughter will be able to know her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, in the US personally. We will be able to travel at least once and hopefully twice a year. We wouldn't be able to travel even once on one salary.

I'm working so that my husband and my daughter can have access to better healthcare and in case of an emergency, they will have way more opportunities for care. We can't afford outside health care on one salary.

I'm working so that my daughter will be able to have the best bilingual education possible in this city. If I weren't working, there would be zero possibility for her to go to the American School. As much as I can complain about the school, it really is the best there is especially for younger kids. This doesn't mean we want our children in this school forever because there are definitely cons to having our kids there.

I'm working so that we can save money to be able to buy a house for our family. I'm not working so that I have more money in my pocket, more coffee breaks and dinners out, more shopping trips, etc. We want a place where our children can call home and that we can call "ours."

I think staying at home is an incredible gift and a wonderful career choice. However, that doesn't mean that going to work isn't a just as beautiful and difficult sacrifice that a woman makes for her family.

Stepping off soapbox in 3, 2, 1.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Extreme laundry

There's a little something in Mexico that I like to call extreme laundry. It happens just about the time when you've washed the clothes, they're wet and then it decides to start raining. You improvise, what's the alternative? You take clean clothes off hangers to have somewhere to hang. You drape towels over chairs, you turn anything you can into a place to hang. Socks adorn windows like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Shirts hang from door handles. I have a feeling there will be some extreme laundry photos today. Bring it, Puebla and Mother Nature.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My dirty little secret...

To all you treehugging, environmentally friendly people (like I claim to be), this post will possibly make you loathe my wastefulness. Sorry, but only a little bit.

I have to say that I 100% believe in saving and taking care of the planet. Well, maybe only 95%. I use biodegradable trash bags. I take my canvas bags to the grocery store (even my hand-me-down Captain Underpants bag). I recycle even though it means putting my recycling in the car and driving it to the recycle center. I believe in carpools, walking, and using energy saving light bulbs. I'm considering putting a brick in my toilet to use less water. I hang dry my clothes (let's be honest, I do this partly because I don't have a dryer...)

I don't believe in short, cold showers. I hate them. I'd rather be dirty.

The shower in our house takes a good minute to warm up...and I just let the water run. I know I'm supposed to put a bucket in my shower, but I don't want a bucket in my shower. About 2 minutes into the warm water, it gets lukewarm again. I could rush and get my showering done, but I don't. I stand there like an ice sculpture staring at the showerhead, willing it to get hot again. 2 or 3 minutes later it inevitably does and I go on showering. The problem is that now I'm cold. So, I stand there in the hot water until I thaw and then I continue.

I know it's wasteful. I know it's wrong. But, I do it. Every day...And I love it. Sorry Earth, let me go turn off another light.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

You're probably thinking that there's no way it could possibly be cold. I've heard it all. "Why don't you have a tan? Don't you live in Mexico?" "It's hot all year round down there isn't it?" Well my friends, the answer is no. Right now, more than ever, it is downright chilly.

I propose this question to you. If it were 39 degrees outside your house, would you have your heater on? I sure would...if I had one. I live in a world where insulation and central heating are nonexistent.

My solution? One more layer, one more blanket, one more pair of socks, one more cup of tea, hot chocolate, ponche, etc. I'm thanking God for my built in heating system this winter, too.

Today, notch your heat up one more degree and think of us. Brr....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas, New Year and in between

This year was our first Christmas as the Alvarez Hickey family. Initially our goal was to spend the holiday in California with my grandparents since my grandfather has been fighting throat cancer since May and they weren't able to be at our wedding. Unfortunately for us, the cost of tickets(and then multiplying that price by 2) was just too much. Spending the holiday apart just wasn't an option I was willing to consider, so we decided that the best decision would be to stay in Puebla.

Ramon was given from Dec. 23rd-27th and from December 30th- January 2nd off. What a huge blessing since he usually works long hours with little to no rest/vacation. I enjoyed every minute with him, sleeping late, hanging out, and getting a new refrigerator! Getting to spend time together was definitely the best Christmas present.

Here in Mexico, Christmas Eve (Noche buena) is the big day to celebrate. We went over to his Aunt's house where the whole family gathered for dinner. First we rocked and sang to the baby Jesus welcoming him into our lives this Christmas. Then we had a feast, pork roast, pasta, apple salad, cod (bacalao), all the traditional dishes. We exchanged gifts, told stories, and laughed until late. Christmas morning was the hardest for me. When we finally woke up, Ramon asked me what I wanted for breakfast. I told him cinnamon rolls and immediately started crying. It was hard for me to spend Christmas away from my family. We went to mass on Christmas day and then went back to his aunt's house for leftovers. Everything is always better the second day!

Between Christmas and New Year I went for a whirlwind trip to Seattle. We had Christmas morning all over again (complete with cinnamon rolls) and spent the day together. This year we did a secret santa, which was the best idea ever. Not only did it lessen the stress of holiday shopping, but everyone seemed really happy with what they got. (Our secret Santas were AMAZING!!!!!) The next day, my sisters, mom and I went shopping crazy. We spent at least two hours at Babies R Us, then went on to Old Navy and Target. My friend Stephanie and her little girl Lucy joined us. It was great to have experienced moms around to give input. Ana Victoria definitely scored, big time. That night my friends came over for pizza. It was great to catch up with everyone, even if only for a little while. I returned to Mexico on the 30th, Ramon met me at the airport to help move the huge box containing the stroller and car seat, and the heavy suitcases full of loot.

New Year's Eve was at Ramon's aunts again and was similar to Christmas Eve. Eat, drink, laugh, repeat! The Parents' Association at the school gave us turkeys for Christmas this year, we enjoyed it thoroughly that night. At midnight, we had a toast, gave hugs all around and ate 12 grapes each for good luck in 2010.

Today is 3 Kings Day. Santa isn't the traditional gift giver here, though he and his reindeers have infiltrated quite successfully. The 3 magic kings come on the night of January 5th to leave presents for good boys and girls, just like they gave presents to Baby Jesus. Children send their letters attached to balloons or leave them in their shoes for the kings. Ana Victoria got a teddy bear and a Tigger "grow with me" toy. What a lucky girl, she's not even on the outside yet and she got the most presents of all!

Part of starting a new family is starting new family traditions, sharing eachother's family traditions, and combining them to create our own. It was a blessed, family and joy-filled holiday and I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Growing Baby

As the baby grows bigger and the time before her arrival grows shorter, irrational, wild and downright weird fears just seem to grow increasingly common in my world. I'm sure that's probably normal and as the fears pass I can laugh about them, but in the moment they really get to me.
For example, the other day when I got on the plane, the stewardess made me sign a letter that would pardon the airline in case anything happened to me or the baby during the flight. So, I signed because I had to and then my mind started to spin. My conclusion was that the pressurized cabin was going to change the pressure of the amniotic fluid and the baby's ears or eardrums were going to pop. It was enough to make me worry the entire flight...
Another example, the baby moves. A lot! She is always spinning and kicking and who knows what else inside of me. This should be, and is, a wonderful sign that the baby is healthy and growing. I, on the other hand, got the idea in my head that there wasn't enough fluid and she was kicking me to try to get out. I couldn't fall asleep for like 2 hours worrying about it. Ridiculous, I know, but try to get that through my brain in the moment!
Today, I woke up with the deathly fear of becoming hugely fat. So far, in 28 weeks of pregnancy I've gained between 12-15 pounds. Totally normal. I decided today that I'm some how in the next 3 months going to turn into Violet from Willy Wonka who turns into the giant blueberry. Maybe it's because I got a matching sweatsuit for Christmas and now you can really see my belly??
I'm hoping these silly fears subside, or at the very least are replaced with rational fears. It's hard to believe that in just 12 weeks, our baby will be here!
On to what you're all really interested in: Belly pictures.
This one is at 24 weeks in front of our first Alvarez Family Christmas tree.

This one is at 27 1/2 weeks in front of the Hickey family Christmas tree. (Note the matching sweatsuit)
Merry Christmas from us to you!

The move

We have been in our new place for a month already. It's hard to believe that a small 3-bedroom apartment could feel so big. But, after the glorified shoebox that we lived in before, this place is enormous.

The move didn't exactly go as planned; nothing ever does! The school decided at the last minute that they didn't want to help us out. Ramon scrambled to make other arrangements only to have them fall through at the same time we were supposed to start moving. The move also happened to fall on a weekend where he had a ton of work so Saturday afternoon he ran around town finding a moving service, only to return to work until about 3:00am. The truck arrived at 8:00am on Sunday.
This is now where the story gets funny, like all things Mexico, there has to be something that makes me laugh. One would think that four burly men would have arrived at our doorstep, but no. I'm not joking that I was probably taller and bigger than all of them. They quickly loaded the boxes and then began with the big stuff. Pictures are worth a thousand words, so I'll tell this part
of the story with pictures.
Mattress? Check.
Bed frame? Check.
Couch? Check. Anyone want a ride??
Box of Kleenex? Check. Ramon, ever the hard worker!

Once the truck was loaded, we headed to the new place which should take max. 15 minutes. But, no, we just happened to move on the day of the Puebla Marathon. The city closes every, and I'm not joking, every main thoroughfare in the city and doesn't provide alternate routes. It took us an hour to make the 3 mile journey.
Now, we're all moved in and the only thing left to do is get the baby's room ready!

I owe you...

...many posts and many updates. On the list of things to post about

1. The move, finally.
2. The new house.
3. Baby Alvarez updates and pictures
4. Christmas and New Year in Mexico
5. My trip to WA.

Ramon went back to work today and I have the house to myself. I now have internet, but still no cable which means there will be plenty of time to update in the next couple of days. So, stay tuned to Casa Alvarez and I promise there will be some action.