Friday, 29 January 2010

Ana's Arm

So when I took a good look at Ana's arm on Wednesday, I realized she definitely needed to see a doctor. I figured it was broken. And it was. In fact it was a complete break of the radius. Yeah, I am pretty furious to say the least at the family members who were taking care of her, they never took her to the doctor, AND DIDN'T EVEN TELL US ABOUT IT!!!! It's obvious something was not right, especially after weeks of being that way. She fell towards the beginning of January. Anyway, she's going to have to see an orthopedic surgeon and have it rebroken and set right because now it is healing crooked. Errrr..... If I knew Spanish I really might be calling and chewing a few people out right now. It's probably a good thing I don't know Spanish.


YES!!!! Ana is back with us!!!! Yeah!!!! She came home on Monday. Her birth mother had flown down to Colombia and then flew back with her to Miami where one of Leo's cousins met them, and then they spent the night at his house, and then he put Ana on a plane for home the next day. She's doing good. Happy to be home. It was so sweet to see Elena and her...they were both thrilled to see each other. She's back in school and in the bilingual program (one week in Spanish, the next week in English) and she's having serious difficulties with math. She's missed a lot. We had her Christmas and she was very happy with all her presents which was very nice. Santa did a good job. I have to take her to the doctor's tomorrow because she fell in Colombia (I don't know when) and her arm has a serious lump on one side, and she can't use it for anything heavy. Sigh. None of the people she had been staying with took her to the doctor or even told us about it. Errrr..... But hopefully it will be alright. It's a bit problematic though, because she's not insured at the moment. Double Sigh.

Things are finally coming together at our new place--yes, we're in a new house, or at least the top floor of a house. It's 1000 sq. ft. smaller than the nasty roach house, but I really feel blessed to have found it. It's in a really nice neighborhood, relatively close to Ana's elementary school (though still out of the boundaries), and has a nice big fenced backyard and a huge garage. Oh, and Leo and I have our own bathroom. Yeehaw!!! I'm loving that. Plus Ana still has her own room, which she is loving. I was a little worried because it's a dungeon room (we have that room, a storage closet and our laundry room in the basement, but that's it--the rest is a seperate rental). Her room has no windows, no carpeting, a huge pipe running down one wall, and before we painted, the walls were blackened with who knows what and it looked like there had been a lot of leaks. Anyway, I painted it blue (what Ana had said she wanted when we were dreaming of the roach house back in Colombia) and we patchworked carpet scraps together to cover the floor, and then with a few added touchs from a thrift store it actually looks quite nice. It does have a large closet and built in shelves and desk, so she has tons of space to put anything. Anyway, she loves it, which is the main thing. :) Yeah!! Plus, when I told her Aunt Amy's Christmas gift was that she was going to come decorate her room, she was thrilled.

It was kind of funny when we moved in because my Dad had called up our friends from North Dakota (back from my high school days) and had all of them come over to help move us in. It's weird to see people again after so long. I mean Thomas was who I went on my first date with, and Kayli and I hung out with him and Jonathon all the time. And then it's still weird to me that Carlie is married with a kid (her husband Robbie came to help). I still think Carlie should be 11. Hee. Hee. Anyway, it was very nice of them.

The house is pretty much unpacked now, but I still have quite a bit of cleaning to do--washing walls and that sort of thing. There are so many cobwebs everywhere! But my sweet sister Andrea and sister-in-law Lindsay came to help me clean today. More than anything, I think I just wanted their company. Lindsay Ann worked wonders on the one door though. She's amazing. And now thanks to Andrea cleaning my bathroom, the final two boxes in my room are emptied and gone. Man, I've just slowed down so much with moving into this house. It's been over a week and a half, and usually by then I'm all settled (I hate being unorganized and things not cleaned.) I've been really tired though. Oh well, I mostly just have pictures and whatnot to hang now, once I finish washing the walls. And getting Ana's room painted had been my initial priority.

In other news, I'm going in for a version next week. I'm both very happy and very worried. Happy because it is my only chance at not having another c-section and hence every baby after that a c-section as well. But worried because having a version after a c-section puts you at a lot greater risk for a uterine rupture with very ugly outcomes for the baby. Sigh again. I'm still going to give it a go though, because really I want at least a few more kids and c-sections stink.

At my WIC appointment today, I was lectured due to my poor weight gain. I've gained two pounds this last month. The lady asked if I was trying not to gain weight...that's definitely not my plan. And then she asked if I had food to eat. It's weird to have someone ask you that. And just if you're wondering, yes, we do have food to eat. Hee. Hee. I told I've just been really stressed out.

Oh, I have a new calling at church too.....I'm in the Young Women's presidency. I was initially really excited to be out of primary (where I've been since high school pretty much) but then I went the first week and realized why in the world was I excited to work with teenage girls?!?!?? Let me just say that the Kardishian sisters and Megan Fox (I don't even know who Megan Fox is, and I really don't care to) all came up somehow out of the lesson. Umm, yeah.

So that's all the interesting (well, that's debatable if all that was interesting) news at my house. But I have to share one funny story about Elena before I head off to bed. Elena has never been really good about the dark, but since living in the roach house, she's petrified of it. (We did leave a light on in her room, but she would come try to find us up the stairs and she'd make it halfway in the dark and then start to scream like she was being murdered.) So a good threat to keep her in bed and being good at night is that we'll shut the door. (Aren't we scary parents?) So one night Isabel was getting out of bed and we could hear Elena yelling at her, "Isabel!!! Get back in bed!!! Daddy will shut the door!!! Isabel!!!!" etc. It was kind of sad but pretty funny too. She also had to have her barbie get a shot at the doctor's the other day. Poor girl, she hid in the corner after getting her own vaccines because she couldn't bear to watch Isabel get hers. Elena's been altogether nicer and more calm lately. Although she can still shriek like a demon when she wants too. Isabel has a funny sense of humor and will purposely bug Elena to get her all worked up. What a rascal. I've really enjoyed watching their relationship develop lately. It's so sweet to see sisters play together.

Well, I really have to go to bed now. Chao.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

My unhappy thoughts with a gold lining

I hate mice. Not that I'm a scream-and-jump-up-on-a-chair-type of girl, in fact one year at girl's camp I won an award for cleaning up a dead mouse under one of the bunk beds. (That was an aberration though because usually I won an award that had to do something with starting fires.) Good times. Anyway. I really hate mice. Today I spent all day cleaning up mice droppings. And then I was in tears again because of all the things that I had to throw away. All my pictures and things from my grandparents' funerals (okay so I can get more copies from my mom--but still), my sketch book from a college class that I really wanted to keep (Kayli--you know, that honors class we were in together), and all my stock of thankyou cards and envelopes and such went straight to the garbage. Luckily, my wedding momentos and extra pictures and other random momentos I've kept over the years that were in the same container were okay because they were in seperate shoe boxes. Phew. Lesson learned here, even if you gather random empty chocolate tinfoil wrappers for some planned art project someday--don't keep them in a box with important things. Mice will find them. Also, the box with my baby tub, snugli, baby hiking backpack, and boppy was a major hit. The backpack I'm going to have to get professionally cleaned. The boppy was destroyed--I think the mice smelled milk. The baby tub has a foam pad in the middle--that was all chewed up. But I soaked it in the tub with bleach water, so I guess it's usable. The snugli and a few other things smelled okay once washed. Oh, I really hate mice. They really went after all my baby things. My infant carseat I had to soak in bleach water too. My mom had cleaned that earlier, but it still smelled awful on the straps and such. Also, there's an entertainment center I haven't quite decided on throwing out or not--I don't know why, but the mice really loved the lamp shades that I had stashed inside. And now the entertainment center reaks on that particular shelf. Those lamp shades were goners, but so was the lamp to one of them. Yes, the mice gnawed away at one of my wooden lamps. Why? I don't know. But even Leo agreed to toss it after I had him smell it (this was after I washed it down well and sprayed it with Odoban.) I also spent three hours washing down our food storage buckets. The mice couldn't get in those, but they sure had a party on top of them. It was nasty. I threw a whole box of cannisters away that had had powdered sugar and the like in them. The mice did manage to get in those. I wasn't about to try to clean them, and even if I had, I couldn't have brought myself to reuse them. Anyway, I've always wanted Tupperware cannisters instead of my cheap, junky Walmart ones, and Tupperware ones are on sale this month. Oh, did I mention we had to throw out every single one of our sleeping bags too? I'm scared to open up our tent.

But last but certainly not least, I found a dead, squashed mouse under a box today. It had been there a while. I made Leo scrape it off the floor and carry it outside. But I still have to clean up the bits left over tomorow. I really couldn't stomach it today. I have to go through all our kitchen boxes tomorrow as well. I've been putting it off because I'm afraid of what I might find.

But the good news from all of this--I have been extremely motivated to clean everything because, we're moving Saturday!!!! HOORAY!!!! I thought I could handle an occasional roach, but last night when I saw one climbing across our dining room table, I realized I can't. Not at all. But we've found a lovely house and I don't have to deal with them anymore!!! It's the top floor only, but it has plenty of storage and is perfect. It's too far from BYU for Leo to ride his bike, but I guess we'll manage. And it's the same price as the place we're in. Hallelujah. So on that note, I'll end so I can go to bed and wake up and clean tomorrow. Really, I should have been cleaning all tonight, but my stomach's being cramping so I thought I'd rest. What can you do, eh? (Well, I may have been avoiding that kitchen stuff a bit longer......)

Crepes and Waffles

I know I mentioned this place before but really, it's divine, and I needed a happy thought tonight. This is seriously the best icecream I have ever eaten in my life. So good. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Good News!!!

Finally, I have some really good news!!!!

First and best of all---Ana is coming home on the 25th!!!! Yeah!!!! The tickets are bought and things will all hopefully work out this time around.

Secondly---We were released from our contract. Hooray!!! My dad mocked the letter I wrote to the landlord about all the hard work we put in and my sob story about Ana and being stressed out, (he hates when students come to him with sob stories), but apparently it worked!!! Or maybe it was my other stratedy of telling him all the things we still wanted fixed. Either way, we're free and have already put in an application for another house. :)

Thirdly---I love Provo!! I want to have all my babies here. The hospital is super pro-VBAC, remember? But I thought my chances of getting a version post-c-section were slim to none, well not so. My doctor today said he would schedule me in for a version at 36 weeks! Yahoo!!!!! I am so happy. (To be frank, for those wondering, I haven't tried any of those methods to supposedly flip your baby because I've been too busy cleaning mouse-droppings covered furniture and then I drop dead asleep at the end of the day.)

So all three very good new items all in one day!!!!! I'm pretty much estatic. Plus, I bought Stephen's Dark Belgian Hot Chocolate and that's a good end to any day.

Yahoo!!! Yahoo!!! Yahoo!!!

Oh, and I won't be doing my sister's wedding flowers but I get to help, which is just as good because it's been so long that I was kind of worried I'd botch them anyways. But I still get to help. I love flowers. I love arranging flowers. So happy. Goodnight, I'm off to clean the rest of our furniture so it will be ready to move somewhere else. Then I may have another cup of hot chocolate. Yum.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Santa Marta y Otra Lugares

Did I mention that my kids LOVE the beach. Yes, yes they do. So does Leo. We really want to move to California. Just so you know. This was in Cartagena at a beach just in front of the "nice" hotels. We actually stayed at an apartment building with a kitchen that was much less expensive, but still decent. Oh, another tip about Cartagena. It's hot. And it's humid. Ana thought she was dying when she stepped off the plane from Bogota. And because of that, (not Ana's supposed death, the heat I mean) they don't have water heaters. At all. What you turn the tap for temperature is all you get. Elena and Isabel screamed a lot during their showers, I didn't really mind it because the water wasn't really that cold, just chilly at night.

We took a lot of tours in Cartagena, it's a pretty high crime city, if you didn't catch that before and we thought it would be safer than going off exploring by ourselves. Here we are at a mud volcano. It was really weird. You stayed very buoyant so you couldn't sink even if you wanted to. Elena and Isabel were not very impressed. I was only in there a short time because they both clung to me like they were going to die, and screamed the whole time. It was hard to maneuver around with them clutching me. When we got out and rinsed off, Elena said very empathetically, "That was NOT fun!"After the volcano we drove to another beach where we were fed lunch and played at the beach. It wasn't that great of a beach, but our tour group were the only ones there so that was neat. The lunch was pretty sad too. Oh well, for how inexpensive the tour was ($4 or $5 per person), what can you expect?

Another tour we took was to Santa Marta, another city on the coast about 3 1/2 hours from Cartagena. It has gorgeous beaches. Much nicer than Cartagena. It's also quite a bit more dangerous as a lot of drugs are run through the jungle around there.One day Leo and I would like to go back to Santa Marta and then go up to the Ciudad Perdida (the Lost City) which is what the pictures are of above. It's a three day hike through the jungle and once again, there's quite a few guerillas and drug runners there, so maybe not any time soon. Hee. Hee. To back track a bit, the night before we left for Santa Marta, I slept terrible, I was awake for most of the night and I had all these awful nightmares, and I was soooo hot! I turned on the other fan in the room to cool down, while Leo was shivering beside me. We had to get up at 5 AM to catch our tour bus, and I was feeling okay, only I used the bathroom three times in the space of 30 minutes. I didn't really put anything together till we went over the first bump on the road with Isabel on my lap. I thought I was going to pee my pants. Umm, yeah, I lasted about 35 minutes sitting at the very back of the bus with Isabel on my lap and very bumpy roads before I traded seats to sit further up in the bus and gave Isabel to Leo. By that point I knew I had a severe UTI. Literally, it was the worst trip of my life. (The only thing to compare is when I drove with my sister Amy from Canada to Utah, and she wouldn't stop for me to go to the bathroom the whole way through Idaho.) I was in agons y. We stopped halfway through the 3 1/2 trip in Barranquilla for breakfast and Leo walked with me to a pharmacy, but despite having the reputation of selling any medicine over the counter, they wouldn't sell us any antibiotics because I was 6 months pregnant. I almost cried. Martha came to my rescue during the next half of the trip. She called one of Leo's cousins who is doing her residency right now, and she got a prescription from an OB-GYN she works with at the hospital, and when we stopped again she went and had the prescription filled for me. I was having chills with goosebumps every so often in the 100+ heat with 90% humidity. I was in tears by the time we stopped. I rushed off the bus as fast as I could, asked the nearest guard where the bano was and when I didn't understand they sent someone to show me the way. It was a long walk. I spent almost the whole next hour in the bathroom, by that point I was peeing blood. But Martha arrived with the antibiotics, and luckily they kicked in quickly so by the drive home, I wasn't bad at all. Anyway, the place above is La Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, where Simon Bolivar died. Those are the only pictures I have of it, although it's a huge place and really beautiful, because, like I said, I was in the bathroom. It's kind of like the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. Anyway, there were huge iguanas walking around all over and beautiful grounds and gardens.
Yeah, and this guy is from Santa Marta, Carlos Valderrama. There's a statue in town that we passed. Definitely the coolest hair I have ever seen on a statue. He's world famous, if you don't follow futbol.
Another day we took a ferry to the Oceanario Islas del Rosario, a group of islands mostly covered in resorts or privately owned, but a few are national parks. The boat ride was long, another 3 hour trip. And their entertainment wasn't quite family appropriate. People threw up. Not us, luckily. I was not having the greatest time at all. Then we arrived.

It was gorgeous. When I go back to Colombia, I'm just going there, forget the rest of it. Seriously, it was the crystal clear blue water and the snorkeling was apparently great (I didn't go, due to a few kids that were hanging on me.) We at lunch at the resort and swam in the ocean and pool. The only problem with it was there was no real beach, they just had a cement bulkhead and then the ocean. We actually were supposed to go to this beautiful white sand beach (La Playa Blanca) but due to weather conditions we had to leave early and we couldn't go there at all. Leo and I were pretty sad about that. But by the time we arrived back in Cartagena and the ocean was rough and it started to rain, we were glad. Elena liked that trip a lot too, as you can see.

Friday, 8 January 2010

In Cartagena

One week of our vacation we spent in Cartagena, a very touristy place in Colombia. It's a port town on the Caribbean that been around since 1533 and was sacked and pillaged by pirates several times, including Sir Francis Drake. In response, over 200 years, miles of wall were built and a huge fortress. Cartagena was also one of two ports allowed to participate in the slave trade (the other was Havana) by the Spaniards and was one of three cities in all of the Americas to be a center for the Inquisition. It was a very wealthy and decadent city. Now that you have that little bit of history, I'll continue on.
Ana showing her hook.
Chilling with Tio Cesar and Abuelito at the beach. Isabel you can see, passed out that day. We thought we'd only been at the beach an hour or two, when Cesar came and informed us that we'd actually been there about 4 hours. We were having fun. My kids loved the playa. In the bottle you can see some of the shells we gathered and then Ana put them in a bottle and much to our surprise, we saw the little animals emerge later on.
We ate fish almost every day in Cartagena. Ana was not happy. She hates fish, and she was shocked to discover that both Elena and Isabel really liked it. In fact, Elena asked for pescado all the time after that. They also make patacones with plantains there that I really liked. Yummmm. And the rice they made with coconut milk, that was okay, but Leo doesn't like it at all.

Here's some views of the cool ships in the harbor. Or one of the harbors. There were the huge shipping boats at other parts and the huge cruise ships in still other harbors. Cartagena is still very much a port town.

This was us exploring the tunnels in the fortress. It was really cool, but at one point I was a bit claustrophobic. They said they made the tunnels really short on purpose so that invaders from Northern Europe would have a harder time, because they were generally taller than the Spaniards.
Here's some views of the fortress from outside. It was really fun.

And here is the beautiful old section of the city. It's all walled in by the old walls of the city and there's parts you're not allowed to drive cars into. It was beautiful. But if any one plans on going there, just be warned, the taxi drivers will totally rip you off given the chance. Martha and Orlando would get taxi drivers at half the price of Leo and I, just because of me being a gringa, although Leo quickly learned to call them on it.

Just some more beautiful views. We really liked the houses. These one had more of a Moorish look. However, on one particular taxi drive (where I think the taxi driver took a really long route just to rip us off) we drove around the poorest neighborhoods I have ever seen in my life. Seriously. There was several miles of little shacks of wood and scraps--which you could see into, they were so many holes in the walls--that were in streets with water and trash and sewage and pigs and little kids playing naked, usually soccer. It was terrible. Much worse than anything I saw anywhere else in the country.

But overall we had good times. Except for when my father-in-law was mugged at knife point. Luckily we weren't present then. Oh, and we went to church there and our kids were overrun. Seriously, when we stood up from Sacrament meeting someone came ooohing and ahhing over my blondies and took Isabel away and they were swarmed by charmed women from then on. They really nice though. (Cartagena is largely African descent, so we stuck out even more.)
They also speak extremely fast in Cartagena. I couldn't understand anyone at all! In Bogota, I was pretty good at catching the gist of a conversation.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


Why, why, why are all my babies breech??????!?!?!?!? On top of everything else, this little stinker is following the exact pattern of my other two babies and went head up at 28 weeks and has stayed there ever since. Ruff. Now I have to go in to my doctor and get the same disbelieving look I got from my last OB-GYN when I told her that Isabel was breech and never moved out of that position. Why don't doctors believe me when I'm a trained nurse and worked in a childbirth center!??!?!! They always give me this little lecture that the babies turn around a lot and there's still plenty of time before they're born so they may still be just fine. Yeah right. My babies do not ever go head down past 28 weeks, not ever. Even as I write this, I can feel a head right under my ribs--it's a bit uncomfortable actually. Errrr..... And here when I was so happy because the hospital I'm going to deliver at is PRO VBAC and my doctors' office is PRO VBAC, and now this. Who's going to do a version on someone who's had a c-section. Umm, nobody. Who delivers breech anymore--nobody, especially not after a c-section. I'm so mad. This baby is definitely in deep trouble when he gets out, and probably for the rest of his life. I may not forgive him. If I have a c-section with this baby that means I'll be stuck having c-sections for the rest of my kids, which not saying I'll have a lot more, but who knows? C-sections are soooo much worse than vaginal deliveries. At least in my opinion. Two weeks after having Elena I was perfectly fine. Six months after having Isabel I'd still have random pains. And I was so tired for so long. Not fun.

Anyway, I need help. Anybody that has any random old wives' tales about how to get a breech baby to flip, let me know. I'm desperate.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Children's Museum in Bogotá

One day we gave our kids a break from driving around and having to sit fairly quietly while we were visiting people by taking them to the Children's Museum. It was fun. However, Isabel was running a high fever the whole time, and then Elena started getting a fever by the time we left. They were still happy at times though.
Ana loved this room. Isabel was actually happy here too, jumping on the trampoline.

Elena was most happy here, playing in the bowl of cereal.

Leo and Ana managed to escape a horrid fate of being eaten by a fish. There was also another room with a little town and another room where they painted. All in all, a good afternoon.

Monday, 4 January 2010


"The last few days have been insane. My head is no longer working properly either--I'm blaming pregnancy. On Friday we unloaded our trailer from UPack with the help of my Dad, my brother Wyatt, my sister Megan and her kids, Ana, and three guys from our new ward. I almost cried. So much of our stuff was smashed and scratched. Two bookshelves bit the dust and one of my NEW chairs, the ones I slaved for by sorting those car parts last spring. Sniff. Sniff. A crib was broken, my new table scratched up, a new bookshelf gouged, our dresser deeply gouged, etc. Then I forgot to call to have the UPack to have them pick up the trailer. Yeah, luckily the storage unit called after three days and we had three days before they charged us. Then I tried to return the blankets that I had rented from Uhaul to cover my furniture (WHICH WERE NEVER USED FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON!) and some of them were still with Leo in Chicago, and so they wouldn't take them. And then when Leo did arrive after a 27 hr trip (7 extra hours added on due to bad weather and hence a necessary detour through Denver), they wouldn't take them back at the Ogden location, or well they would but at an extra $100 charge, so I had to drive all the way back to Provo to return them."

Above was an excerpt from a blog post I started to write back in October but never finished. Can I just say, things have not improved. Andrea keeps telling me that her December last year was a nightmare but in January, everything started getting better. I'm still waiting for that to happen. But this December has definitely been a nightmare.

Remember that roach infestation in our new house? Well there's still live roaches there. They barely repaired the oven on the 31st. I spent hours and hours with the help of my family repainting every single room and cleaning. To give you an idea, I spent three hours simply scrubbing the living room floor. Leo and I had to clean the kitchen all over again (Lindsay Ann, Andrea, and Kayli had cleaned it before) just to wipe out all the dead roaches. Anyway, we finally moved our stuff in from the storage unit on the 3oth, because we didn't want to pay for another month there. My parents, sister Megan and her husband Jared, and two teenagers my dad hired cam down to help us move. Leo and I arrived there just as they came with the first trailer full from the storage unit. And then Leo locked the keys in our van before we ever opened the house, so we had to wait for the locksmith. Also, once again I was in tears because mice got in our storage unit and everything was covered in mouse tracks and smelled horrible. We had to put everything in the living room and dining room and wash it all off before it could be moved anywhere else in the house. Literally everything had to be washed. My sister kindly bought us a huge bottle of Odorban from Sam's Club, and we definitely needed it. I spent the whole day in tears. Our couch had to be thrown away, along with a crib mattress. Our other mattresses stunk terribly. It was nauseating to walk into the living room, the smell was so strong. A lot of our food storage had to be thrown away. We hooked up the washer and dryer to start washing clothes to try to get rid of the stench, only then a hose burst and water went everywhere. Five minutes after that the downstairs toilet overflowed everywhere. Needless to say it was not a good day. The next day my parents took pity on us and came down to Provo again. My dad washed 16 loads of bedding and clothes, while the rest of us washed down mattresses and other furniture

Leo and I decided to try to get out of our contract for that house, it's just been too much trouble, and only some of the time have they been good about fixing things. So we haven't unpacked--well, we haven't finished cleaning our things enough to unpack anyway.

Can I just say, January better start looking up soon, I don't think I can handle much more. Oh, and yesterday, Isabel was vomitting and had diarrhea all day. I think I've aged 10 yrs. in the last two months.