Sunday, December 20, 2009

resolutions resolved.

i'm not a big new year's resolution maker. i prefer to set goals - and if it happens that i need to do that at the beginning of the year, okay, but mostly the goal setting is a year round, non-stop kind of thing.

my biggest goal of 2009 was to keep my pregnancy from becoming the only thing i blogged, facebooked or twitted about. and, for the most part, on june 4 most were surprised to see amely's beautiful face here.

besides that, we, as a family, wanted to declutter our apartment some (didn't happen), spend more time in god's word (we joined a wednesday night bible study) and get into more of a real routine because our work, study, play time is so bizarrely dispersed throughout the week (not a chance, my work schedule has shifted no less than 6 times in the past 3 months!)

after amely arrived, i needed sorely to get back in shape. it hasn't happened but we're working on it. the doctor's finally gave us the go-ahead to put amely on a less fattening formula (to supplement the breastmilk) in october and me the ability to stop the bodybuilder protein shakes (to fatten up said breastmilk) in late november. now with the baby properly gaining weight, i can probably get myself in shape in 2010.

my biggest goal - and something that is really important to me - was to read more. the dominicanrepublic has a poor culture of reading (for many reasons) and i want my children to grow up reading. the only way to get them to read is to be a good example. it's hard to me to get my hands on books - they're expensive and there are no public libraries and i don't really like reading in spanish anyway. so i beg, borrow and steal whenever i can. it leads to reading A LOT of books i'd never REALLY read on my own, but sometimes i'm pleasantly surprised. i read my students' school reading to better help them and read a lot of blogs. go figure.

this year i've read somewhere around 30 books. proud! next year i'd like to get my hands on more than that - but with two now mobile children, i doubt that it'll happen.

i've got some new goals in mind after my monthlong break from work. if they happen to kick in around new year's i'll post my "resolutions" here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

snow NO

snow snow go away.

we want to go to chicago


cross your fingers that we'll be outta here on sunday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


sweet baptised girl.

sweet sweet chicago.

it's been quite a while since i graduated from college. and i haven't been back to the windy city since.

not that i haven't wanted to.

but it's complicated, and expensive, to fly to new york and then to the midwest. i've been blessed by friends who've come to philly to see me (and more recently, us.)

but now it's time.

on saturday morning, the kids and i will fly to chicago!! i've got no itinerary other than "see people we LOVE".

it's a little overwhelming, but i'm beyond excited.

Monday, December 14, 2009


i don't shop in the dominican republic. i mean, groceries... yes. clothes?no. shoes? sometimes. homegoods? nope.

it might sound bizarre. a lot of people assume that the cost of living is low because it's a third-world country. and sure, there are some things that are so inexpensive it'd blow your mind. you can rent a 5 bedroom, 5 bath MANSION in a fantastic area of the city for less than a thousand bucks a month, add a swimming pool and it doesn't go much higher than that. our electric bill has never reached $20 and our water neither.

but. the good things in life. they're expensive.

a pair of old navy jeans could run you $60. and i just bought a pair yesterday for $21. and bras and underwear? forget about it. one pair of walmart quality underwears could run up to $6 and the cheap stuff they make on the island falls apart the first time you wash.

so what's a girl to do?

i save my pennies all year. put them in a special bank account for when i travel. then. i don't bring ANYTHING home with me. that way i have two full suitcases to carry back.

now i'm in the zone. i've got three weeks to stock up on everything we need. the tricky part, though, is that i never know what we're getting as gifts and that the really good sales are after christmas. but alas, ido what i can. everything from undershirts for amalio to deoderant for me (to clarify, the deoderant in the DR is regular priced but i've yet to find the brand i like).

by the time i'm ready to pack my bedroom looks like a storage locker for target.

on today's itinerary. ikea. hopefully it'll be the last real trip to ikea because a store is being built in santo domingo. we'll see what their prices look like when it's finally finished!

happy shopping!

Friday, December 11, 2009

it's cold out there!

it's been unseasonably hot in the santiago this year. november and december usually are presents of fresh breezes and cool nights. a gift from the universe for having to endure 99% humidity 10 months of the year.

but this year. well, this year the humidity has been 110% with temperatures touching 90 nearly everyday.

no, really, i have no clue what the temperature is because with the lack of a weather channel, i'm a little lost. but it's hot. H.O.T.

and the nice afternoon rains that cool things off in the summer are non-existant. and the baby? she's allergic to hot. so you can imagine the craziness the ensues when the scales tip a high 60, it's screaming and pure locura.

now, my mom is a little nuts about the heating bill and the heat here is just as amely loves it. f.r.e.e.z.i.n.g. she's happy as a clam in her cute little winter clothes and when i took her to the store today she kept pushing that pesky fleece blanket away from her face. because, shoot, who needs a blanket when it's just a little above freezing?

blankets are for sissies!!!

samil, i think, is cool with the cold. he loves his hat and coat and even his little red mittens. not a fan, though, of the wind. yesterday the wind blew so hard he looked at me, all serious like, and said "fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu, whoa mama".

Thursday, December 10, 2009

i don't usually do this...

at the end of my sophomore year in college my room mate and i decided we could not handle the crazy north park dorms anymore and we needed out! the problem was we didn't have enough credits to compete for the smaller apartments and didn't really know anyone we'd want to live with in a larger apartment. not that there weren't people, but at small evangelicalchristian colleges (read: dry campus) you gotta be careful about who you chose as a roommate. you never know who follows the doctrine and who doesn't. lots of secret sinning in those places and jae and i were just a little more open about ours.

alas. we had a friend who was looking for roommates for her and two of her friends and who knows why? but we ended up in a 5 person with no one we knew.

sarah. oh, sarah. she was in africa during the housing lottery and i didn't even meet her until we moved in. but what a lovely treat of a room mate. she baked and cooked and baked and cooked. delicious.

we have a similar history now. after college she went to democratic republic of congo where, as a missionary, committed the eternal sin of falling in love with a local. oops. went back to the states for grad school and then got married. she's got a beautiful son, liam, who i'm sure loves his moms ability to throw down in the kitchen.

she might just be the epitome of mommy-blogger. her entire blog, the buki blog is about her son and family. and on top of being super baker cooker extraordinaire, she is thrifty. a girl after my own heart. couponing and everything. i do'nt have time for that.

but the point is right now she's got this giveaway going on for a puzzle and samil LOVES puzzles. you can win it to, check her out at the buki blog and the sponsor at i just hope we get it, puzzles are expensive and my genius child loves them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

why i left. part 2.

my dad came to santiago to pick me up this weekend. we didn't have a lot of time, so i planned a day trip to jarabacoa, a beautiful mountain town about an hour from us. the inspiration for jurassic park. gorgeous.

i thought that a friend of mine was still working at the episcopal conference center so planned to swing by on our way to see some of the waterfalls. wrong. he's not there anymore. in this diocese they switch priests like every three months. it's a little crazy.

we pull up and everything is closed up. i ask the neighbors what's going on and they tell me new missionaries are in charge. and they left for the day.

no problem, let me park here and we'll walk around and then leave.

when we got back from the walk the new missionary was standing out side waiting. pissed. before i can even introduce myself she says "you're melanie".

yes,friend. i am.

then proceeds to tell my dad he's not dominican. oops. because she thought my dad was my husband. and that she can't show us around because she's leaving. but really she had just gotten home. as quickly as she could get away from me, she got in her car and drove in. then closed the huge gate.

okay. i just re-read that and it doesn't seem like anything bad. i can't really capture the attitude. i didn't really expect her to show us around but i also didn't expect to have the door slammed in my face.

on top of her lack of courtesy, i'm bothered that a missionary would be in charge of something that was once dominican run. i believe that the job of a mission or mission ministry is to raise up local leaders to run the church. and so to put some old, rich, white lady priest to be in charge of a huge conference center, church and school in a super poor area shouts that americans are the best and we must become like them.

as we were leaving the little neighbor boy told me, "don't worry they're like that to everyone" didn't surprise me, but still kind of made me sad.

the history of mission is hard. but i see the episcopal church in the dominican republic running right back there. to the cultural imperialism, to the "we're better and more powerful so follow us" and to the white is right and money speaks ideology.

sometimes i feel like if they local priest in santiago were changed i'd go back to the episcopal church in the dominican republic, but then i'm reminded of why i left. why i'm no longer there. it's so much more than having married amalio and not getting along with my partner priest. it's that i'm not better or more holy because i'm the one who can afford the mission.

someday we'll find a church home and be content with it. and maybe then the bad feelings will disolve, until then, though, i'll have to live with that nasty taste left in my mouth,

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

why i left. part one.


that word leaves a nasty, nasty taste in my mouth.

there's the history that goes with it. stripping people of their culture and beliefs, forcing european standards as the only way to get to heaven.

though that forced conversion is nothing compared to modern missions.

i tried to get over it. i did. i became a missionary. but in the episcopal church at that point we werecalled volunteers. i'd have rather been a missionary. it's like the church didn't want to own up to what they were part of.

my year of service was interesting to say the least, and in the end i left. not just being a missionary but the episcopal church as well. and, to be real honest, it took me 4 years to go back to church at all. and even still i'm not thrilled about it.

that's not the point of my post though. the point is. i'm not a big fan of missionaries. especially in the dr. and that's not to say i don't have friends who are missionaries or that i hate the people.


i have a really hard time reconciling some things. like how do you work with the poorest of the poor and go home at night to your mansion? to your country club membership? to the nanny who is raising your kids or the thousands-of-dollars-per year education for your children?

i mean, i guess it's somewhat necessary to compartmentalize so as not to burn out or become a ridiculous zealot. but still.

and i know that it's not all people.

i just get really frustrated when i get dirty, dirty looks from those same missionaries when i tell them i left. and that i no longer participate in organized missions (but that we continue to be active members of our communities, giving our time, energy and money to ministries... on a very local level). and that we sometimes go to that baptist church down the street. and sometimes to that non-denominational church across from the supermarket.

as if our church hopping is not suitable for an ex-missionary.

all of this has a point of something that happened this weekend that made me realize, again, why i left. i'll write about it tomorrow, but in order to tell you that i had to tell you this.

and if you made it this far without trying to spit in my face through your computer, please know that i'm aware that not all missionaries are nasty. and not all live in mansions and not all compartmentalize their lives. i have two very dear friends who are missionaries that i love and adore. it's just that my vast experience has been dominated by the other kind of missionary.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

home again home again jiggety jig

back in philadelphia with internet access and a phone. running water and a water heater.

the only drawback is the snow.

Friday, December 4, 2009

books i read in 2009

the brief wondrous life of oscar wao - junot diaz
the last symbol - dan brown
death be not proud - john gunther
the hiding place - carrie tenboom
handle with care - jodi picoult
the art thief - noah charney
capitol conspiracy - william bernhardt
breaking dawn - stephenie meyer
new moon - stephenie meyer
eclipse - stephenie meyer
freedom writers diary
a million little pieces - james frey
diary of a wimpy kid 1 & 2
twilight - stephenie meyer
return of the prodigal son - nouwen
my sister's keeper - jodi picault
three cups of tea - greg mortensen
the shack - wm. p. young
fool - christopher moore
the first apostle - james becker
hatchet - gary paulsen
water for elephants - sara gruen
the westing game - ellen raskin
dreams from my father - barack obama
house of dark shadows - robert liparulo
Colors of the Mountain - Da Chen

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

long awaited...

samil, who used to love the camera, is anti-pictures. i had to bribe him with chips to get this.

5 months old

Sunday, November 1, 2009

for reals.

so, the computer finally died. and samil has temporarily incapacitated the camera. beyond that life is super busy. and not with anything really significant. just busy. and eventhough i hate this, just some tidbits

amalio - currently working on a master's degree in applied linguistics. working full time at school and writing papers.

melanie - teaching. same as always. about 20 hours a week. i've got a new little pet project i'm helping with and of course raising the babies. cooking, cleaning. and being without running water for a week.

samil - is completely potty trained (really he has been for awhile but i never said it on here. not to brag. potty trained before his second birthday). understands english, spanish and korean but doesn't have to many words to show for it. he's getting there. if someone touches the baby the wrong way he tells them "careful, baby."

amely - is getting huge. and as seen in the last post is starting to eat solids. she is a bowl of laughter and smiles. and her eyes are still blue... so much for trying to deny her american-ness.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

all in a day´s work.

amalio woke up for work this morning a little late.

and when he got downstairs, the front, drivers side tire was flat in the car.

and it was much easier to leave it for me and take the bus to work.

and if you know anything about latin american culture, you can just imagine the dirty looks from women and disbelieving stares from men as i went downstairs in my house dress (because, yes, i wear housedresses) to change the tire.

one guy even tried to take the job out of my hands...

because you know women can´t change a tire.

(and if i trusted that a dominican man could change a tire i would have let him, but i´ve seen enough in the past 5 years to know that i should never assume a man with a car knows how to change the tires or jump it)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

tooooooooooooo early

samil has decided it´s fun to wake up before 7.

and of course, the naptimes -do not coincide.

which would be fine if amely didn´t go to bed at 930 but wake up at 3am to tell me how incredibly disgusting this unseasonal heatwave makes her feel.

hopefully soon it will no longer reach temperatures of 600 degrees farenheit and 90% humidity.

Monday, October 12, 2009

one month ago

sorry,friends, i´ve got to play catch up on photos to keep these grandparents happy ;)

amely at 3 months ... september 4, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

for my mom

amely @ 4 months
samil @2 years

my babies

Monday, September 28, 2009

ghetto fab...

you know you´re super ghetto when you car sports a sticker that says: getto neggir

the irony of the sticker?

it´s on the back of a toyota corolla sedan.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

casi casi

tomorrow i´ll spend some time taking all the documents off the computer so that we can reformat and have a computer again.

amely is officially an american citizen after a brief visit to the consulate in santo domingo yesterday morning.

we´re finally over the flu bug that was running around our house, but samil is still coughing and taking medicine.

my cleaning girl is visiting her family in haiti visiting her family this week and i miss her desperately. who knew that two days of week would be my sanity?

samil is spending 2 hours a day with a babysitter. he loves it. and he loves her boyfriend (and has for a long time now!) and it makes teaching a lot easier.

hopefully i´ll be back soon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

false alarm.

i was super excited this weekend when my neighbor was home on medical leave escpecially because by day 2 of a 6 day leave he was completely healthy and able to fix the internet card on our laptop.

i´d be connected! i could email. i could facebook. i could blog.

but alas, not 24 hours after the gift of internet, a nasty, nasty virus took it away from us again. the slarity (or something) virus ate our computer.

it´s back in our neighbor´s capable hands. unfortunately, he´s back at work, so who knows when we´ll get back in again.

it´s time for a new computer.

Monday, September 7, 2009

not lost. just cut off.

after a four month fight with the local phone company, they finally reinstalled our phone service.

only not with the same phone number.

which is the only reason why we were fighting with them in the first place. if it hadn´t been for that phone number we would have just went with another company a.long.time.ago.

now, we´re in the process of cancelling the phone and going with another company.

talk about frustrating.
and since we´ve got the phone, it´s only fair that we don´t have internet.

living without communication is... something else. luckily we´ve had no emergencies that require communication with the outside world. and even luckier to have neighbors who share their phone and now their computer.

i´m hoping to be back in the world of connected soon.
pictures to follow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

off the grid...

our computer is in the final stages, i think, of stage 4 compu-cancer.

i´m currently typing on my neighbor´s computer, because eventhough the computer is sick, she´s still alive. barely. and her keyboard had some amputations (thank you, dr. samil) and the internet card is twisted and no longer fits in her bay.

we have a computer waiting to be picked up from the shop. but even that computer is missing a little part.

add our computer problems to our non-existant telephone line and we´re off the grid.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

just a few days...

one of the hardest things of ex-patriating myself when i was so young was leaving behind my family and friends... one of the easiest things, though, is being young enough to make new friends easily.

alas. i miss my family. i miss my friends. i love my new friends here, but there is something to say for people who have known you for years and years. people who have watched you change and grow.

and still love you.

my brother has been here for the past five weeks and in just a few days he will be gone. we won't see him again until december and after that not until summer. i thought it would be difficult re-learning how to live with him - we didn't do such a good job at it when we were littles. but, i found him a teaching gig, got him a spanish teacher and we've kept busy enough to make it work.

and work it has.

amely already has him wrapped around her finger - eventhough he claims to hold her so much so that he doesn't have to help with anything else, we know it's because he likes carrying her.
and samil loves him. and has included his name is his preciously limited vocabulary. but only when he wants something. he's MAh-MAh and recently because of his stuffed up nose, PAh-PAh... but when he wants something, really wants it he's GANDEE. (you know, Danny, in Samil talk)
and i can't be more grateful for his help during this transition from 1 little to 2 littles. from help with the potty to cleaning up poopy-underpants to cooking delicious dinner and buying me empanadas.

we've got a few days. no teaching this week, but he's got spanish classes. as long as mr. mechanic fixes the car today we've got some trips planned to go out with a bang.

thank you..

Saturday, August 1, 2009


last weekend when we were visiting the in-laws it was brought to my attention that amely is tiny. and by tiny i mean really skinny. i mean, we knew she was small and have been doing what we can to fatten her up on breastmilk - protein shakes, high protein foods, etc. but apparently she's decided to grow length wise and not width wise.

amely was born 8lbs even and 21 inches long, but when she was put in phototherapy for the jaundice she lost one whole pound. and four weeks later she had only regained half of that. so three weeks ago at her 6 week appointment, she weighed in at 7 and 3/4 pounds. something to worry about? no.

why not?

because the poor girl grew 5 centimeters. that's TWO INCHES. in 4 weeks. the doctor told us that most babies only grow one or two centimeters in the first two months. maybe three. but amely has grown 8 since she was born.

despite her obvious growth, everyone, and i mean everyone including strangers on the street, have their opinions on what we need to do. ignoring random ignorance has been a problem of mine and when samil was an infant i had to bite my tongue so many times it's a miracle i can still talk at all. so now, when people tell me how horrible breast milk is or how horrible we are i have to re-learn to keep my mouth shut. and my hands to myself.

i have a baby who sleeps 6-7 hours at a time, doesn't really cry a lot and is generally happy. no signs that she's starving to death. the only problem is she isn't fat like dominicans like to see their babies. she's beautiful and healthy and until the doctor tells me otherwise, we're going to continue doing what we're doing. so keep the opinions to a minimum and i won't have to hit anything.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

last weekend in pictures (and some words)

samil and his grandpop

look close! you can see amalio up in that tree getting some (or 27) avocadoes.

i'll have you all know that it's rumored that this man never held his own children. and here he is calming screaming amely down.

she was not happy to have her picture taken with anyone.

notice that she's crying again. the two kids on the ends aren't ours - they're just some kids who hopped in the picture

casmerlys and me.

casmerlys and amely.

samil, amalio and casmerlys - the two cousins closest in age.

five of the seven grandbabies.

i wasn't here for this and have NO idea why that bike is in the water.

the littles playing with josue. he was such a good sport about being jumped on.

going to visit the aunties.

Monday, July 27, 2009

sneaky peak.

i'm tired. it's late. but i needed to make sure the baby was asleep before i went and crawled into my bed. so, here are two pictures from our weekend in the campo to hold you all over until i get a chance to post more.

i'm well aware that no one is here to see pictures of me. just my (beautiful) children. however, it's important for everyone to see me occasionally. amely only slept while we were walking. this kid my dad calls the devil child. he's a nice kid, but believe me, you don't wanna piss him off.

my brother's been here for a month now. our neices and nephews love him, he might as well be their uncle. amely didn't want anything to do with anyone. you'll see. she's screaming in almost every single picture. (more on that later).

Friday, July 24, 2009


when samil was born, we took tons and tons of pictures.

and when amely was born, we've not taken more than 10.

partly it was because i couldn't find my camera cable to charge the thing up, BUT i just found it the other day and still haven't taken very many pictures.


i'll get on that.

this weekend we're headed to the finca (farm) for father's day and so the baby can finally meet amalio's family. and so i can go to the beach. and samil is going to milk the cows and play with the pigs. tons of picture opportunities. hopefully i'll remember to snap away!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

potty training? check!

special thanks to my mom for potty training my kid.
in two weeks.
that's right. if you need your kid to go on the potty, talk to my mom. she was here two weeks and samil has had only enough accidents since then to count on my fingers. and she's been gone a month.
and we are now 100% big boy pants. (pull ups only because public bathrooms are few and far between and usually pretty nasty... but samil refuses to pee in the pants anymore)
next step? standing to pee.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

bath time!

she's not really a fan, eh?

i finally took amely for her one month appointment yesterday. i was only two weeks and two days late, but, better late than never. (we've had a helluva time finding a pediatrician. that's another post for another day).

she's gained only 1/2 pound but she grew 4 centimeters. FOUR centimeters! that's a total of 7 centimeters since she was born. we're still not back to her birth weight - mostly because of the phototherapy for her jaundice - but the doctor is not concerned because she is growing so fast!

samil has been really busy, too, playing and spending time with his uncle. more pictures to come!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

spicin' it up.

i'm teaching an SAT prep class this summer for a bunch of students who study at an american school. i don't know where in the world they got the idea that this SAT is so important - but, hey, it's something to do, and it's money i wouldn't be making otherwise.

and they're great kids. (for the most part.)

but sitting in my dining room for two hours at a time, studying for such a heavy test in summer. during vacation. in the dominican heat is not what i think of an ideal break from school.

so in an attempt to spice things up a bit, we took the kids on a trip. something along the lines of amazing race, photo scavenger hunt and touristy photo tour of the city.

in each place they had to take a picture and then do an activity (of course related to the SAT because these parents are not joking about the seriousness of this test). then we went to pizza hut (but pizza hut was a trick - i'll write about that some other time).

samil missed out on the fun - getting him in and out of a 5-point harness didn't really appeal to me, but amely came along for the fun.

at the "plazaleta de los aguilas" of the monument making a human pyramid.

these kids didn't even know there was a public hospital in santiago.

picture with the nicest cigar maker (in alphabetical order)

re-creating a kung-fu movie scene in my parking lot. (i know, i know, asians? kung fu? their idea, not mine!)

Friday, July 10, 2009

another consulate visit.

when samil was born we had a heck of a time declaring him as an american citizen. but not because of the paperwork, or even because of the mess that could come from a trip to santo domingo. samil was born in hurricane season and we missed out appointment because the bridges were out between here and the capitol. it was a mess.

i should have known then that any future children would be difficult to declare.

but i didn't. nor did i have any idea at all how tedious it would be. i mentioned that the window is only open for thirty minutes. only on certain days. and apparently, they can close whenever they feel like it.

amalio made the trip yesterday. good thing he left early or i think amely would be forever traveling on a tourist visa - because there's no way i would continue with the process without killing someone before it was over.

so, amalio arrived at the consulate at 11:40. He was told by the friendly information people that the line was open at 2. and that it was with a ticket. and that they only give 15 tickets a day. silly amalio thought that was a fair number, because how many americans could possibly be depositing declaration papers on any day? the guy also told him they don't begin to give out the numbers until 1:50.

so, he went to eat at a little food cart next to the consulate building.

and at 12:45, saw that people were already starting to line up.ok, there were only three. but smart amalio decided to get in line. he was number three. and 1:30, all of the numbers were given out and they were turning people away.

so much for numbers at 1:50.

i'm glad he avoided disaster. because we don't have the money for more unnecessary trips. i'm a little ticked that our appointment isn't until september 22, but i don't plan to travel with amely until december, so it's not a huge deal. and i feel really bad for anyone who has to deal with the assinine policies of the american state department in foreign countries.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

house explosion.

i finally got a dresser for amely's clothes. yesterday i dusted it off and stuck it in the closet - the only place there is room for it - and waited for a minute to actually begin to put her mess in it. she's got enough clothes to clothe a baby army, luckily they're small and all fit.

but. here's the catch. i thought the dresser would solve the mess. or at least help with the mess that is my house. nope. it's not amely's mess that is the problem. a few weeks before she was born the closet organizers that came with our apartment in our bedroom broke - and because fixing it requires sawing wood the fixing needs to wait. so there are piles of amalio's clothes (because my side of the closet miraculously survived the crash) on an armchair in our already overcrowded bedroom, and the boxes, OH, the boxes are stacked around wherever there was room for them. and samil's toys? well, forget about it.

a hurricane has hit the house.

it's the only excuse for the accumulation of of toys, clothes, cups and glasses and books that were spun in a circle and thrown on any flat surface available.

a hurricane. OR a newborn and a toddler and a houseguest and a brother-in-law and a husband on vacation paired with me working and not really caring about it.

i started to clean up samil's mess. but the baby wanted to eat. and then she wanted to be held. and then samil wanted to take a bath. and then be held. and then go to bed.

and now? i'm going to bed. maybe tomorrow it'll get done.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

proud to be an american?

it's time for that dreaded trip to the capitol - a mere two hour ride that often turns into three and a half because of the worse-than-newyorkcity traffic - to get our appointment to make the baby an american citizen.

a two hour - sometimes three and a half - trip just to get an appointment? why don't you call on the phone, you ask? oh, because you can't.

here's the thing. the u.s. state department likes to make life difficult. surprise you? probably not. in order to file for the report of citizen birth abroad (the CRBA), you first have to travel to the capitol to pick up the paperwork. that's right. two hour, sometimes three and a half, trip to then wait in line to get some forms to fill out. then you have your baby and fill it out. after it's all filled out, you hike back to santo domingo and turn the paperwork in. but remember, the office is only open between 2:00 and 2:30 pm (no lie) and you need to be there early to take a number. yep, a number. to turn in paperwork.

and that's not even it. THEN they give you an appointment, usually at some ungodly hour, like 7:00am. so you show up at 7:00am and somehow you're number 36. and that 7:00am appointment turns into seeing the consul at 4 in the afternoon when she's dying of hunger and not really in the mood for cranky moms or babies.

all of that and that's not even telling you about the ridiculous paperwork. when i declared samil i was sent to refill out the papers because i wrote dominican rep. instead of trying to fit dominican republic into the half-inch they give you to write your current address. and it takes me three pages to prove my time in the states. because you have to write out your entire life according to your travel. twice. and then again for another form.

and sometimes you take the trip, and it only takes 2 hours but it takes an entire tank of gas and it's like 150* outside so it limits the possibility of even making a daytrip out of the visit (because everything is outside or old or not airconditioned) and, what? what's that you say?

i wasted my time checking the webpage this morning right before we left to make sure the damn consulate was open... and what? the american citizen services unit decided this morning they were going to close, not accept paperwork and leave nobody behind to receive complaints?

you can bet that the embassador and all of my state senators will be hearing about this shit.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

the beach.

we spent three days at the beach with my brother - and while i don't have one picture of my brother with the kids, i do have about 40 of him laying on a beach chair by the pool soaking in the sun. it was pretty great - a little difficult at times with a newborn, but samil got to swim all he wanted, we ate (and didn't have to do dishes!) and just relaxed (and who doesn't want to relax after 10 long months of teaching, 9 long months of pregnancy and 1 month of being a family of 4?) we didn't actually make it to the beach persay, just the resort pool, because the beach had no shade and the bay was kind of green.

my dad got samil this zebra tent on HIS first resort trip and it's great. it's a little bigger than a beach tent, but i prefer it. it's got windows all around and is big enough for two kids - without the bigger kid bothering the little kid.
amely spent most of her time sleeping in the zebra.

and yes, she IS wearing a bathing suit. she has 5.
perhaps. but samil has 9.
c'mon people, we live an hour from the ocean.

my handsome boy!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

he loves his sister.

samil loves to kiss amely. and give her hugs.

i love this picture.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

getting back to business.

i know you're all waiting with bated breath for pictures of the newest addition to our family.


there are none.
well, there are some, but i'm on my brother's computer and here there are none. our computer is dying a long and painful death. it's currently being operated on to see if we can fix the problem of it not turning on. we're waiting, really, to see if they can fix a hand-me-down computer for a fairly decent price so that we can just transfer our mess from the old dell to the new(er) one. until then, i'm grateful my brother is here visiting for the entire month of july - and has dragged his laptop along for the ride.

we're headed to the beach tomorrow for three days of fun in the sun. beach? with a not-even-one-month-old-baby? yah, i know. we're nuts. but it's a free trip, a free three day vacation where we don't have to clean up after ourselves, cook, or do dishes. just play. and take naps.

and feed the baby. who, by the way, thinks she needs to be attached to my boob 23 of the 24 hours in a day. it's a new phenomenon - because if you asked me just three days ago, i would have been able to truthfully tell you she never cried and slept 8 hours a night. too good to be true.

i returned to work on monday. it's a new project - an SAT prep class for six students, with the hopes of it being successful enough to run in some of the bilingual schools (i already have one contracted for september-november). it's 2 hours a day and so far, so good. i have to keep re-creating my business plans and ideas to make the most out of my time and skills while making enough money to remain "at home" with the kids. it gets easier every semester.

i've gone from working 8am-9pm for minimal pay, to working 4-5 hours a few days a week and making more. it's great. and i love being home with the babies. this semester i hope to only work 4 days a week. fingers crossed.

i promise tons of pictures from the beach on sunday!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

a letter to "mapat"

Dear MaPat.

thank you for taking me riding on my bike everyday. i love my bike.

and thank you for buying me chips and juice and letting me pay like a big boy.

and especially thanks for teaching me how to use the potty. i hated those stinky diapers and mommy has enough poopy butts to clean with my little sister around. i'm doing good with the potty still and haven't peed on the floor since you left.

i hope you come to visit me again soon.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

just when i thought...

it was time to let our baby-secret out of the bag...

tomorrow morning at 10am we get our baby back. what?

i mentioned that amely was under oxygen for an hour after she was born. she had swallowed some fluid and as a preventive measure, they watched her for awhile with the air tent over her head. she was fine, though, and we took her home just 36 hours after she was born.

and then she started to get yellow. we didn't think too much of it at first, because it was just her face, but then it started to descend and her eyes got pretty icky. amalio ran into the doctor in the supermarket and she insisted we take her to the ER in the morning (i assume she'd have sent us to her office, but it was a holiday) to get some tests run: a bilirubin test and a coombs test.

her bilirubin was super high. the doc thought maybe it was a blood incompatibility - that baby had O+ and i have A, but after a quick blood test it was determined that that was not the issue. she could be jaundiced because she wasn't getting enough sunlight (it's been raining here for weeks) or because she swallowed my blood during the birthing process.

either way, she was taken away to the neo-natal unit for phototherapy. the doctor didn't give us any time periods - just told us that, don't worry, it's not fatal, but she'll need to stay as long as it takes to get her bilirubin levels down to where they should be.

thursday afternoon she began her treatment and by friday morning at the 15 minute visiting "hour" she was back to normal color from neck down. by friday night at the 15 minute visiting "hour" her face was better. today they took her blood again and found her levels just fine, leaving her for the night just to make sure.

all of that to say, she's coming home tomorrow and hopefully we won't have anymore issues. the real sad part of it is that my mom has been here and is leaving like now and won't be able to spend much time with her new granddaughter. they did break the rules and let her in to hold her in neo this afternoon.

so, more pictures and stories soon. hope you all had a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

new baby.

i didn't mention one word about a new baby on my blog, and even on facebook i was pretty careful - until the end when people started wondering where she was. is she here yet? i'm easily frustrated. and living in a country with people who think it is okay to say whatever pops into their minds. and on a daily basis i had to listen to people's comments about my belly, about how we raise our kids, about what we should do and what we shouldn't and every.single.thing. that i was doing wrong. and i don't even have a mother-in-law.

so, opening up that can of worms on the internet just didn't seem appealing to me and since i don't really know who reads this blog, i kept my mouth shut. sorry about that. the tactic worked, though, and i had a little bit more peace than i might have otherwise.

but now amely (pronounced ah-me-LEE) is here and there's no real need to keep her a secret, right?

samil has been spending his days with grandmom, mostly begging to go outside and ride his bike to the store. she's done a great job potty training and teaching him how to use money to buy juice and chips. he also grew overnight and i'm sure gained about 10 pounds as soon as the baby was born. this is a pretty bad picture, and we have nice ones, but this is the only one on his bike.

i went into labor on wednesday night. it's been a dramatic end to a pretty mundane pregnancy as i lost my doctor around 8 months due to governmental crap and had to find a doctor who understood me, my concerns and the fact that i'm not an uninformed patient (like most women in the clinic i go to). they had originally set the date for my c-section for june 8th. and that was after fighting them out of putting it for june 13th. i told them this baby wasn't waiting that long, but of course, they didn't listen and i had a semi-emergency surgery thursday morning.

amely was born thursday morning at 8:20am. she swallowed a ton of fluid on her way out so they put her in an oxygen tent for an hour. she's not had any distress since, but she is pretty jaundiced so she's going to see the doctor tomorrow.

i'm supposed to be resting, but i'm getting pretty restless. i get my stitches out on friday and i can't wait. samil and amalio are going to the resort this weekend, my mom leaves sunday morning and i get back to work soon enough.

have a great weekend!