Friday, 20 July 2012

Aspirations

Well, I've made some progress in reaching my own personal goals.  I've filled out my FAFSA and signed up to register for some classes at the local community college so that I'm all set to apply to nursing school come December.  I have been looking at becoming a midwife for a while now (I think I posted about it a while back) and have decided to go ahead and become an RN first, then work on getting my Nurse Midwife qualifications.  There are several ways to go about doing that and I've looked into all of them.  I am really hoping to get accepted into the Bacc2 program through UTHSC (UT Health and Science Center) here in Houston, although I will probably apply to the one at UTMB (UT Medical Branch) as well.  Both are HIGHLY regarded and I'm just hoping I have what it takes to get in.  The accelerated program is 15 months or so long and is for students who are looking to get a bachelor's degree in Nursing and already have a bachelor's degree in a different field.  This works for me and I save myself some time and money since I don't have to stay in the program the usual 4 years thanks to my degree.  They require you to have 60 credit hours in particular classes, all of which I have except for 6 classes worth (24 hours).  I still have to take Growth & Development (through the lifespan... I've taken a Child Development class, but it doesn't cover adults, obviously), Intro to Philosophy (I chose to take a religion class at UH instead), Human Anatomy & Physiology (I'm hoping I still remember some of this from the Pre-AP course in high school but I'm not holding my breath), Microbiology (I stopped at regular ol' Biology) and Nutrition.  I can apply to the Bacc2 program once I have at least 40 of the required hours complete, so hopefully I can apply in December for entry in Summer 2013, but we'll see.  I'm going to play it by ear and see how it goes.  My GPA is high enough , but it could use a boost in the Math and Sciences area so hopefully this will help me out.

I'm really excited and nervous about it.  I LOVE school.  I always have.  I can't wait to be a student again and am really looking forward to it, but I'm nervous about how I'm going to fit it all in.  The pre-req classes that I'm taking before I start the program are mostly online (the labs aren't, but everything else is), which is good since I can do it while the girls are sleeping/when Nic is home to help me out, but I am going to have to keep my grades up so my GPA doesn't fall below the acceptance point.  Then, once (IF) I'm accepted to the program, it's a crazy busy 15 months until I graduate again and am able to get to work.  They don't allow you to work during that time (for good reason), so we're going to have to pay for childcare as an added expense since I'll have to attend my clinic rotations and go to class at that point.  I think it'll all be worth it, but it's just a scary thing to think about.  I'm more nervous for how the girls are going to be than myself though.  They are used to staying home with me all the time and it's going to be a massive change.  I think I may enroll them in a Mother's Day Out program just to get them used to it.  I asked Liara if she wanted to go to school and she says yes, so that's a good thing.  She even grabbed her backpack and filled it with toys last time.  Maybe she's ready.  What's good is that Amaya will be done breastfeeding by the time the program starts, so that's one less thing I'll have to worry about.  It'll be ok.  I just need to remember I'm doing this for me AND for them.  I want my girls to see that you can do whatever you set your mind to and that you don't just have to be ONE thing.  I CAN do this.  I need to remind myself how good it'll be to be able to tell my girls, "I have two beautiful, well-rounded children, a nice home, a great marriage, two degrees and a reliable and meaningful career... all because of dedication, hard work, and love".  I want to show them that if you have a dream and a desire to do something different, you CAN do it and should.  Anything is possible.

I may just have to make myself a list of inspiration quotes and plaster them on my wall so I can remind myself every day of just what I am capable of.

I have the desire to care for others, I have the need to help other people, I have extra amounts of love and compassion to share.  I'm ready.

Ok... on to other things.  Amaya is getting so big!  She is bound and determined to do everything before Liara did.  She's pulling up on everything like a boss and the other day she managed to let go and stand on her own two feet for about 5 seconds before falling.  I have to keep reminding her that she's barely 7 months and to slow her cute little booty down!  Liara is becoming quite independent lately and I'm loving it.  She wants to help do everything (or do it on her own), from making her own chocolate milk to getting the mail, to picking up her toys before bedtime.  She is too cute.  I adore my children.

Nic has been working up a storm and I'm so proud of him.  He's such a wonderful man and I'm so blessed to have him by my side.  He came home at 10 am yesterday from work because we had a water line break and he fixed it all by himself by 3 pm, then went back to work.  He had a dinner meeting with Bob and James at 7 and so he went to that and didn't get home until about 10 pm.  Bless his heart, he's tired, but he still stays up for me so that we can at least visit a little or watch an episode of something together.  It means a lot to me, I know he's exhausted.

Anyway, I need to clean my house a little before the girls wake up from their naps... I hope everyone is having a wonderful day!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Life with Three

Hey y'all..

SO, my little brother is here visiting for a couple of weeks and let me just start by saying that life with three kiddos isn't overly different than life with two, only having a boy around is super different.  I'm so used to my girls and I find myself struggling a little to figure out activities that we all want to do.  My little brother is 8, and I don't know if it is just because he is raised completely different than I was or if it's just because we are the opposite sex, but man, are we different.  He's sweet and calm most of the time, but his interests differ greatly from mine.  He's a huge sports fan/athlete, and I'm, well... not.  I'm more of the artsy craftsy kind of person who likes to be still most of the time.  I've seen his karate routine I can't even tell you how many times and am trying to come up with new adjectives to describe it.  "wow", "awesome", "cool" etc... only go so far.

He's done well with the girls, but sometimes he just really wants my attention (usually when I am putting the girls to sleep or cooking) and it's hard to get him to just wait a minute.  He's not used to that I don't think (he's pretty much an only child since I've never lived with him) whereas my children are definitely used to it now.  Nick is a huge help when he's home, but that's been pretty limited lately.  He is taking a driving course (more on that later...) so after working all day (7-4), he was at his course from 5-9, then this weekend he has been there from 7-3:30.  Today is the last day and boy, am I glad.  He's taking next week off (the whole week!  I'm excited!!!) to play with us and spend some quality family time with us.  That will really help because I'm running out of activities for us all to do without Nick around.  When he's around we can do all the things I had planned out.  We're going ot be going camping, to the children's museum, NASA, the museum of natural science, the zoo, the aquarium and we're taking Ryan go-carting.  He's never done any of that before... so it will be quite the experience for him I think.  He's quite homesick, especially for his cats, so hopefully being busy will help him.  I remember how that used to be, so I'm trying to be as sympathetic as I can be about it.  He's awfully brave for coming to stay with us for two weeks since he doesn't really know me that well (he was just 3 when we moved to Scotland and didn't get to visit too often).  Hopefully the weather will get better for us.  The first two days he was here it was 111.  Yes... without the heat index.  OUCH!  Then the past few days it has been POURING down rain.  Like, to the point that our power went out and my backyard is now a marsh.  Fun.

We're still working on getting moved into our house... man, it's a slow slow process when you've got two small kids.  I have yet to hang anything up (other than Clyde, my Dad's stuffed pheasant).  I can't wait to get the boxes all out of here and feel like I'm really at home.  The new neighbors are awesome... they have 4 girls (one of which has already come to babysit for us once, although I didn't leave... just unpacked a little) and are really nice.

We went to visit my grandparents some and they have some big news, although I can't tell you what it is until everyone knows and they have it out and about.  We also went to Papa's wedding to Linda... Liara was the flower girl and did an amazing job.  Man, she was cute and we are so proud of the great job she did!

Ok, well, I have to get going because my girls are up and causing all kinds of trouble while I'm over here typing.  I should have loads of pictures next post of the fun stuff we'll do this week!

Here's the rain again... geez, I wish Plainview would get some of this!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Tired Yet Motivated

I always tend to laugh at myself for trying to make plans.  I don't know why I do that... they always change in some form or another.  I had planned on getting several trips to the house in tomorrow and then picking up Nic at the airport (he's been back in Aberdeen since Mother's Day) at 6:45.  Well, that isn't going to happen now.  I got an e-mail from Centerpoint Energy (natural gas) saying that the service guy would be coming to the house "sometime between 8am to 5pm".  Haha!  Nice "minimal window of time" there.  So, instead of making several trips, it looks like I'll only make maybe two (it takes me an hour to get there, and an hour to get back and the girls nap for two hours in the afternoon).  Ah well... Nic is going to be working on Thursday anyway (although I have to be at the house again for the internet/cable installation between 10 and 2 (much better time frame) and so we won't be moving the heavy stuff until Friday.  I think he's going to take the day off so we can get everything over and spend the weekend getting everything the way we like it.  Again, plans are for changing though, so I'm not counting on anything.  

I made some pretty good progress today, although I stop what I was doing plenty of times to play/correct/cuddle the girls.  It seems whenever I really get on a roll is when Liara decides she's had enough.  Typical two year old behavior though, and I'm understanding of that.  My plans and actions aren't as important as her needs, so I tend to stop and take a break to spend some time playing and getting her back on the right track.  Several times I had to stop today because she's developed a new interest: picking up her sister.  As cute as that sounds, it isn't a good idea.  Liara weighs all of 29 lbs and Amaya (the last time we weighed her was 3 weeks ago) is pushing 16 lbs 12 oz.  Liara would LOVE to carry Amaya around, it just isn't quite feasible.  She can get her about two inches off the ground though, just long enough for me to rush over before she drops her.  There was one time today where I wasn't quite quick enough but Amaya is a trooper and just gave me a look like "how could you let her do that to me?!" and that was enough to make me feel bad about it.  We've had several talks about it and I usually try to let Liara hold Amaya with my assistance while we talk about having someone help her until she's bigger.  Liara, like me, doesn't do well with being told she isn't able to do something though.  We are working on it.

Amaya is doing great... she doesn't really want to be held very much any more... she would much rather be on the floor exploring.  She is GREAT at scooting around now and I'm really hoping she'll hold off until tomorrow night to crawl.  She is so stinking close it's scary.  I think I saw the tip of a tooth on the bottom of her mouth as well, but I couldn't feel it when I put my finger on it.  We'll see if it was just a bit of milk or if it was actually a bud about to poke through.  Exciting stuff!  I can't believe she'll be 6 months next Thursday.  At the same time, I can't remember what life was like without her really.  My baby is really growing up (well, both my girls are really) faster than I would like... it makes me want to have more! Haha.

Speaking of having babies... my friend Amber (who actually lived in Aberdeen for one of the years we were there with her sweet husband Mike) just had quadruplets on the 31st.  All the babies are doing well, although the little boy (she had three girls Trystan, Kailey, Logan and a boy-Harrison, but not in that order) is having more difficulty breathing than the girls.  The girls are all on room air now but Harrison isn't quite there yet (but he will be soon!) and has a slight brain bleed.  If you could pray for them all, I'd greatly appreciate it.  They are an amazing family and I am so inspired by them for how they tackle anything that is thrown their way.  They have been on my mind constantly and we've been praying like crazy but the more the merrier when it comes to prayer.  

Ok, it's nearly midnight and I have a busy day planned for tomorrow so I'm going to hit the sack.  Hooray for getting some stuff in and settled in the house again and hooray for Nicolas coming home!  I was putting Liara to bed and she asked "are we picking up Daddy tonight?" and I had to remind her it was tomorrow, so then she shut her eyes really tight and said "goodnight then!  See him tomorrow!".  :) I can't even begin to tell you how much I am looking forward to seeing him tomorrow too!  We really do miss him when he is away.  It sure does make you respect military spouses a million times more when you have a husband who travels a lot for work.  

Goodnight!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

The big move!

I am so horrible about updating.

I figure I'd at least do a quick little post before the craziness of the week ahead sinks in.  We're about to move back into our house (the one we bought 5 years ago and lived in for 3 months before moving to Scotland).  I am SO stinkin' excited.  This means that I'll get to get everything out of storage finally (we've been living with what was available at the time for the last 10 months)- most of which is pretty much brand spanking new.  See, I was one of those weird ladies who saves all of her wedding gifts to use in our first "real" home together as husband and wife.  So, I didn't open our new stuff to use until two years after we were married.  Seriously.  So, when we bought our house EVERYTHING was new (pots and pans, dishes, picture frames, bedding, etc).  Then we moved three months later and stuffed everything into storage, where it still sits.  It's going to feel like we just got married all over again!  Hooray!

On top of (pretty much) new stuff, there is SO much more space in our house!  We've been living in my in-law's garage apartment until our house was vacated by our tenants.  All 500 square feet of it.  Yep, for a family of four.  It's been real. We all live together in one room (the living room is joined to the kitchen and bedroom area, the bathroom is the only room with a door). Next week, things will be completely different!  Our house is a 4 bedroom, 2150 square foot house.  Oh, how excited am I?!  The girls will each get their own room, and we'll have a room to put guests too.  They'll have a playroom as well, and Nic will have his own room to put all his, um, hobby stuff.  Abe will have his own backyard to play in.  I am SO STOKED.

We decided against buying another house (obviously) because it dawned on us that if we were hit with another hurricane like Ike, we'd be pretty much screwed.  See, when hurricane Ike hit, we ended up with $32,000 worth of damage and insurance only covered $24,000.  Yep, that left us with $8,000 out of pocket and it hurt.  That was all of our savings plus some.  This time, our savings is even less, and we still have a ton of other stuff to buy (like vehicles, a new tv, couch, etc).  We figured we'd rather move back into a house that we already love and own than buy a new one.  We bought that house with our future children in mind (and now I can't wait to see them running around in it!) and can't picture our family anywhere else really.

Speaking of children running around... Amaya has decided that she's ready to MOVE.  She's scooting herself around on her tummy (picture an army crawl of sorts) and is ALMOST crawling.  I think she's holding out for Daddy to get home so he can see her really start to book it.  I'm hoping anyway.  He's been in Scotland again for the last three weeks and should be home on Wednesday or so to help move and spend some time with us for a while.  I'm so ready.  I miss him so much while he is away and it really makes me appreciate him more.  He's such a good husband, daddy and man in general.  LOVE him.

Ok, that's about it for right now... I'm going to go to bed since it is midnight and we have to get up and ready for church in the morning.  I need to get quite a bit of packing done tomorrow too.  YAY!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

On the road again...

We are getting ready to head back to Scotland, although not to live there anymore. Our little family will be flying out on Sunday afternoon to get everything sorted and packed up over there. We'll be getting rid of almost everything we own there (car (possibly cars... we'll see what we decide later), furniture, books, everything) and only packing up what we absolutely NEED to bring home. It's going to be interesting with two little ones (especially since Liara is going to have to live without Mickey Mouse/Dora/Curious George since we've already sold the TV)... I'm hoping I can get her to play with her old toys there since they'll be like new to her again. We'll have to schedule some play dates as well with some friends while we are there so that we can say our proper goodbyes and such too. I'm really going to miss a few really good friends that we've made, I'm actually quite sad about leaving them. It hasn't felt permanent until a couple of days ago and I'm not sure how I'll feel once it's actually time to leave Aberdeen for good.

Don't get me wrong, I love being back home in the US. I've dreamed of coming home and am so pleased that we finally are closer to family and that I'm getting the chance to focus on my career a little bit again! I'm just going to miss some things about Aberdeen that I just can't get here. I think that's true for pretty much anywhere I've lived though. I am looking forward to showing off my new sweet baby to everyone though :) That's for sure!

Speaking of my newest baby... she's growing so fast! She is now up to 13 lbs 3 oz, and 23.5 inches! That puts her in the 90th percentile for height and 95th for weight... lol. Yet her head circumference is still only in the 25th, that's the same thing that happened to Liara. My kids just have small heads apparently. Oh well, easier for me! ;)

I am quite anxious about our trip back home though, as Nic has to stay in Aberdeen for a conference and I'm going to be bringing the girls back home by myself! Yep... I'm crazy. I don't know how I'm going to handle a 13+ hour flight with a 2 1/2 month old and a 2 year old by myself. I know it's possible, but I am certainly not looking forward to it. I don't know how I'm going to be able to go to the bathroom on the plane (or change diapers for that matter...) with two kiddos. It's hard enough with one, and I've never done it alone before. Say some prayers for me, I'm going to need them! We come back on the 1st, and Nic should be home around the 15th or so (I think)... who knows.

I have ordered my books for the first two modules of my coursework and they should be delivered while we are gone. I cannot tell you how stinkin' excited I am to get started! I take my CPR for professional rescuers on the 9th of March and then I can officially get started. Have I mentioned how awesome my husband is for providing for me so that I can do this?! I mean, wow... I've been able to be a stay at home mom for the past 2 1/2 years (I quit my job while I was still pregnant) and now I'm getting to go back to school to follow a dream I've had for a little while now... amazing. I'm blessed with an awesome man in my life, I can tell you that!

I know a lot of you have asked about how my Mom is doing... so far, it's all the same. She has been on vacation with her new husband to meet all his family in Rhode Island, so she hasn't had a chance to get a PET scan yet. When those results come back (hopefully before I leave..) I'll let you know.

Anyway, my girls are asleep for their naps, and I think I'll have a little quiet time to myself and do my daily devotional before heading to take a little nap myself! I hope you all are doing well!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Update

Amaya and her big sister Liara :)

Amaya, Daddy and I about two minutes after she was born :)

My favorite big sister! She's so beautiful!

My favorite little sister! She's so beautiful!

Well, I'm still alive. God is good. I know you've probably forgotten all about this blog (I know I have from time to time) and thought I had finished writing here, but I've just neglected it for a while. Hopefully I'll be back for a while, I always forget how nice it is to get all your thoughts out.

We've all had so much happen to us over the last 6+ months that I haven't written here, so I guess I'll just give you a quick re-cap to catch you up on what you've missed.

The Baby (Amaya)- We had our second child, a beautiful and perfect little girl named Amaya Elise Alvarado, on December 14th, 2011. I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful she is and how in love with her we are. She honestly fits so well into our family and all my doubts about parenting two children (like if I'd love them the same amount, if I'd be able to devote an equal amount of time to each of them, if Liara would do well with sharing the attention... etc) were squished in seconds. We ALL adore her and are so happy she's here. I can't even imagine how our lives were before her anymore. Liara absolutely LOVES her little sister and is so good with her, and Amaya loves her right back... she gives her more smiles and giggles than anyone else and always is looking around following Liara's voice. It makes my heart so happy to see them together. I can't wait to see the mischief they get into together and the bond that is growing every day. She was 7 lbs 11 oz and 21 1/4 inches when she was born... a big girl compared to Liara, and is already up to 12 lbs 6 ounces as of last week (she was 7 weeks then...) so she's my chunky monkey. She has held her head up like a champ since day 2 and is super curious about the world. She loves to eat... she wants to be attached to me every 2 hours on the hour even now at 8 weeks, but that's ok by me. Oh, I love her. Our birthing experience was so wonderful with her, I had her all naturally (hooray for two natural births under my belt!) at a midwife center here in Pearland. I love my midwives and honestly am a little bummed that this is almost surely our last baby, just because that means that I won't get to have another one with the Rite of Passage ladies. I can't believe that Amaya is already almost two months old. Where has the time gone?!

Liara- We celebrated Liara's second birthday with a bouncy castle and some close friends at home, which was a lot of fun. She is growing so fast and amazes me every day. Her vocabulary is astonishing and makes me laugh all the time. The other day we were doing puzzles and she asked "Mommy, will you do it? I'm exasperated". Honestly?! What two year old says stuff like that? My daughter does. She speaks in complete complex sentences all the time and is always wanting to learn more. She has started to throw a few fits and temper tantrums (as does every two year old), but is quick to stop and correct herself and "ask nicely" when requested. She's learning. Her hair is finally starting to really come in and is now down to her shoulders in the back (not in front though... she kind of looks like a pixie). She still loves to read and we go to the library every two weeks to pick out roughly 30 books that we focus on... as well as our 50 or so of our own. She also loves to do puzzles, play at the playground, and go to church. She does not like to go to the daycare part though, she wants to be with us in the big church... lol. She still isn't fantastic at being away from Mommy (unless it is someone she knows well, like Daddy or Grandma... then she's fine), but we're working on it. She is still an absolute joy and I love her to pieces. She is so good with her little sister and is my good little helper. We're working on starting to potty train a little bit and she does well some days, and horrible others. She'll wear big girl panties without a problem, but she's hesitant to use the potty and will insist on having a diaper on to go. Oh well, it's still early in the game.

Nic- He's so wonderful. He has been transferred to the US office of Fugro here in Houston! We are so pleased and are looking forward to what is going to happen now. He just started with them on the 1st of February, so it's still new, but so far so good. He'll have to travel back and forth to the UK office still pretty often, but at least we're back in the US now! He has been in the UK for the most part since we left Scotland in August. He flew back the 1st of Sept, then was here for a week in October and then came back for Amaya's birth in December. Then he had to go back on the 3rd of January and finally came back on the 25th. It's been hard to be away from him for a month and a half at a time, but we made it through and are glad that it's finally starting to ease up. He's such a great Daddy and is so good with the girls. I really can't tell you how much I appreciate him when he's here (and away...). He's been working on a quad-copter lately which is fun... he is a little obsessed with it. Liara loves to watch him fly it and it is so cute to see them so excited about it together. Perhaps he doesn't need a little boy after all. We're supposed to fly back to Aberdeen together on the 19th to pack up our things there and move out of the house before the end of the month. I'm looking forward to closing that little chapter of our lives and seeing where God takes us now.

That leaves me. I'm doing wonderfully. I had another super easy pregnancy and birth and am loving being Mommy to my girls. I can fit into my jeans from before I had Liara (I'm still a little snug in a few of them, but I can get them on!), although I'm nowhere near where I was pre-Amaya. I have to keep reminding myself it's only been 8 weeks though. It'll happen. I've had a massive change of heart as far as my career is concerned... I have decided to go back to school to become a midwife myself. I am so very excited and can't wait to start the coursework. I am really looking forward to helping others have the birth experiences that I have had myself with both my girls and can't wait to be a part of bringing someone's child into the world! I haven't been this excited since I don't even know when. I am beyond thrilled and have been talking to my own midwives about it. They have been super supportive and helpful throughout everything. I know I've got a great support system. The process takes about 3 years to get it all done, so I'll be a CPM (certified professional midwife) right about the time that Liara enters Kindergarten. I think that's a great time to start a new career and begin to shift the focus a little. I love that I'll be able to still spend a ton of time with my girls though, while being a working Mom in a rewarding profession. It really seems to be absolutely perfect for me! I can't wait!

That about wraps it up for my little family...

My mom was re-diagnosed with breast cancer again today. I'm still in shock a bit and am not quite sure what to think about it. I know that God will work it out and am praying... that's pretty much all I can do at this point. We are waiting on news that will tell us where it is in her body and at what stage she's in. Hopefully we find that out soon so that we can figure out a game plan from there. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers on that one please.

Oh! I almost forgot, we might be looking at buying a new house. Nic's office right now is about 10 miles from our house here in Houston, but they are moving to one of the other offices here in Houston before the end of the year (meaning he'd have about an hours commute each way). That's not really ideal, and since we have tenants in the house right now anyway, we are debating leaving them there and just getting another house closer to the 2nd office. That way we don't have to worry about it later. We're talking to the mortgage lady at the moment to see if that's even feasible right now (especially since we had foreign income for the last 4 years). We might have to wait a little bit to get re-established here in the US, but we'll see. It's exciting to think about though!

Ok, I'm off to bed... it's 3:30 in the morning and everyone else is sleeping (including Amaya) but she's due to wake up for another feed in about 45 minutes, so I'd better take advantage of the time for some shut eye.

I'll try to be better about posting, but no promises! I'll leave you with a few pictures ( they ended up being at the top but I'm too sleepy to mess with it just now... Oh well).