Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Baseball! Yay!

video
This is a great video of Jonah hitting a wiffle ball from his make-shift T (a camera tripod).  I'm proud to say he is a lefty like his mommy.  At the end when I ask if he likes baseball he shouts, "Baseball!  Yay!"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Fort

video

There are many reasons why we enjoy having Jon at home, but one of the reasons Jonah is happy to have Daddy home is to build forts. Here's the fort Jon built for Jonah today. This video is also cute because it shows Jonah's new habit of saying "Yeah" to every question we ask him.

Holding Hat for Ransom

Dear Uncle Paul,
I have your hat. I am holding it for ransom until you come visit me and wrestle with me. Until then I will be wearing it as often as I want. Today I pretended it was my motorcycle helmet and then Mommy let me wear it to the grocery store.

Love,
Jonah

Swinging

Thanks to Grandpa for the new swing!


Swinging in the shade with a cool beverage - It doesn't get better than this!

video

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

No, it's not a helmet


Today Jonah took out his potty chair and his over-the-toilet potty seat. He sat down on the chair, put the seat on his head and said, "Helmet!"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Tummy

Here I am at 5 and a half months along in this pregnancy. If people ask I usually tell them I'm six months, though, so maybe there's a bit less of a chance they'll comment about how big I am already. Especially now that I know it's a boy, I anticipate having another big 'un. (Check out my pregnancy pics on Facebook to see what I looked like at the end of my pregnancy with Jonah - totally enormous.) But the fun thing about getting so big is that I feel like the baby is healthy and growing and that makes me happy. I actually don't mind when people comment about how big I am. It's all part of the fun of being pregnant.

I wish I had more Easter pictures to post, but this was the only one we took on my camera. We took pictures with Dad's camera, but I forgot to put them on my computer before he left. Jon is still in the DR, so my dad came down to celebrate Easter with Jonah and me. We had a very nice weekend together. We even managed to pull together a pretty nice simple Easter lunch for just the three of us: ham, jello, devilled eggs, and homemade rolls. Meal preparation on special occasions really makes us miss my mom - she seemed to be able to put those things together with such ease and they were always just right.

We didn't do an Easter basket for Jonah and we skipped the community Easter egg hunt because it was so chilly out, but he did get a toy golf club and a swing to hang from our porch as Easter presents from Grandpa. We haven't tried the swing yet, but he's already been swinging away with the golf club. The only problem is that he insists on holding the club end and whacking at the ball with the handle end. Oh well. I'm sure he'll figure it out at some point.

Friday, April 10, 2009

We're having another boy!

So I finally had my ultrasound today. We had to wait longer than usual because we were in between insurance plans. But here's the first picture of our second little boy! We're so excited! Yes, of course I was dreaming about buying adorable little pink dresses, but I am thrilled to be having another boy. I'm so happy for Jonah to have a little brother to join him in wrestling and sports and running around being boys. Jon is really happy, too. So, only another 3 and a half months until we get to meet this little guy face to face! I'm sure it will go by quickly.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

DR Adventure Days 5 and 6

The last two days adventures have not been particularly exciting. I decided that it really would not be possible for me to make it to the beach by myself. There were just too many variables without my knowing any Spanish. So yesterday after our usual swimming, lunch and naps we went out to the nice mall in town. It was fairly similar to an American mall - the prices were the same or more than what you would find in an American mall, too. So it wasn't that exciting to shop because I wasn't going to bother with buying anything that I could get cheaper at home!

I got a kick out of this sign on the mall entrance. What? I can't bring in my gun or my machete?


There was a little arcade which was our main entertainment. For about $2 I got 6 tokens for Jonah to ride the little kiddie cars. He was thrilled! He alternated between cars for about 45 minutes and cried when it was time to leave.
This car went up and down and played annoying songs including "Oh My Darling, Clementine" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas".

This little kid was somewhat upset that Jonah was using "his" batmobile. He stood there and talked to Jonah for the etirety of his ride. Who knows what he was saying.


Sitting behind the wheel of an arcade game was just as much fun as the kiddie cars, if not more. Plus, it was free and I got to sit in the car next to him.

This morning I wanted to go to a cigar factory I read about in my tour book. The book said it closed at 4:30 so we needed to go before naps. But when I talked to the guy at the front desk he had never heard of it and when he called the place they said they only shipped cigars, they didn't make them and they didn't do tours. Good thing I asked. So he sent us off to a different place where we could see cigars made. When we got there it was just two guys rolling cigars and Jonah wasn't allowed in because of the smoke - I think they were giving free samples. So I parked him right outside the door with his juice and animal crackers while I watched for a few minutes.




I bought a small box of cigars for Jon to give to some of his friends back in Harrisonburg. Of course I know nothing about cigars, but the guide book said that this is a local brand that is as good or better than the Dominican brands you would find in the States. Hopefully that's true. I'd like to keep the box when they're done - I think it would be a cool souvenir.


This afternoon we're supposed to go to the grocery store with another American woman who is here working on the project Jon is flying for. I'm going to get Jon stocked up on drinks and snacks before I go. He works from about nine to six, seven days a week and I know he really doesn't want to try to head out to the store in the evening after he gets home. No one knows how much longer the project will last - the people who contracted Jon's company just want to work at it until their money runs out. It could be another week or two. The concensus amoung the Dominicans was that Good Friday was more important to have off than Easter, so Jon will have Friday off, but not Sunday. I will be back in Virginia on Thursday and I'm looking forward to my dad coming down to join Jonah and me for Easter.
So tomorrow is our last day for adventures and then we leave on Thursday morning. I've heard that there's a waterpark very nearby, so we might try that. I know I probably won't be riding waterslides in my "condition", but Jonah's probably to little to go down the big slides anyway. Maybe there will be some kiddie slides.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Swimming

video

Here's a little video of Jonah swimming around by himself. He's watching the workers cut the grass with a weed whacker, or "Vacuum!" as he thought it was. That's the noise you hear in the background.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

DR Adventure Days 3 and 4

We seemed to have settled into a routine of having breakfast, poking around for a bit, going swimming, having lunch, taking naps, and then we go out on an afternoon "adventure". Our morning swims have been so much fun. It's a way for us to play together, without being to exhausting for me - he can't swim that fast to get away from me and when he's out of the pool there's nowhere for him to go. He is getting to be quite a good little swimmer for a 1-year-old. Today he dropped some toys in the pool while we were sitting on the side and they floated away. He said, "Get it, toys" and I thought he wanted me to go get them, but he got on his stomach, scooched himself off the edge into the pool, kicked his way over to the toys about 10 feet away, and swam them back to me saying "I got it, toys!" Then he said, "More stairs, up and down" and he swam over to the ladder about 12 feet away and climbed up and down.


For yesterday's adventure we decided to visit the monument in the center of town. It's on a big hill and you can get a view of the entire city. A lot of people were flying kites and it was fun to just walk around and watch. The monument is surrounded by statues of heroes of the restoration. Jonah climbed up the stairs to this one and said, "Grandpa! Hi, Grandpa!" Any man over 50 is "Grandpa" to him, but I didn't know that bronze statues of uniformed, mustached, Latino men with huge swords also qualified in his mind as "Grandpa." A group of school girls showed up and they completely mobbed Jonah. One Spanish phrase that we've picked up on rather quickly is, "Ay, que lindo!" which aparantly means something like, "Oh, how cute!" Everyone says this to Jonah. Everyone touches him, too, and if he's not strapped in his stoller he gets picked up or people will even take him out of my arms if I'm holding him! Good thing he's not shy and he's a very good sport. These girls picked him up, put him next to a statue and started taking pictures! It was hilarious. I also got a kick out of them because even these nine- or ten-year-old girls were wearing what seems to be the national dress code for women: skin-tight jeans and high heels. Everyone dresses as nicely as they can, and women in particular always look like they're about to go clubbing. NO ONE wears shorts, even though it's about 90 degrees at all times. I get around the rule by wearing skirts and dresses, even though technically no one really wears those either. I break the rule completely for Jonah. He's just a baby - I'm not going to subject him to wearing designer jeans like all the other babies around. Jon has to wear pants, of course, but he has made a compromise in just wearing his uniform polo shirt without an under shirt.



Here we are at the monument.


We took a short carriage ride around the monument.

Jonah loved the horse. Our carriage driver was an enthusiastic young guy in a Yankees hat. There seem to be a lot of Yankees fans down here.
After our carriage ride we walked around until we found a nice-looking restaurant to have dinner. Again, at 6:00 we were the only people in the whole place. It was too bad because it looked like it would have been a fun place - there were three levels, it was open-air, there was a big screen (probably for karaoke) and a dance floor. We got to sit in the front corner of the restaurant right at a major intersection where Jonah could watch all the cars, trucks and street vendors. I ordered something that I knew was chicken, but I didn't know anything else about it. It turned out to be a grilled chicken breast with a red sauce similar to marinara - not bad. There were even a few veggies and some mashed potatoes that Jonah particularly enjoyed.

I had decided to have dinner out by ourselves because Jon had gotten back so late the day before. It turned out that he had gotten back earlier and we could have had dinner with him. Today I got a pre-paid cell phone and Jon also has one, so now I can call and coordinate with him so we can eat together if possible.
For today's afternoon adventure we went to a local museum. It was mostly art and some cultural exhibits. Of course I couldn't understand any of the signs, and it wasn't too exciting for Jonah, but he was a very good boy and we went through quickly.
I had noticed an ice cream shop on the way to the museum that had a kids play area. I thought I knew the name of it and I asked a taxi drive to take me there. He had no idea what I was talking about. He stopped and asked some other taxi drivers, but they had no clue either. Finally I gave up and told him to just take me back to my hotel, but we passed the ice cream shop and I told him to stop there. It turns out that it was called something completely different than what I saw on the sign. He rolled his eyes and me and tried to tell me a bunch of stuff, to which I could just shrug and say, "Yo no se." (I don't know.) I ordered ice cream, which was a repeat performance of shrugging and saying "si" to whatever the ice cream guy asked me. I ended up with a waffle cone with raspberry sherbet, some whipped cream that tasted like marshmallow fluff, raspberry syrup and a chocolate-covered wafer cookie. Then I took Jonah outside to play.
What I hadn't noticed when we drove by was that the playground was totally packed. All the chairs were occupied, but I was a little surprised that no one offered to give the pregnant American lady a chair. There were two slides - a big twisty slide that had a constant flow of about a dozen kids, and a smaller one that had a platform at the top. I helped Jonah climb up to the platform, but all the kids just kept going in front of him and basically running him over. Every time he would get close to the slide, another kid would push past him. Finally I was able to help him go down, but then he just climbed back up and perched on the platform and watched the kids as they pushed around him.

When I finished my ice cream I helped Jonah down off the platform and he really wanted to go down the big slide. I had to go up with him because it would have been too slow for him to climb up by himself, plus it wouldn't be safe. So I helped him up to the top and sent him down, but I couldn't go back down the stairs because there were 10 antsy kids behind me waiting to go. One little girl even got impatient and told me, "Rapido!" which even I know means, "Hurry up!" Of course Jonah loved the twisty slide so much that he wanted to do it again and again. Now the other moms are laughing at me. What is this pregnant white lady in a skirt doing going down the slide? But what was I supposed to do? My kid wanted to go down the slide and no one was helping me.
I used my cell phone to call the front desk at the hotel to send a cab to pick us up - I didn't feel like dealing with a cab driver who didn't know where to take me. I also called Jon to let him know we were on our way and he ordered room service that actually came up with us on the elevator when we got back. I feel like my lack of language skills have dampened my adventursome spirit, somewhat. I really want to take a day-trip to the beach, but now I'm not feeling so up to it. Tomorrow I think we will try a local mall that's supposed to be fun and I'll consider the beach for Tuesday... we'll see.

DR Pics

I will post more stories and pictures of yesterday's and today's adventures later tonight, but here are some pictures now that we have the laptop back.

Jonah's authentic Dominican Republic hat and maracas.


Getting in the trash can passes as entertainment for a 1-year-old in a hotel room.

The lovely hotel pool...

... and right outside the pool walls. "Cows swimming!"

What a little tourist!

Seriously ready for a swim. "Yay, floaties!"

Friday, April 3, 2009

DR Adventure Day 2

I'm not sure that I'll give daily updates throughout this entire trip, but today was somewhat interesting, so I thought I'd share a few highlights. But before I give the 'blow by blow' as my dad says, I must share that I just checked the American Airlines web site and they found my bag! I think I'll have it back within the next day or two! I am so happy because I really thought that someone saw me open it up to take something out in the airport, saw the laptop and swiped it before it ever made it on the plane. Thank you for all your prayers!

Today Jonah and I took a taxi to the main drag of downtown Santiago. It was quite an adventure! I tried to get cash at the ATM at the hotel before we left, but it was out of service. I had just enough to pay for the cab driver and then I needed to find an ATM when we got there. It was total craziness. Santiago is not really a tourist destination and no one speaks English. I walked all the way down one street without finding an ATM and I was starting to get nervous thinking I wouldn't have money to buy food or anything or to get a taxi back to the hotel. Then I realized that I had gotten off the main street and once I got back to it I found an ATM within a few blocks.

The streets were utter chaos with traffic and vendors on practically every inch of sidewalk. The sidewalks were all brick so it was quite a bumpy ride for Jonah. He seemed a little overwhelmed by it all at first and didn't really say much of anything for the first half of the trip, but he loosened up after a while and became his usual chatty self.

I found a nice drug store and found some makeup to replace what I lost (I really didn't think I'd ever see that stuff again). It looked like it had been sitting on the shelf for a very long time, but I was able to find Cover Girl and Max Factor and I even found the exact shade of blush that I normally use.

I bought a big floppy sun hat for myself. Every store in the Dominican Republic seems to have about three or four times as many employees as necessary so there are always all sorts of people standing around with nothing to do. Four employees stood around playing with Jonah while I tried on hats. He has gotten quite charming in the way he says, 'Hola!' and 'Gracias!'

Then we found a souvenir shop and bought Jonah some maracas and a little straw hat with a Dominican flag on it. He loves the hat! It looks so adorable on him and he wants to wear it, take it on and off, and carry it around with him. I have pictures - I'll post them as soon as we get the laptop back.

We ended up having lunch at McDonald's. I know that is so lame, but I felt like I had been adventurous enough and I was really feeling my lack of language skills. I wasn't sure I could successfully navigate one of the little cafes by myself - McDonald's was challenging enough. Do you realize how many questions they ask you when you order from McDonald's? Little bits and pieces of my one year of Spanish in high school are coming back to me, but that was ten years ago and it was only first year Spanish. I remember how to ask how much something costs, but I don't remember my numbers well enough to understand quickly when people answer me.

After McDonald's we went out and found a taxi to take us back to the hotel for our naps. I showed the driver my key card and he seemed to understand where to go. I knew our hotel was part of a chain, but I thought the other hotels were in other parts of the country. It turns out that there are four hotels with the same name in Santiago. After the first wrong hotel I gave him the card again and pointed to which one was ours on the list. I tried to tell him it was near the airport, but he didn't get it. After the second wrong hotel I reemphasized 'airport' and he got it. 'Oh, aeropuerte?' 'Si! Si!' We finally made it. I paid him a very large tip.

After naps we went swimming, but by four in the afternoon the entire pool area was in the shade. We still had fun, but it was quite chilly without any sun, even though the water was warm. There were a bunch of other kids in the pool and they were very sweet in playing with Jonah. By 6:00 we were ready for dinner, but Jon wasn't back yet, so we had dinner by ourselves. I guess people in the DR eat dinner much later than Americans - the front desk lady looked at us like we were crazy and we were the only people in the restaurant for the entirety of our meal. Jon didn't get back until Jonah was already in bed. He had a long day of work and just ordered room service for dinner. Sounds like all of his days here are going to be like that, unless the weather turns bad. So, Jonah and I will continue our adventures on our own. I think tomorrow we'll do our swimming in the morning and go out in the afternoon to avoid the chilly pool experience.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

First Day in DR

After a very long day of travel Jonah and I made it safely to The Dominican Republic last night.  The first leg of the trip was pretty bad in terms of Jonah being antsy and not satisfied by my attempts to entertain him.  I even had an episode of Sesame Street loaded on my iPod, but he just wanted to keep taking the headphones out of his ears and put them in his mouth for which he got spanked... He had meltdowns because I wouldn't let him play with my lotion or lipstick.  By the end I wanted to take him to the back of the plane and shut him in a bathroom.  At least when we landed he jumped up and down on my lap and shouted, 'Yay! We did it!'  It was very cute.

We made a quick connection in Miami with just enough time to go to the bathroom/ change a diaper, but not enough time to get anything to eat.  I had some snacks in my bag so we survived.  Jonah did better on the second leg - maybe he was a little more subdued because he was tired.  There was a very sweet lady next to us who held him in her lap for a while and read to him and played with him.  That really helped.

We made it through customs quickly and found our suitcases at the baggage claim... We had checked our carry-on bag at the gate in DC because it was a full flight and they were asking people to check things.  That bag did not make it to our destination.  It is still missing.  It contained my makeup, miscellaneous toys and things for Jonah and.... our laptop.  I am sad because it had Jonah's entire life in pictures and I'm worried because it had our tax returns on it, which means all of our personal information.  So, please pray that it will be returned to us, or at the very least that whoever finds it doesn't decide to use our personal information.

We're staying at a very nice hotel near the airport, but the surrounding area isn't quite as nice.  When we looked out our window this morning we could see down to the swimming pool, but on the other side of the pool walls is a field with all sorts of random trash, a train box car, and grazing cows.  I lifted Jonah up to look out and he said, 'Cows swimming!'  We had a nice breakfast in the hotel and then Jonah and I went swimming.  We had a wonderful time!  The floatie suit worked, but he would tip over if I wasn't holding him.  Then we tried the floatie suit in combination with the arm floaties - perfect!  He looked hilarious, but he could float and swim around all by himself (of course I was always right by him, you nervous Nellies!).  He was so happy - he kept saying, 'Yay, floaties!'  Then we dried off, had lunch, took a nice long nap, and then ventured out in a taxi to the grocery store.  The traffic was totally crazy - I'm glad I wasn't trying to do it myself in a rental car.  We got some snacks and drinks and baby wipes - another thing that was lost in the missing carry-on.  By the time we got back it was time for dinner and Jon was back from the airport so we ate together at the hotel restaurant and put Jonah to bed.

I wish I had pictures to share, but the hotel computer doesn't have a slot for our memory card so until we get the laptop back we probably won't be able to post pictures.  But stay tuned for more updates in the days to come!