Wednesday, October 29, 2008

BellyWatch2 | 14 Weeks

According to, here are this week's big developments: "Your baby can now squint, frown, grimace, pee, and possibly suck his thumb!" (...which pretty much sounds like Justin to me, but anyway...) In other news: Our baby #2 is stretching out. From head to bottom, (s)he measures 3 1/2 inches — about the size of a lemon — and weighs 1 1/2 ounces.

As for mom and whether she is showing yet, had you asked me just 3 days ago, I would have say "yes, but not so much"... but a funny thing happened about 2 days ago. I promise, it was like she skipped about 10 weeks of pregnancy in 2 days. On Sunday she was still flying under the radar, looking "kinda maybe pregnant"... but by Monday evening she was bursting at the seams in the same shirt that fit just fine 48 hours ago. Craziest thing I've ever seen. But other than that, everything is still sunshine. Next week is the next doctor's appointment, and from there we'll be just a stone's throw away from getting our first ultrasound (I still can't believe we had to wait this long for the first snapshot... with Justin, we probably had a dozen ultrasounds by now... but then again maybe that's why he's such a ham). Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Harry Houdini

Neither one of us are exactly sure how he got in there... but I couldn't pass up capturing this hilarious moment on film. More proof that given just 14 seconds unattended, children will find a way to get into just about anything.

Pure comedy.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Still Breathing

Where have we been? Well, we've been...

At work, mostly.
Just like with the first pregnancy, the arrival of the 2nd trimester was like flipping a light switch. V was re-invigorated, back on her toes, and everything was great in the Reyes household... for about 4 days... at which point the strain of the midterms, PTA meetings, committee work, and overcrowded classrooms reclaimed us both; turning our energy levels upside down. And so the past 2 weeks have been a whirlwind. But of course that's the way the cookie crumbles. Just like in other professions, teachers have to learn to ride the wave: one minute you have time to grade EVERY paper with a fine-toothed comb, and lollygag your day away... and in the next minute you barely have time to tie your shoelace, let alone update a blog. So yeah... we've been swamped. But of course the tide will turn again (as it always does) and before you know it we'll be on some kind of extended break (winter, spring, summer... ) talking about how cool it is to be a teacher and actually looking forward to getting back to work, as twisted as that sounds right now. 

At the doctor.
V's next appointment is still 2 weeks away, but Justin visited his doctor a few weeks ago and is doing great. The tooth count is still at four and the doctor confirmed that he still has his daddy's head. His measurements put him in the 75th percentile for head circumference, 50th for height, and a measley 10th for weight (which is actually an improvement from the 95/40/6 split we got last time). Along those lines, the really good news is that after a steady 5 months of weighing 20 pounds, our little pip squeak finally weighed in at 21 pounds  during his wellness checkup. However, the bad news is that he came home quite depressed... walking around asking everyone, "This diaper makes me look fat, doesn't it?!" And speaking of home, we've also been...

At home.
Justin has had his fair share of company recently. Between us baby-sitting for some friends on Friday nights, having a number of kids to watch during care group on Thursdays (which we now host and facilitate here at home), and showing some neighboring kids to a fun Saturday at the zoo, you'd think we were running a foster home over here. Of course, Justin loved every minute of it, as he welcomes any break from the peace and quiet that V and I enjoy when it's just the 3 of us. 

At the airport.
We had some grown-up company too, as V's mom paid us a visit from South Carolina this past weekend. Her lasagna was worth it's weight in gold (delicious!) but it was definitely outdone by the virtue of her free baby sitting services. While Elena and Justin had a great time together, V and I were more than appreciative of the chance to spend a little quality time without Mr. Giggly (aka Justin Alexander)... Because as much fun as he is, sometimes I can't help but to think... what in the world are we going to do when we have TWO of him to keep up with?!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

BellyWatch2 | 12 Weeks

Signs of Life: Mobile phone footage from yesterday's doctor visit.

Baby (who is now the size of a lime...) and mom are doing great.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Milestones IIXX / BabyWatch2

Here's the latest scoop on the Reyes Quartet:

As of tomorrow, V will be 11 weeks pregnant and the 4th member of our family will have grown to about 1.5 inches in length; the size of a fig... and no, I don't have a picture of a fig... but does! 

• Last Thursday V made a visit to her acupuncturist specifically to address the nausea and excessive fatigue that I've written about... and just like that the symptoms were gone. Now typically I'm a (huge) skeptic of "alternative medicines", but between the success this acupuncturist has had with V's previous chronic hip pain and now her nausea, I'll be the first to admit that it's getting kinda hard to maintain my skepticism. So I just shut up and pay the bills. But on the bright side, I can at least still make fun of her for the little seeds that the acupuncturist makes her tape to her body all week. You weirdo! :oP

• Justin Alexander decided that elementary school (not to mention daycare and preschool) was overrated and enrolled in high school; hence the photos below. And while the experiment didn't last long, we did at least succeed in brightening mommy's day with a few visits to her workplace last week. 

• Justin also made his 1st visit to the doctor in quite a while. After 3 weeks of sniffling and whatnot, he was finally prescribed amoxicillan plus an inhaler / breathing apparatus to address the asthmatic symptoms that seem to always accompany his colds. The good news is that I think it's been about 6 months since he has last been sick, which to me is an accomplishment after what seemed like a flurry of infections during is first 9 months of life.

• Tooth #4 has made it's debut. Justin's progression towards words also seems to be going well (translation: he won't shut up). As soon as Congress approves adding an 8th day to the week, I'll be sure to make time to edit and upload a new video highlighting his verbosity.

• The doctor also took his height and weight. At 15 months & 3 days he measured up at 30 inches tall, and (good grief) still 20 pounds for what I think is about 4 months now. The good news is that he was actually 20 pounds and 15.5 ounces... so with two more hamburgers and a milkshake, we just might break that 20 pound barrier once and for all. But I wouldn't suggest holding your breath for that one.

Financial Snapshot V

While I didn't plan on doing another financial snapshot anytime soon, it just dawned on me that V and I recently hit another important financial milestone worth sharing. Did we pay off our house? HA! Very funny... In fact, if you combine the 3 mortgages we carry (primary + 2 rental props), we are still on the hook for over $450,000 of mortgage-related debt (and that can be a scary number to look at in these uncertain times)...

So what's our milestone? Well, for the first time since being married, V and I have a positive liquid worth! wooo whoooo. In other words, that just means that we actually have more money in our bank account than we owe on our (non-mortgage related) debts. In the past 3 months, we basically made about a $7K swing in our finances by means of a summer teaching program, a wedding photography opportunity, 2 eBay auctions, and the usual Scrooge-like budgeting and spending habits.

And while a positive liquid worth is probably not a huge accomplishment for many, it is definitely huge for us. Are we debt free yet? Um... no, not quite. But in the last 2+ years, we have gotten our short-term (e.g., student loans & credit card) debt down from $32,000 to about $9500. And even though that's still a lot of money owed, finally shedding that negative liquid worth was a needed pat on the back and encouragement for our efforts so far... because if I had a dollar for every time I wanted to throw budgeting and sacrifice out the window... I mean, sometimes a brother just wants a new camera, a plane ticket to anywhere, and better reception on his no-cable-television.

So what's next? For now I still have not decided if we will continue with the public financial snapshots or not. Truth be told, I think the public accountability provided by this blog helped us a lot; particularly in times when tough decisions had to be made concerning sacrifice for the betterment of our finances. And I've also enjoyed the dialog that the finance portion of the blog has facilitated with family and friends... If nothing else, we're trying to do our part to help take away the taboo associated with discussing ones personal finances. And so since we still haven't reached our bigger goal of being totally debt-free, I'm leaning towards continuing with the updates until we get there... but we'll see.

Justin & I crunched the numbers together 
and were pleased with the results 

Oh! One more thing. I'd be remiss to close my first finance entry in a while without addressing the current economic situation. There are people writing about the economic downturn that are way smarter than I am, so I will not bore you with my unremarkable opinions (except to say that I'm as opposed to the proposed bail-out plan as a person could possible be). However, I did want to share two emails that V forwarded to me recently. The first is Dave Ramsey's alternative to the current proposal. Even though I think the title of his plan is a bit presumptuous, the plan seems to accomplish the same intended results without the broad brush of amnesty that the government is suggesting. The second is an email she got from a friend who is not only financially savvy but also works within the banking sector. The email detailed what I thought was sound advise for the everyday guy and gal from a person much better informed than I. In fact, at least one thing in the email (her point #4) caused us to rethink some of our current financial strategies (e.g., prioritizing the accumulation of savings versus debt payments in volatile times); and so I thought I'd share the entire email in hopes that at least one other person found her insights worthwhile. Click here for the full letter. Enjoy.