Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Day

Click here for the making of a train set. I guess this is what daddy has to look forward to: years of head-scratching and puzzle solving on Christmas morning as I try to turn parts into a whole.

Friday, December 25, 2009

3 Days Early

This year, Christmas came on December 22 in our household (I know... I know... and you're thinking, "must they do everything unorthodox?"). No, we didn't just do it because we could (i.e., since neither of our kids can read a calendar yet and they wouldn't know the difference). Instead, we were just making the best of a frustrating situation that involved blown surprises and idiot retailers (thanks, yet again, Amazon, for sending boxes with the name of the content plastered on the front). Anyway, it was a small celebration, with just a single present exchanged per person. And a nice prelude to the festivities that will take place in about another hour and a half, once the kiddies wake up this morning.

In any event, Merry Christmas to all. And a most prosperous new year.

PS... notice V sporting her new pendant from our wedding anniversary 4 days ago. 5 years in the making. Happy Anniversary!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jazzy Stones IX

It's official. We have finally done away with what is quite possibly the most awkward invention ever created: the infant car seat. Yep. No more infant seat for Jasmine Olivia. She has officially traded it in for toddler seats and restaurant high chairs. And with that, little miss muffet is just beside herself with the fact that she now has the same car seat as her brother (albeit still rear facing for now). And so marks the end of an era... and the beginning of some wholesale listings on eBay and Craigslist as we say goodbye to a host of baby items like the bumbo, infant seats, swing, etc... along with a few things that we should've gotten rid of a long time ago, like the baby bathtub. Even though (I think) I've come to terms with the fact that we're stopping at 2 kids (at least sans adoption), I've gotta say that selling all of the baby stuff is still going to be difficult for me. It's just so... final. On one hand, the sense of "this is it!" might be a little too potent for me to handle... but on the other hand... being just 10 days away from turning 35, I simply have to ask myself 3 questions:

1 Do you want to be the old parent at high school graduation?
2 Have you seen your bank account lately?
3 Remember Jasmine 4 months ago?

... and suddenly stopping at 2 makes all the sense in the world. Not to mention that, with these two wonderful kids, who could ask for anything more. Life is good.

Quarantined pt. III

We now know that pink-eye comes in 2 flavors: viral and bacterial. Need I say more? I think you see where this is going. In short, Jasmine came down with the latter (and luckily less severe) form about 36 hours ago. And if you think keeping 2 kids quarantined is a task, try keeping just one kid quarantined when the two are in the same household. Luckily, mommy was quick to react with an 8 pm visit to the doctor Monday night, got the treatment we needed, and put Jasmine well on her way to recovery. As for the contagion, it looks like we dodged the bullet. The 3 healthy members of the family seem to be pink-eye free, Jasmine's right eye is no longer dripping guck, and daddy is being optimistic about this being the last entry he'll have to write entitled "Quarantined".

Monday, December 21, 2009

Southern Blizzard

While the rest of the east coast was preparing to dig itself out from a record weekend blizzard, we got our usual "OH MY GOSH... IT'S GONNA SNOW IN HAMPTON ROADS!!!" warnings... followed by the usual snow dusting that melted away by noon. In any event, it was Justin's second snowfall (and obviously Jasmine's first) and this time it didn't disappoint; staying on the ground at least long enough for him to conduct an experiment or two.

"Hmm... it's cold... soft.. and easily shaped by my fingers... only thing left to determine is..."

"... is it crunchy?"

Not only did it prove crunchy, but evidently it was very delicious. He proceeded to have seconds and thirds after the first handful. I think he would have cleaned off the whole patio if we let him.

Jasmine, however, was content to stay in the living room and conduct her own experiment of the physical sciences: "Time studies of tensile strength using malleable surfaces" (also know as, can I gum my way through a plastic bottle before they take it away?)

As for what mommy had to say about it all: Don't bother me... I'm clipping coupons.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday Paper

Jasmine "Baby Jesus" Olivia Reyes. Virginian Pilot, Sunday Paper.

For more info and pictures of the Bethlehem walk @ King's Grant Presbyterian Church, click here to visit the newspaper's blog.

Cell Phone Snaps

With final exams ending over a week ago, you'd think I'd have more time to post. But as usual, the end of classes at the University just means more time to do the million and one things that I've put off during the 4 months of instruction. But on the good side of things, it also means quite a bit more time with the wife and kiddies. It's been pretty doggone cold outside, but we've had fun for a change being holed up for the past week or so (usually staring at the walls for days at a time would be enough to drive us all mad). Here are some cell phone pictures of the kiddos wreaking havoc in the bookstore during last weekend's excursion to Barnes and Noble. These two are forever entertaining.

I'll trade you 2 Elmos and a Big Bird
for your puppet book over there.

We're busted... hide the goods.

While I was tending to Jasmine, Justin had evidently taken all of
the stuffed animals off the shelf, lined them up, laid down with
them; and as I turned the corner told me that Dora and
her amigos went "nite nite". I guess they looked tired to him.
Gotta love a child's imagination.

Of course, there are no books worth reading on the bottom shelf.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quarantined pt. II

A germaphobe is defined as any person who is obsessed with cleanliness and defeating bacteria. And on one hand, I'm clearly not a full-fledged 'phobe [I live by the 3 second rule (which is occasionally extended to the 3 minute rule) and will eat a downed potato chip off of pretty much any surface]... But on the other hand, if we go by sentiment alone, then I think I could have become an instant vote-in for the germaphobe club president when I opened my front door last week. In walks a two-year-old that we had agreed to babysit overnight, her nose dripping with mucus and coughing like a chain smoker. And so the fun began. A 24 hour chorus of coughing, and a revolving door on the nose-wiping department. The truth is, given the circumstances, we probably could have done better with quarantining her (lets play a game called "hide in the attic")... but as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

And sure enough, two days later, Justin is in the bed with the chills, a 102 degree temperature, two vomit sessions, and an inability to slow his breathing below 45 breaths per minute. You want to talk about a long night? Kudos to the doctors and nurses that we kept on the phone past midnight. Our only saving grace was that Jasmine slept thru it all. As for the "VH1 where are they now?" update, Justin has been diagnosed with a touch of pneumonia, which is only complicated by the usual asthmatic precondition that he hasn't quite outgrown yet. Mommy is in the bed; itchy-throated and congested. And Jasmine is the entertainment: making everyone laugh by blowing snot bubbles thru her nose while still grinning from ear-to-ear. Ironically enough, I think my only saving grace is that I had the flu (I think for the first time ever) about 2 or 3 weeks ago, and so my immune system seems to be at full throttle now. But of course, as I write this, I'm sipping a cup of tea to soothe my throat that has suddenly become just a wee bit itchy (ugh). So we'll see what happens.

As for now, we are officially in quarantine again here at the Reyes residence. Stay back 500 feet. Or take your chances with the nose-dripping snot-packing posse known as my family. You've been warned.

"We're in this together, kiddo."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


So Jasmine decided that she wanted to compete with Justin on the modeling and acting front. We told her to start slow... maybe get a role as a giggling baby... or a non-speaking role as an extra, just crawling by in the background... but nooooo.... She couldn't start there. She just had to show up her brother. So what does she do? She connects with a church in Virginia Beach (the same one that hosted Justin's music lessons) and plays the role Baby Jesus in the holiday nativity scene.

Justin... good luck topping that one. I can just hear it now, "Oh you're playing opposite Denzel Washington in his next movie... that's cute and all... but nothing like that time that I played JESUS in front of a live audience of hundreds...". I smell the humble beginnings of a sibling rivalry. As for the nativity scene...

Clearly, Mary has got some explaining to do.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mommy & Me

Dining room portraits of my fam.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Around The Table

Thanksgiving at the Reyes household. Happy holidays to all.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jazzy Stones IX

At 7 months and 8 days, Jasmine Olivia is evidently not willing to stay a baby for much longer. Babygirl is crawling, cruising, pulling up, holding her own bottle, and starting to vocalize word-like sounds. The only thing left is walking... and we've got bets going as to if she'll be doing that by Christmas, New Year's Eve, or neither. She has also sustained her first major bruise, and it's a doosey: A shiny black-eye that makes her look like an extra from the movie Gangs of New York.

She's still breast-fed, but has also moved up to big-people status in that (when things are not too hectic around here) she gets 3 solid meals a day: oatmeal, and homemade sweet potatoes & pumpkin. And yes... we've still got pumpkin left. Hey, it was a big pumpkin.

In the "miscellaneous" category, every kid has got their quirks, and at this stage hers is this facial expression she does about 4 times every 7 minutes. I call it "smell your face", but whatever you call it, it's really funny. Click here to see for yourself. Otherwise, things are going well. Still no teeth. But sleeping through the night with no feedings (finally!!!!!!!). She's on a 9 pm to 7 am sleep schedule with a 50/50 shot at going back to sleep after eating at 7. Two naps a day if we're lucky. And a mohawk that would make Mr. T proud.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Justin Milestones XXIV

Sometimes I realize that we don't say much about Justin on the blog anymore (all Jasmine Jasmine Jasmine)... but in fact, the truth is that, given the opportunity I couldn't say enough about him or about how fortunate I know I am to have a son. I love that little boy to pieces. Sometimes I feel like my eyes will well up just to talk about him because I'm so overwhelmed with pride for the little crazy bugger. But that of course, is the trap of parenting. Milestones are the most adoring thing when you are still keeping track of your child's age by how many months they are... but then there's that fine line... when it crosses over to that unbearable brand of bragging that no one but a grandparent can appreciate. No parent knows when they cross that boundary. One day it just happens. And there's no turning back. It quickly turns into keychains with photos... and then morphs into Honor Roll bumper stickers... and from there you become (gasp) that parent. That parent that people avoid being in the room with for more than 4 minutes, because every conversation transforms into a discussion of how fantastic their child is. I should know... my mother was (gasp)... that parent.

But with that said, I thought it was finally time that we checked back in to see what the little tyke is up to these days. So with everything that I have, I will fight the urge to stand on top of a milk crate and scream through the crowded streets that my child is the greatest... Instead, I will sit here quiet and composed, and do my best to sound matter-of-fact as I mention a few things about the greatest son ever.. (ahem)... I mean, my son Justin.

At 29 months old (ha ha just kidding)... Justin Alexander...

Is a practical joker. He's a funny guy. He's got jokes. All. Day. Long. I remember reading about how it takes a certain level of cleverness to be funny; particularly in the realm of practical jokes, because you've gotta know the right answer in addition to which wrong answer will be funny. Kinda like how sarcasm takes wit. And so, understand my amusement when I'm being set up for practical jokes by a then one-year-old. The kid's hilarious. His only comedic flaw is that he laughs at his own jokes before he delivers them. But we'll work on that before he goes national with is stand-up routine.

Is shy. And that's very funny to say after just talking about his stand-up comedy. But he is definitely slow to warm to new people, and then totally a ham once he has deemed you a friend. No idea where he gets that from... I'm just such a people person (what are you laughing at?). He went from willing to go with anyone, to being that kid that cries every time we leave him at Sunday nursery.

Is bilingual. I'd say that his vocabulary is about 60/40 in terms of the spanish/english split... but in terms of actual speech and comprehension, I'd probably weigh it a little heavier on the spanish side. It also seems like his vocabulary just EXPLODED about 3 months ago, and from there he just took off. The changes are so subtle that it's really hard to pinpoint specific milestones. For example, we pretty much have no idea when he learned his alphabet. It's like he just did. And it would be equally hard to pinpoint when he started counting. But one funny moment that I will document, however, is about 2 months ago when we were counting with him to ten (in spanish) in the usual fashion: subdued for 1 thru 9, and the big exclamation at 10 ("DIEZ!") as if that was the last number ever made... and as we walked away, he goes... ONCE... DOCE... TRECE... and proceeds to count to twenty. V and I just looked at each other like did YOU teach him that?! Hilarious moment (evidently he learned it from tv, btw). And that was topped only 20 seconds later when he showed us that he could do it in english, too (though not quite as well)... which goes back to the shy part, because ask him to count in front of an audience at music class and you'd think that he was a deaf-mute with no home training. Gee... thanks for making me look like the superstar parent on that one. Way to go, kiddo (argh).

Is super affectionate. Words couldn't describe how great he is with his little sister. From spontaneous hugs and kisses, to the whispers of "don't cry Jasmine", to his level of restraint when he's minding his own business and she decides it's time to tear his face apart. I've always been content in my own status as an only child, but in watching the two of them interact, for the first time I feel the envy of how wonderful it could've been to grow up with a sibling that loves me as much as they obviously adore each other. Yesterday, V and I entered the room with Justin already there and Jasmine in our arms. Justin erupted with joy and ran to us. Both V and I were feeling the love... for about 3 seconds... until he grabbed Jasmine, the two of them smiled from ear to ear, greeting each other with hugs and kisses as if they hadn't seen each other in years, and then he went back to his business as if we weren't even there. I guess we don't rate.

And sometimes it's the little stuff that displays a level of thoughtfulness and perceptiveness that I would've never equated with a two-year-old. Like the times after a long day that he comes and pats me on my head and back, and look at me in silence as if to say, "you're alright with me, dad". And even though I take thousands of pictures of him and the fam, those are the moments that could never be captured, and that I know I'll miss the most.

Still confuses colors with sesame street characters. My shirt is not red, it's elmo. His action figure is not brown... it's Ernie. And the sun is not yellow... it's Big Bird. Mommy is a little distressed about it, but I just think it's hilarious. He'll grow out of it, but for now I'm enjoying the quirks and quarks of the learning process.

Just finished about two months of music class (no particular instrument) and swimming lessons.

Throws like superstar. We're still working on the catch, though.

Uses my ipod (vocab building apps) more than I do.

Is the greatest son ever. Okay sorry. I just couldn't resist. What can I say. I guess I'm that parent.