Happy Birthday Anna Clare!

The Romansky's welcomed a baby girl into their family last night at 9:38pm 6lb 6oz 19inches. Healthy mom and baby and a second successful natural child birth! WAY TO GO Romansky's!

I am eager to meet the latest edition, but after being the 'new mom' I can hold off and give the family a few days. Before you are in that situation you are so eager to go see the new baby and you don't really factor in ALL the people who go to the hospital and how that might be overwhelming, but then you have one and wise up!

Blythe is really talking a lot these days, probably still only about 15 discernible words, but lots of babble and it seems like each day one of those babbles becomes a real word, at least that mom and dad can discern.

Blythe's latest super cute thing is to pick up a purse (preferably mine, but I try to keep it out of reach), put it on her arm and then wave bye bye and walk away, its SO cute!



Just wanted to jump on here real quick to note that I just felt the baby move for the first time, probably around 5:15pm! I can't remember how far along I was with Blythe before I felt her move, I will have to go back and see if I documented it.


Super Mom or Just Crazy?

So yesterday afternoon the weather was AMAZING! I felt like I really should go for a run and I couldn't deny our need for a grocery store run any longer. So I decided why not try and kill 2 birds with 1 stone. SO Blythe and I jogged (o.k. Blythe rode) to the grocery store, picked up some essentials (you can only fit so much in the stroller and I got plenty of funny looks as I was sticking fruit and other items in random places), and then jogged home. Overall it was a great outing, we got to enjoy the nice weather, mommy got some MUCH needed exercise, and we have milk, bread, and fruit!

P.S. I have to admit that I am a little sore today :( Guess that's what a 2.5 mile jog will do to you when you are OUT OF SHAPE!


Teeth, Teeth, and More Teeth

I am sure you remember that Jason and I endured a couple of less than pleasant, lack of sleep nights during our Ecuador trip. Well by the time we got home and thought to look in the way back of Blythe's mouth we noticed 4 MOLARS. Perhaps Blythe was teething during those nights where she was happy to be distracted and furious to be attempting to sleep. So total she has her 4 top in a row and then 2 molars on each top side and then on the bottom she has the 4 in a row in the center. Well she is also working on #5 and 6 in a row on the bottom AND bottom MOLARS.

I guess they got the best of her last night when she woke up at 2:30am and was not wanting to go back to bed. After she wrestled around unhappily for an hour, at ice, and used the teething ring we gave her Tylenol and I sent her and Jason into the living room (For some reason I HATE giving her Tylenol, I guess I feel like I am drugging her so I always wait till I know that she is hurting instead of doing it first off, I am sure this frustrates Jason). I KNEW that Jason and Blythe would be able to sleep in, but momma has to go to work :(. Of course I didn't really go to sleep until Jason attempted to put her back to bed at 4:30am and she still wasn't too happy so I ended up nursing and rocking her and that worked till about 7:30am.

Here's to hoping the teeth break through and we have a full night of sleep tonight!


14 Week Appt.

We returned to College Station on Saturday evening and we had an appointment to check on Baby W #2 on Monday. My mom came into town to return Luke so she was able to stay with Blythe, while she was napping, while Jason and I went to the appointment. We heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time and it was strong and fast! Just for memory sake I should say that it felt like the doctor had the heart beat thing on my stomach for quite a while before he found the heart beat. Jason and I both said that we were about to ask a question when he pointed it way down and then ta da loud and strong. The doctor made the comment that the baby was still really far down, but there is nothing wrong with that. I also lost 4 pounds from the 10 week appointment, but I think that is due to the traitorous sickness we had before Ecuador and all of our activity while in Ecuador. Watch I will have gained 8 pounds by the 18 week appointment.

Our next appointment is the 'BIG' 18 week sonogram, but not so 'BIG' for us because we are going to wait and let the gender be a surprise, but we will get to see the little one in motion and count fingers, toes, etc. We have that appointment on February 5th so look for an update then.


Day 12, 13, and 14 in Quito

We spent our last 3 days in Quito and they were pretty low key. The first day we arrived in Quito we had to bid our trusty driver and guide farewell. We wouldn't need them in the busy city and the airport is only 30 minutes away so it was time for them to head home to their family back in Guayaquil, they missed Christmas, but at least they will be home for New Years. We had a parting lunch and then we were going to say our goodbye's but they convinced us that we should let them take us to the museum. If you remember from earlier we haven't had much luck with Museums and this was no exception. It was quite a feat to find the museum and once we finally found it they were going to close in about 20 minutes, but luckily they did let us in, for FREE! Of course since I decided to pack a smaller bag and just throw in a few diapers and wipes Blythe has a huge blow out and kicks her pants. Knowing that we were only going to be there for about 20 minutes and then returning to the hotel I was not going to put the soiled britches back on her. So yes, I let my 16 month old run around a museum in a diaper and sweater! After the museum they dropped us off at the hotel and we said our goodbye's for real this time.

Day 13 we got to experience the local public transportation which was good. I was impressed that kids right the bus for free until the age of 6, although to be fair Ecuador was VERY baby/kid friendly. We hopped on the bus for .25 a piece and made our way to the first location of the "walking tour." We hit several "hot spots," but to be honest nothing really stood out in my mind, but that's pretty much how we spend our 2nd day in Quito. Day 13 was also New Years eve, but as I am sure you won't be surprised to hear I did not welcome in 2010 at midnight. The gang was watching a movie and Blythe decided she needed a bit of a nap. Normally at 6:30 I would not encourage a nap, but I thought hey she might take a nap till around 8, then we will go eat and have a later night. We were watching the movie in Jim and Becky's room and Blythe and I curled up on the bed for our "nap." Apparently Blythe was exhausted because she just kept sleeping. The gang headed out for dinner about 8pm and when they returned around 10pm Blythe was still asleep. I fell asleep while they were at dinner and I wasn't very motivated to move and luckily no one asked me. At some point Jim and Becky decided they were ready to crash so we did a "room switch" for the night. Pretty funny how a little 16 month old can rule the roost.

Day 14 we hopped back on the bus and took a ride back into old Quito to see if another museum was open, NOPE. Clearly Ecuador is not the place to go if you are a museum person, or perhaps it was because we were there during the holidays and power outages. We spend the remainder of the day checking out a few parks and taking it easy. We played a few games of cards and enjoyed a relaxing day before our next big travel day.

Day 15 we started at 6:00am so we could be loaded and headed to the airport by 7am. Blythe slept for a total of an hour and a half from Ecuador to DFW and then slept the entire way from DFW to College Station. I think she did MOST excellent in the airplane and I couldn't have asked for more. Other than the few sleepless nights I was very impressed with how well Blythe traveled overseas and how well she dealt with her lack of freedom.

Lots of thanks to the Wilkes parents for letting us tag along :)


Day 10 and 11 in Mindo

We were originally scheduled to spend Day 10 and 11 in Cotopaxi, but after a group vote we decided to go to Mindo instead where it would be warmer and we could do the zip lines. We left Otavalo early because we planned to take a ride on the teleferiqo and go to the middle of the world monument in route to Mindo.

We arrived to the edge of Quito about 10:45 where we were going to ride the Teleferiqo, but by the time we got to the end of the line we saw that it was going to take several hours to go through the line AND at 11pm they had to turn off the electricity and were going to be powered by a generator so instead of taking 25 minutes to get to the top it would take 45. We opted to wait and try to arrive earlier on our way from Mindo to Quito.

We arrived to the middle of the world (standing on the Ecuador) about lunch time. We saw the monument, which was actually pretty lame, but hey can you be at the middle of the world and not go take the Corney picture where one foot is on one side and one is on the other? So yes we did that! After our photo shoot we had lunch and went to the local museum, but we cut it short when we saw that is was about to start pouring.

We loaded back into the car and continued on to Mindo. The drive from Quito to Mindo was VERY windy, the roads were decent, but lots of curves as we were circling up a mountain. We arrived to Mindo about 5:30 to see our $6 per person accommodations. It was actually a really neat place, it kinda reminded me of the tree house in Swiss Family Robinson. We all had our own room and a hot shower. The facility was not completed so there was plenty of opportunity for bugs, mesquito's, etc. to crawl into your bed and sleep with you, but we didn't have any problems. Luckily this was at an altitude where we didn't have to worry about the Malaria mosquito's.

The next morning we started with a butterfly exhibit. We saw 28+ different kinds of butterfly species and Blythe thought they were very pretty. Yes she tried to tug at their wings, but we did our best to make sure they all stayed in tact.

Next stop was the zip lines! We went to 2 waves, boys then girls. The course consisted of 13 zip lines and would take about an hour and a half. Blythe wasn't quite old enough for the zip lines so us girls played with Blythe while the boys went and then we switched. I thought it might be a little intimidating being so high up on zip lines that I am sure are not inspected with scrutiny like they would be in the US, but I actually never thought twice about it. The zip lines were a lot of fun, but after 13 times the harness started rubbing and you were pretty much satisfied. Did I mentioned that you got 13 zip lines for only $10 a person...WOW..yes things in Ecuador were much cheaper than in the US.

After the zip lines we headed to lunch and on to our last stop. Our last stop was a hike in the cloud forest and bird watching. We didn't end up seeing very many birds, but we did see a good variety of humming birds.

Day 7-9 in Otavalo

We left Papallacta at the leisurely time of 2:00 so everyone could enjoy the hot tubs and get their spa treatment. We also weren't in any big rush to arrive at the next location since we would be there for 3 days and it was another luxury 'resting' point.

We had about a 4 hour drive to Otavolo and as far as I remember the drive was just fine, until we got close to our destination. We were staying at Hotel Ali Shungu mountain top lodge and let me tell you it was nothing shy our mountain TOP. We first headed up the correct road, but after going a little ways the driver or guide, not sure which, decided that wasn't the correct road, so we turned back around and headed up another road. (Problem: there was a HUGE ditch and it looked very iffy as to whether we would make it). As soon as we plowed our way through the ditch there were some local around the corner that were just laughing at us and when we asked them if we were on the right road they just laughed and pointed to the road we had just come from and said that had been the correct road, so reverse!

Once we arrived at Ali Shungu it was beautiful! We had 2 full houses. This hotel came with breakfast and dinner and 2 hours of horseback riding every day. The food was excellent and the little 12 year old girl that served us was beautiful and very mature.

Otavolo is known for their animal and commodities market that happens every Saturday. The animal market happens very early so we were up at 6:00 and headed down the mountain by 7. The animal market was quite a site. We saw pigs, goats, sheep, rooster, you name it on leashes. We also saw chickens, roosters, guinea pigs, and more in sacks. It was certainly an experience, but a very stinky one at that.

Next we hit the commodities marketplace where we walked around to look at all the homemade goods. We ended up getting Blythe several band piece, maracas, a rain stick, a drum, and a shaker. This made for really fun and noises car rides for the rest of the trip! Jason found a hat, and a sword made from an animal tooth. I found a necklace that I was interested in, but the guy was being stubborn and wouldn't go down the .50 I wanted so I walked away ( I know, typical Monica to not purchase anything).

After the market we headed back to the mountain to take our 2 hour horse back ride...unfortunately it rained and the ride was cancelled, but we had a great time playing countdown.

The next morning Becky, Rachel, Blythe, Nathan, and I headed to church and to a few of the small local towns around Otavalo. We had heard of a few master weavers that were a must see. Jim, Byron, and Jason decided to stay at the mountain top and do their 2 hours horse ride (we had to go in sessions because there were only 4 horses). The first weaver we went to was Jose C. he showed us how he weaved and I am sure had other very intellectual things to share, but Blythe found hats so you know where I was! She must have tried on 20+ hats, oh and the face she made when she model them was priceless! In the end we all found either a rug or a wall hanging from him to bring home. We have a tapestry from Spain that is hanging in our room so I thought a tapestry from Ecuador would be appropriate (I guess this means I am collecting them now). I decided on a white and grey tapestry with a pre-Columbian frog, you'll just have to come see it.

Next we headed to another weaver, this weaver does it old school style where as Jose C. was a mix of traditional and new aged. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, Blythe fell asleep on the way to his place so I sat in the car with her for an hour and a half while she napped. Apparently he was amazing and even made his own thread! He was quite a site to see, per Becky, Rachel, and Nathan.

Day 6 in Papallacta

Talk about a CHANGE of scenery! We went from roughing it to living the high life. Papallacta was pretty much a resting/recovering point from the jungle. It was Christmas Eve after all. Right outside of out hotel room were hot tubs of different temperatures just waiting for us to enjoy. We all immediately got into them and it was so WARM and relaxing, remember those stone cold showers we took in the jungle?? After indulging in the hot tubs we all cleaned up and headed to Christmas eve dinner.

Once we arrived in Papallacta Rachel and I noticed a spa along the side of the road and we immediately told the driver he could go ahead and drop up off. Of course that didn't happen, but we joked that we could always walk back. At the time we didn't know what lie ahead, with the hot tubs, hot springs, and even a spa on the property. The Christmas we were in Spain we all bought gift to exchange white elephant style on Christmas day, but we had not had the opportunity in Ecuador since we have pretty much all been together, for safety, since we arrived. Instead the Wilkes decided that we should all pick a spa treatment for Christmas day insteaad of the exchange, WHOO HOO. Jason and I both opted for the 60 minutes full body massage and it was fabulous.


Day 5 in Tena

We were scheduled to arrive in Tena around 2:30, but did not arrive until close to 6. We searched around for the check-in building and our local guide and driver asked several locals. After making several circles we abruptly stopped and our guide let a guy into our car. At first I was thinking "um, why did we just let some strange Ecuadorian into our van," but Rachel had seen that his shirt had the name of the place we were looking for so rather than having him point it out we decided to give him a lift and have him take us straight there. By the time we got checked in and headed to the jungle it was getting dark. Imagine driving through a very dense jungle in the dark. There were a few seconds of worry that we were about to be tethered to a pole and left there, not really warranted thoughts, but we did get the heebie jeebies.

We finally arrived at our jungle destination and the driver and guide unloaded our luggage. We blindly walked to our "hut" and were told to wait there until our jungle guide came back for us because he had to go back into town to get the other guide who would help prepare our dinner. So here we were, all 8 of us, in the middle of nowhere, no electricity, no water, just flashlights and a lot of questions. We attempted to get settled in, but quickly learned that the toilets did not flush and there was no running water in the sinks (this was more disturbing for some than others). Hey we were only going to be here one night and its like camping, except with lots of bugs. Being that I am pregnant it was not advisable for me to take the malaria medicine so I tried to stay doused in all natural bug repellent.

About and hour later our jungle guides returned and we headed to dinner. The food was very delicious, but we were all a little worried that we might have some ill reactions since it probably wasn't prepared in the most sanitary conditions. After dinner we had a cultural demonstration where some of the people from the local village sang and danced for us. By this time it was about 11pm and Blythe and I were ready for bed so we turned in, as did the rest of the clan. We got Blythe snuggled into the pack 'n play and put the mesquite net over it on hopes that she would stay mosquito free (the malaria mosquito's are out at night).

The next morning began about 6:30am with more dousing of bug spray and a great breakfast. After breakfast we all got fitted (or as best we could) into some rubber boots so we could start our trek into the "real jungle." Yes, we thought we were already in the jungle, but alas we were not. When we got to the entrance of the jungle we had a ceremony which included face paintings so that the jungle spirits would protect us from the jungle. Those are some strong jungle spirits because we all managed to make the hike without any bites! When I say hike, I really mean HIKE, we were going up hill pretty much the entire way, but when we got to the top it was SO worth it, what a view! We did not see many animals or birds as we thought we might in the jungle because most of them are nocturnal. Most of what we saw on the hike was plant life, which was pretty impressive I might add.

After the hike we went to the local village to see how they live and to see the children's Christmas celebration. O.K. so remember how I mentioned that it was like camping and we would be roughing it for 1 night? Well the accommodations that we had were luxury compared to how these people lived day to day. We had beds with mattresses, sheets, and a blanket, they had wooden planks with a sheet, luckily it is hot there and you pretty much want to strip down to your nickers anyway, but whose up for sleeping on wooden slats? I mentioned that the sink and toilet didn't initially work, but they did get them 'working'. The sink and shower only trickled and it was only COLD water and the toilet ran non-stop, but compared to the NO sink, NO running water, and a hole to use for the restroom, we were high class.

The children in this village typically start school at 5 years only and only go for 10 years. At 15 they are eligibly for marriage and they usually start having children soon after. We went and looked at their classrooms, there were about 4 of them. Pretty much 4 circular rooms with a few desk in them and if your lucky some art work on the wall. We then went to their gymnasium (cement with no walls) to see their Christmas production. They sang us a few songs and then we sang Jingle Bells to them. The kids and adults were in awe of Blythe, they wanted to take pictures with her and their kids and hold her. We got a couple of cute picture of Blythe and the natives.

Next we returned to our plush cabins and had a stone cold shower. After we showered we loaded up our luggage, had lunch, said our goodbyes, and headed to Papallacta.