Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why You're Watching this Video...

To see:
1. Maximo's new favorite bathtime friend (it's in his left hand)
2. His (obnoxious, yet endearing) high pitch squeal
3. Maximo headbutting the shower door
Welcome to bath time at Los Lemleys

A Sneak Peek

Luciana came to school today to deliver Maximo's costume (which she made for $20). It's very, very cute. So, we came home today and put it on him. It's a little tricky getting it on him, but he actually was pretty happy with it on. We have two Halloween parties to attend the next couple of nights, so I was afraid I wouldn't have time to post pictures of him in his costume. Hopefully I'll get better ones at one of the parties. For now, this is all I've got."El Tiberon" with Gloria

Another Luciana costume we had made for my mother for a Christmas present last year...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feeling Like a Real Mom

This morning was just one of those mornings that I was just in Mommy bliss. Maximo slept through the night - I had gotten a good 8 hours of sleep and we just had an amazing morning together. He got up and we played, he ate a good breakfast, then he went down for a two hour nap. During this time, I made a cake (one of my favorites from childhood: Camping Cake) and roasted a leg of lamb. I even had time to get dressed and pick up a couple things around the house. It was fantastic. I felt like a true mom, raising a child, and keeping up the household.
I was sighing in maternal utopia when changing Maximo's diaper. In his fit of rage, he grabbed the bag of cornstarch (we use it like baby powder) and in a fraction of a second, we were both covered as was 1/2 of his bedroom in a fine white powder. If he wasn't on the changing table, I would have run for the camera, because it was quite comical.
We then left for the grocery store to pick up a couple of things. Maximo loves the Vivanda grocery store in our neighborhood because all the girls ooh and ahh over him. Lately he's started to flirt back with them, it's quite cute. He was doing fine, eating a cracker and smiling at all the girls as cooed over him, when the cracker fell. He didn't start fussing or anything, but I knew at that point he would have idle hands. Max started getting squirmy and then realized he could reach the groceries behind him, at which point he threw a bag of spinach on the floor about 40 times. I know I shouldn't have kept picking it up and throwing it back in the cart, but I'd prefer him to throw the spinach rather than my eggs.
We had a great midday meal and then he took a mini-nap (30 minutes). Afterwards, John took him for a walk, so I could clean up the kitchen. They came home and I took him back outside since it was such a gorgeous day, though we had to stay close to the house, because of this:
(sorry, I know it looks so gross, I wanted to share it - I just twisted it yesterday)
We played for an hour and a half in the sand at the playground and went down the slide about 10 million times. He had a great dinner, bottle, and was in bed by 6:30. I couldn't have planned a better Sunday.
My point. We definitely live a different lifestyle here than we would in the states. We have a small army that works for us. It was nice to be home today and look after my son, enjoy time with my husband and cook for my family. Saying this, I don't know how moms do it on a regular basis AND work full time. I know a lot of women do it, but I don't know how; I know you do what you have to do, but still, I think I'd crack. I would love to stay home and do this regularly, though I know it would be different. I was well rested today with nothing but the day to enjoy. I didn't have to think about doing any laundry or vacuuming the house (well except for the cornstarch blizzard in Max's room). I know I say this now and maybe if I was home all the time I'd feel differently, but I don't think so. Hopefully in the future, maybe with #2, I will be able to stay home for a little bit longer and feel like a real mom all the time!
The reality: A day like today makes Mondays all the harder.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I'm embarrassed to tell you how much time (hours) I've spent scouring the internet for the perfect costumes for us. While Halloween is celebrated here by Peruvians - a few kids will come to the door and yell "Halloween!", it is a really big event at our school. Since anything can be made at a fairly reasonable price here by talented seamstresses, really you be anything your heart desires. Find it on the internet, print it out, get measured by a seamstress and Voila! you can be anything you want. After seeing our past Halloween costumes, my mother knew exactly what she wanted for Christmas this year, so when she came to visit last November she also got her Christmas gift - a Luciana original (I'll post a pic of her after Halloween, because the costume is fab).
At first, I wanted a common theme for Los Lemleys, but we couldn't come to a consensus. The (ahem, my) top choices were:
1. John would be the Empire State Building, Maximo would be a gorilla (King Kong) and I would be Ann Darrow (the damsel in distress). Fair enough - John gets the short stick - walking around in an uncomfortable box as a skyscraper and looking cool only when holding Maximo for the hour he's up at school that day.
2. Cave Family - It would be cute, but a bit cold wearing bits of clothing, though John wanted to go to the Inca Market and sew his by hand out of alpaca.
So, as it stands now, we have Maximo's costume decided on, I'm 50% sure of what I'm going to do and John always has his famous tennis star look alike to fall back on if need be.
But, I'm not going to tell you what they are... you'll have to check back later for the photos.

Okay? Maybe?

Just a quick update on our exciting lives. It seems that Max has returned to normal (oh, I hope I didn't just jinx us). He has been without a fever now for a day and a half and has been breathing normally for about 48 hours now. So, I guess we're chalking this one up to a weird (and very scary) virus. Now, we just need to catch up on some well needed rest that we missed over the weekend.He's standing up by himself (but only when he leans up against the couch). He went from crawling to pulling himself and cruising so quickly, but it has been three months of crawling and cruising... when will this boy take a step? I shouldn't be complaining, we weren't even sure he'd even be crawling without great difficulty, so I should quit my belly-achin'. We thought he'd be walking before our next visit with the Development/Physio Doctor the beginning of November...
We'll see...

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Are We Lucky or Unlucky?"

This is the simple question John asked me today as we rolled into the gas station (yes, rolled, I'll explain later). On the whole, we are incredibly lucky - we have an amazing kid, a great marriage, wonderful families and friends, and happiness in our lives in general, but sometimes, I'll tell you what, it seems like the cards are against us. I hesitate to write this because I have a dear, dear friend who has a daughter who has been bravely battling an illness for over eleven months now, she and her family are the epitome of strength and my little hiccups along the way are nothing compared to her days, but I'll still share the antics that flow out of Casa Lemley.
So, on to Part III:
Maximo woke up today still breathing funny, but better and he took a nice nap this morning, so we felt calmer about the situation. While he was napping, I spoke with Dr. Z and he said that we could bring him to his office so we could talk face to face and so he could check him out again. After Max woke up and was still breathing funny, we decided to take him in. Amazingly, Dr. Z even saw us on a Sunday, and only charged us $30 more than a regular doctor's appointment. (Oh, I love the health care here - okay maybe not so much the ER last night, but it wasn't terrible.)
We were about 5 minutes from our house and another 15 from the clinic, when putt...putt...putt... click. We're so worried about Maximo that we forget to think about normal daily things like the gas gauge and we ran out of d*mn gas! Thankfully, we were only 2 blocks from the nearest station, so five minutes later, we were back on the road, headed to the doctor's office. (Note: we went straight to the doctor's office on the $3.00 of gas from the small container we filled, rather than going directly to a station - we didn't want to be late to the Dr.'s office on a Sunday, maybe not the smartest plan.) After talking with us and watching Maximo breathe, he suggested we get a chest x-ray and a viral swab to rule out anything major. Dr. Z said he wasn't super concerned because Maximo's breathing was normal while sleeping and wasn't consistently labored. Dr. Z called ahead and arranged our tests and we went across the street to Clinica Montesur (the place where Maximo was born and now gives me the heebee - jeebies everytime I even drive by the place - I got choked up looking out the laboratory window to the parking lot that I parked every day to see Maximo). We went and had the xray and then went to the lab to have Max's nose and throat swabbed. He didn't love it, but he was a trooper. The doctor on staff at the NICU read the xray then called Dr. Z and said that everything looked fine - that there were no obstructions and everything looked great. I was really thinking that it was going to look like this:But it didn't, it looked perfectly normal and healthy with no trace of the millions of things he puts into his mouth daily.
So, we left for home. Maximo's fever was back in full force at this time and I didn't have any fever reducer with me, so we just rolled the windows down - it was about 75 degrees today and let the cool breeze cool him off. He fell asleep, which was good, because he was definitely uncomfortable and his little cheeks were beet red. At this point, we get redirected because of a road closing into a neighborhood we're not familiar with, realizing we're now driving on about 30 cents worth of gas. A few minutes later, we finally see a gas station. It's totally full, so we have to wait. We pull behind another car, putt...putt...putt... click. We ran out of gas, AGAIN!
Yes, we realize this is our fault, but really, how much can we handle in one day on five hours of sleep? This is when John turned to me and asked me, "Are we lucky or unlucky?" I just had to laugh...

Baby Drama Part II

On Friday, Maximo seemed perfectly healthy. He followed his normal routine and was a happy little boy, so I thought it would be okay to take him swimming on Saturday morning. We went swimming, which was fine, and we continued on our day. He didn't sleep really well, so he was a bit clingy, but was breathing normally.
I took him out to run errands with me later in the day - to exchange a pair of shoes (which ended up taking an hour and a half because I didn't have the receipt) and then to stop by the grocery story. At the grocery store, his breathing became labored again. He cried most of the way home, which exasperated the problem, but then calmed down. He still continued to struggle for breath, but seemed okay. We put him in the tub and got him ready for bed. He was still breathing funny... he was exhausted from not sleeping very well, so he went to bed around 6:30. At 7:00 pm he woke up kind of panicky because he couldn't breathe, and continued to sleep and wake every 20 to 30 minutes. Finally at 8, I brought him in to our bed and I laid down with him - to keep him calm, but more so I could watch him breathe. When he'd fall asleep, his breathing would be less strained, but he breathed faster than he normally would when he slept. Even with me, he'd sleep for 20 - 30 minutes, then he'd wake up gasping for air. Finally, at 10:00 we decided to head off to the emergency room. (As we quickly got ready to leave, I WAY over packed his diaper bag, because I was convinced we were going to be admitted and I'd be spending the next week in a Pediatric ICU.)
When we arrived, we were seen right away which was nice. Maximo's SpO2 was 97% which was good (this is better than it was most of the time in the NICU), but his temperature was 101, but they told me in Celsius, so really it could have been 105 for all I knew. So, the doctor wanted to give him some Panadol (Tylenol) to help lower his temperature, because he felt this was adding to his breathing problems. He was pretty fussy there, so it was hard for the doctor to listen to his lungs. The doctor wanted to wait until he fell asleep in my arms to examine him (it was really bright in there and there was no way Max was going to fall asleep!). Finally, the doctor gave up waiting and listened to his lungs while I held him, which where clear. Then, he looked in his ears and down his throat. He said everything looked good, but he was concerned about Max's breathing. Again, we were sent home and told to "study" him and to contact his doctor for a consultation and possibly a chest xray. So, I slept all night with Maximo. I think he slept from 1:00 am to 6:30 am, waking a few times. At 1:00 am, I gave him Infant Motrin, which seemed to lower his temperature better than the Tylenol.
This morning, his breathing was still labored, but once he got up and moving, it seemed better. I called Dr. Z and he too wasn't super concerned. He said that if it was really serious he wouldn't be able to sleep well and his breathing would still be a problem once he was asleep. So, we'll continue to watch him, and probably not sleep well. I just hope you won't be reading a Part III to this saga.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Baby Drama

"John, I didn't over react last night, did I? He really looked like he was struggling with his breathing, right?"
"Yes, Jule."
This was our conversation this morning before John left for work as we watched Maximo gleefully play with his toys. Last night was a different story. We got home from work and Gloria told us that Maximo had been doing something funny since their morning trip to the park - like he was gasping; he was struggling to pull in his breath a bit. She didn't call us at work because Maximo had good color and seemed happy and normal, even eating all his lunch. I noticed it was a strange sound but he had no sign of illness - no cough, stuffy nose, nothing. Not twenty minutes after she left the house, Maximo started screaming and it didn't stop and his breathing sounded more labored.

My thoughts: He swallowed something and it's partially blocking his windpipe; he's having an allergic reaction to something; he has epiglotitis (my sister had this as a child); or he has something congenital defect which is rearing its ugly head now that Maximo is bigger - maybe something didn't develop properly because he came out so early.

I called Dr. Z's office and he said to bring him right in. Luckily he was at the office near us yesterday, so we arrived within 15 minutes of making the phone call. Even though his waiting room was full, we walked in just as an appointment was finishing, so they ushered us right in. Maximo calmed down in the car, but his breathing was still funny. As soon as I got his clothes off in the exam room, he started wailing again which made it really hard for Dr. Z to hear through his stethoscope. So, we went to another room to calm him down and play and Dr. Z came back in and stealthily checked him out.
"His lungs and airway are clear, but I do hear that he's struggling for breath. His color is good, though, he's getting enough oxygen. Take him home, but keep a close eye on him. Take his temperature every 3 hours to make sure he doesn't have an infection. If it gets worse, go to the ER and call me on the way." (Okay maybe I shouldn't have put that in quotes, it's not too exact)
So, we head back home, worried, but trusting Dr. Zegarra. Maximo ate okay, took a bath, read books, sucked down a bottle, then fell asleep. He slept the whole night. Even through the door creaking every few hours when John and I checked on him. He woke up this morning after the first full night of sleep for a week, happy as a clam.
I hope it was nothing, but it was very strange how it appeared, seemed so serious, then disappeared. On our way to the clinic to see the doctor, all I could think was that I was going back to the NICU with my baby, and that I was going to be stuck in the sweatpants I had thrown on after work because there was no way I was going to leave Max's side.
I called in to work last night, because I really thought we were going to have to return to the hospital, and I couldn't deal with lesson plans and calling school at 6 am. In the end, I probably didn't need to, but it was good to see Maximo in the morning and to see that he seemed to be doing fine and his "gasping" was over. I returned to school midday, so I could attend the last of my parent conferences. Let's hope this is the end of our baby drama for a while. I thought we had paid our dues.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A New Pair of Shoes

Warning: This video is a bit cruel - but we wanted you to have a visual.

If you insert Maximo wailing, this is pretty much what it looked like as we tried to put a pair of shoes on Maximo. Since it took both of us to hold him and get the shoes on, we don't have it documented. Maybe some other time. The physical therapist thought that would give him some added support to aid him in walking. We're going to have Gloria try it again tomorrow, before we just return the things.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Month 13

Everything's grand in MaximoLand.
Here are some tidbits of his world right now:
  • He is eating SO much - his newest foods are: pasta with tomato sauce, scrambled eggs, veggie burgers, salmon cakes, falafel, grapes. (no he's not a vegetarian, even though this list makes him seem so)
  • His favorite foods lately are: string cheese, mango, Cheerios, all things chicken, soda crackers, Chinese rice crackers, pasta, curry veggie pancakes, anything Mom and Dad are eating.
  • Favorite Condiment: Cream Cheese (on pitas, bagels, veggies)
  • Favorite Spice: Curry
  • Favorite Activities: Cruising around the living room, headbutting everything, going to the park to meet up with his friends, reading, talking, harassing Flavius, climbing the stairs
  • He was regularly sleeping through the night (7pm - 6 am), but has woken up for the past three, hopefully not a trend.
  • Loves water - splashing in the sink, playing in the bathtub, going to the pool
  • He loves to be around people
  • He will go to anyone, anytime. He hasn't seemed to go through an attachment phase (not yet anyways)
  • Hates to eat/drink cold things - milk, ice cream, refrigerated fruit
  • He waves bye/chau; claps his hands; shakes his head "no"; starting to point; will reach for the sky if you say "How big is Maximo?... So Big!" He could do it 100 times a clip

Monday, October 13, 2008

100% Boy

Just a couple of pictures from our day in the park. He loves being outside. He used his stroller as a jungle gym for a good 30 minutes, then loved being on Dad's shoulders and ripping leaves out of all the trees we passed.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sleep or Swim?

Today we had another great swim class. It's truly amazing what Maximo can do after five swim classes. He is comfortably going under the water now and knows that the cue 1, 2, 3... means close your eyes and shut your mouth. He absolutely loves the pool. It's a pretty structured class for it being a Parent and Child class. I thought we'd just splash around a bit. He plays on a noodle, we practice "backstroke" (him lying on his back with me supporting him - definitely his least favorite), he jumps in the pool into my arms, he goes under the lane markers, etc. Needless to say, it's going quite well and I'm really glad we're doing it - even though it means getting into a somewhat chilly pool, packing and leaving the house by 8:30 am on a Saturday morning. Really the worst of is making sure my exposed bits are shaved and then getting into a one piece (i.e. permanently wedgied on my long torso) bathing suit and put on a swimming cap on a gray, damp Lima morning.
Now, the only negative consequence of swim class is that his morning nap gets pushed back an hour and a half or so. This normally screws him up for the WHOLE weekend. He definitely needs his sleep like me and we're not sure if his lack of being able to settle down or nack for getting overtired is an effect of being born premature or if he would have been like this anyways. I'll tell you what - he's a great kid - cute and tons of fun, but when he's tired... LOOK OUT! (His dad will tell you the same about me.)
We think the swimming is so important and he l-o-v-e-s it, so we're going to keep it up and deal with a cranky kid. I'm thinking that soon (maybe? I don't know, I stopped reading baby development guides, they stressed me out) he'll be cutting back from two naps to one? Don't know, but we hope so!

Oh Where, Oh Where

Will the Lemleys live next year? Oh where or where will they be?
Recruiting is starting to pick up a bit. As most of you know, we're leaving Peru at the end of this school year. So, we're looking at openings and a great place for Maximo to live and start school. We were so naive when we got into the International Teaching "circuit" and really lucked out with Colegio Roosevelt. We've had a great four years here. Now there are a lot more questions to ask and many more things to consider. (ooh, that sounds like a good post - questions to ask potential new employers)
One of the fantastic things about moving is the learning curve of going somewhere new - a new culture, job, life. It's great to soak up a new environment - it's kind of like looking through a child's perspective (wide eyed and open mouthed) - everything being new: the language, the food, the customs, the sights, sounds, and smells.
A great advantage of living in different parts of the world is learning geography. My long term rote memorization is not that good unless I can somehow connect with it. Before living in Peru, I couldn't honestly identify all the countries in South America. I've learned so much about South America, especially Peru - the people, cultures, and the geography because I've taught it in Humanities or because we've traveled there.
So, hopefully next year, we'll be learning about Asia, Europe or the Middle East (we're going to save Africa until after our family is complete - health care issues).
Right now, my sixth grade class is reading one of my favorite books, The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. It's about a girl growing up in Taliban controlled Afghanistan. As a pre-reading activity, we talk about Afghanistan to give them a lot of background information to help them understand the history and geography as it pertains to the book. One of the activities we do is trying to find Afghanistan and locate its neighbors.
Try it here.
It's addictive. The first time I did it, I was horrible. I'm better, but I still don't get it perfect.
The sixth grade record right now is 1 minute, 20 seconds. What's your time?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

He's a Maniac, Maniac

Sorry, I couldn't resist. He was fussy, so I took it off my head more to entertain myself while listening to him whine, but in hopes that it would distract him from his own tiredness. The funny thing was that he loved it and loved checking himself out in the mirror and didn't once try to take it off, like he often times does his hats. We'll see if he grows up to be the star on a Flashdance remake or maybe he'll be the next Roger Federer.

Monday, October 06, 2008

.:Martha Stewart Meets Ansel Adams:.

Inspired by Dutch Girl Cooking, a blog I Stumbled Upon today and the ability of my friend, Celia, to make a simple 5 stall Connecticut vegetable market look beautiful in photos, I decided to document my simple cooking adventure today. Warning: it is very simple and although I was inspired, my photography is nothing like the previous cites listed.
The mangos are just re-entering the supermarkets in Peru right now. They're on my "Favorite Things of Peru" list, for sure. I never really had a mango before moving to Peru. I did eat a bite of one once, it was from a jar and it wasn't very good, but I'm not even going to count that. When I was growing up, I don't even think you could buy mangos from the grocery stores in New England, though I may have not been able to identify one if it was there.
On Tuesday, I walk into the house and see the fruit bowl full to the brim (which works a bit like our magic closet). Nestled closed to the top, amongst the bananas, apricots, pears and limes were three mangos. They were small, but they looked ripe. I grabbed one and stuck it right to my nose - sniff...perfection... It was decadently sweet + soft to the touch = ripe!
Maximo ate two of them this week as his "dessert", but all week, all I could think about was making a mango salsa - sweet and spicy, dripping off a salty tortilla chip. Since we're on vacation this weekend, we have a bit more time, so we decided to have a few friends over and have a simple cookout.
We had burgers and sausage on the grill, my homemade mac and cheese, roasted vegetables and Terie's quinoa salad, and of course, the mango salsa that I'd been dreaming about.BTW - I don't know another famous photographer that has a well known name, except for maybe Anne Geddes, and I didn't want you to think I was dressing Maximo up like Martha Stewart or putting him in a mango salsa bath just for a photo, so I stuck with Ansel Adams... I know it's not a black and white landscape, but you get my reference.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Walk this Way

It's been a horrendous week. It was full of meetings at school and it's the end of the first quarter at school (grades had to be updated and posted). This first quarter has been very hectic and this is the first break since we started on July 28th. I know to non-teachers that doesn't seem like a big deal, but to us, it's a VERY long stretch without so much as a three-day weekend.
This is a five day weekend, which is nice. We plan to stay around Lima, partly by choice, partly because we couldn't get our act together to plan anything worthwhile. I will hopefully be able to catch up on some posts. I have a few composed in my mind, we'll see if they make it on the WWW.
As far as this cute video goes... John and I don't love video cameras, that's why we've never had one. I will hide from one when I see one - even if asked to give advice or warm wishes on someone's wedding day - I detest the sound of my voice on them! On the other hand, I can definitely see the benefits to having one when you've got a little guy in the house, but I still doubt we'll ever own one. The great thing about digital cameras is the ability to take mini-movies. Hence the couple of video blurps you get to enjoy watching Maximo. He is very mobile - he is a great crawler and cruises between every piece of furniture. He has a couple of things that will cruise with him - this Spanish/English Leap Frog Music Table and our light (cheap) Ikea foot rests. So, he pushes them around the living room and enjoys himself, until it gets stuck on something and he can't go any further.