Tuesday, December 25, 2007

More from La Vallée de Joux

Ice, Ice and More Ice!

Angelina loooooooves winter, apparently. We went to The Vallée de Joux, where there's a beautiful frozen lake (Lac de Joux). I went ice skating on the lake, while Angelina had tons of fun scooting around on her bum. I've never seen her so happy!

More pictures to come.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Le Familie Allegrini

Christmas in Switzerland!

After a cancelled plane (thanks to weather in Boston, not that we were going anywhere near Boston, but the plane from SA was coming from there), another delayed plane, a bump up to Business Class and a re-routing (London instead of Paris), we made it in CH a few hours later than planned.

We escaped the 28F in San Antonio for the balmy -2C in Switzerland (hint, they're the same...) it's bloody cold. The difference is our house in TX is cold and drafty and poorly insulated. In CH, between the wood stove, low ceilings and the stone walls, it's so warm we're in short sleeves.

The best part of all is sharing time with Angelina's cousins!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Visiting her Swiss Godparents

Angelina has two sets of godparents, Uncle Chris and Aunt Michele in the US, and Roberto and Marion in Switzerland. We spent our first day in CH at the Ferrari's Godparents Party - here's Fredo with his goddaughter Coline

And Angelina with Marion

Now learning to play the organ with GranPapa Marcel

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

An Engineer in the Making?

Cousins Matthew, Hannah, and Martina gave Angelina their large bucket of blocks when we visited California recently. She LOVES them. It is so fun to watch her play, this clip doesn't do her justice. She can make towers as tall as she can reach - without Papa's help! If she starts with a rectangle, she'll go through the bucket to get all the rectangle pieces to make a tower. If she starts with the cylinder shape, she'll get all cylinders and stack them. Of course, she enjoys knocking it all down as much as building it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Croup

Last Sunday Angelina had a few sniffles and was a little quieter than normal. No big deal. Until the evening at bedtime, then the crying started, and then the coughing started. But not just any cough, she had the classic 'barking seal' cough. Each time she coughed she cried it caused so much pain. Then the fever. Never dangerously high, but when you're the parents and its 2am and your baby is burning up at 101.6F, it might as well be. Initially when it was just crying + low grade fever we wondered about a UTI. But once the coughing started and the fever spiked I knew it wasn't that, so went through all the likely options. She had all the classic symptoms of The Croup - caused by a number of viruses, mostly parainfluenza. Monday I called the pedi who agreed it sounded like croup, told me what to watch for and when to bring her to the ER, if necessary. She had no appetite for solids or her sippy cup, but she was nursing. A lot. I figured that was a good sign. All I can say is, I'm so glad I'm still nursing her. For 2.5 days she wouldn't eat or drink anything at all, but she'd nurse. In addition to reassuring me that she was breathing ok if she was nursing fine, she was at least getting some nourishment and fluids, although mommy was getting sore, not being used to nursing so often anymore (usually it's only 2x/day now).

It got worse before it got better, but by late Wednesday when we had our Thanksgiving meal with friends, she was on the mend. Still not her self - and indeed, a week later, she's still coughing a bit and cranky much more than normal - but definitely improving.

On the plus side for her, instead of having Mommy and Papa home for 4 days of Thanksgiving, she had Mommy for the whole week and Papa for some extra hours too!

And - knock on wood - we managed to avoid a trip to the ER.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Baptism in Oxnard

We also took advantage of Angelina's American Nino and Nina (godparents) being in CA at the same time so we FINALLY had her baptized. Thanks esp. to Fr. Jon who welcomed us to his parish in Oxnard for the baptism - all 20 of us. She slept through most of the Mass (or rather she nursed through most of it). She was still sleeping when we walked up to the altar, until we all touched her head and she woke with a start. Then the cold water didn't help. She cried through most of the baptism part, except when the congregation clapped. She heard the applause, looked up and smiled brightly. She doesn't look too happy here, that's because we woke her up....

She's much happier here -

Afterwards Fr Jon took us on a tour of his rectory, a wonderful old turn of the century house, complete with haunted rooms. Then the 20 of us tried to go out to lunch...the restaurant wasn't too excited to see us. He was going to take Fredo flying as well, but the weather was lousy so we skipped that for this time.

Fr. Jon and the girls.

Little Indian Princess

Angelina had her 3rd trip to California last week. We all attended the wonderful wedding of my cousin Jimmy and his bride Sangita. Of course Angelina had to dress for the occasion. It was hard to get her to stay in one place for a good picture, but you get the idea. She had a blast playing with a bunch of her cousins. And she finally got to meet her cousin Olivia from Ohio (who just sent her two huge boxes of clothes)

The wedding was a beautiful traditional Indian ceremony complete with sanskrit vows. Ok, so really it was non-traditional as it was only about 30-40 minutes long instead of multiple days, but it was gorgeous. We were so happy to see Jimmy (ok, James now, but he'll always be Jimmy to me) get married and especially to such a wonderful person as Sangita. We're very glad to have her in our family.

We also got to see a lot of relatives, including Crazy Oscar!

Friday, November 09, 2007

How fast time flies

Here's Angelina at 20 days old, her first day home.

I don't think she's slept that soundly since!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Not only is Angelina a clone of her Papa, she talks like him! It appears French is easier for her to say. Despite hearing French only from Frédéric and the occasional CD of farm songs, yet hearing English all around her (and some Spanglish), all the words Angelina can now say - which are coherent - are French. I am trying to convince myself she says "here" and "Thank you" in English, but she doesn't really. Instead she only speaks in French.

It's great, I want her to be at least bilingual, hopefully tri-lingual or more. And I was worried the French would lag due to lack of exposure, but I would like to have just a little bit of influence. She doesn't even say 'Mommy,' she says "Maman."

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Starting to walk

Finally, Angelina has decided that if she stands, she can reach more things! So she's loving standing and now trying to walk.

I didn't realize how easy I had it before. Now she's really into everything.

Squirrel Update: we gave the squirrel to a lady who does wildlife rescue. She guessed he was about 6 weeks old and very scared. As much as I was ready to toss him back outside when we found him, I'm glad Fredo insisted we help him.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Have I ever said how much Fredo loves squirrels?

I like them too, they're cute and all. But not in my house!

Chakapu caught her second squirrel, this one a little baby (because Chakapu is now a fat lazy cat she can only get the weak). Of course Chakapu brought it in the house. It's tiny, and was barely moving. Unable to leave it to the elements outside, Frédéric decided to make it a little home. Unfortunately we don't have a lot of rooms with doors now, but we do have one: the laundry room. So for now little squirrel is living in a box in the laundry room with water and nuts.

Chakapu is not happy. I guess she's forgotten how she was a scared stranded baby who made her way into our home permanently. But we're not keeping a pet squirrel!

Angelini Tortellini

Angelina is living up to her nickname and her Allegrini heritage. She LOOOOOOVES pasta. She's a good eater, but when pasta is there, she sees nothing else. I'm not sure this clip really does her justice. Once she starts eating her tortellinis, she doesn't stop. She'll stick one in her mouth and before she's even chewed it she's reaching out for another. I've never seen her eat so fast! Good thing I wasn't too hungry tonight since she ended up eating all my share.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

We gave birth to a Texan: She doesn't want to walk!

Angelina is 15 months now, and she's *just* beginning to pull up and stand. She's fought it for so long. She could do it, just didn't want to. If we tried to stand her, she'd lift up her feet so they didn't touch the ground. We officially have 3 more months before we need to 'worry she's behind.'

I came to the conclusion that she's just a Texan. See, Texans don't believe in walking....even though San Antonio was voted the 'best walking city in Texas.' I think that means walking 20 feet. We live downtown for a reason: we like to walk. It's so great to be able to walk to restaurants, around town, see the sites (unfortunately there aren't a lot of shops, so we have to drive for that). I was describing a location on the Riverwalk recently and was told that was "too far to walk." Um, it's about 5 blocks. Recently I took a work trip and had to insist I didn't need to rent a car, even though my hotel was all of 0.8 miles - in the city - away from the meeting location. We live across from a small church. I haven't seen this for myself yet, but my next door neighbor tells us he's seen our other neighbor, 3 doors down, get in his car on Sunday morning, drive the 100 or so feet to the church parking lot, pull in, and go to church. 100 feet! (if that much!)

So I figured Angelina is just living by her birth right - why walk?!

(Update: we've been encouraging her more lately, as has her babysitter, and though she's not actually walking yet, she's enjoying standing much more and holding our hands as she moves forward. Scooting on her bum is still her prefered mode of transport, but she's getting there)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Need I say more?

I have lots of stories to write about Angelina, but no time, so I'll leave you with more pictures.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Her first doll: Raggedy Ann

I just realized that though she has loads of stuffed animals, Angelina didn't have a doll. Well, my colleague, Trudi, fixed that when she gave Angelina her own Raggedy Ann. Angelina LOVES her. She smiles really big and opens up her arms to hold her.

Eating with a spoon

But you can see how effective it is...still, Angelina insists on feeding herself. Rather independent our little girl.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hooray for paint!

We finally painted our house. More on that here. Now Angelina doesn't have to grow up in what looked like a crack shack at times.

She seems happy about it!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A little brag about Papa

Angelina doesn't fully understand what her Papa does, and neither does Mommy really, but here's a cool article> which helps explain it a bit.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Hours of fun!

We've found a new way to fascinate Angelina (and occupy her while we're trying to cook), thanks to her Swiss Godparents Roberto and Marion and family. They sent these magnets for Angelina's birthday and she is having a blast playing with them. Thanks Familie Ferrari!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

More from the Swiss Family

Everyone's making funny faces!

With Tonton Philippe and cousin Maël

Enjoying one last hug from Megâne until we make it to Switzerland again!

More on being Cheap: Cloth Diapers

Long before Angelina was born, I told Fredo I wanted to use cloth diapers. He was a little hesitant at first, not being familiar with them, but he was easily swayed. The morning I went into labor, he was online for awhile. He stopped and said "Ok, I found out how to fold cloth diapers, now we can have a baby!" Not only are they great for the cost savings, but the environmental savings. Yes, you use more water and energy to wash, but since we have a high efficiency washing machine (8 loads in ours = 1 load in a standard US washer) and we hang dry all our clothes (no dryer), we use very little water or energy. After a year I have yet to see any change in our water/electric/gas consumption.

Compare Disposables:
0-3 Months:
8-10 diapers/day = 60+ diapers/week (I'll round down for ease).
Pack of 60 Size 1 diapers = ~$16
$16/week x 12 weeks = $196

4-6-12 Months:
6-8 diapers/day
50 diapers/week x 32 weeks = 1600 diapers = 40 packs
$16/pack of 40 Size 2 or 3 Diapers
40 packs for 32 weeks diapers @$16/pack = $640

Minimum $836 for the first year. We won't even start with the second year.

Cloth Diapers
One time expense of cloth diapers: ~$300
Can be done for much less, I bought a few different types to see what worked best. With what we have, we're set at least until she's 2 yrs old. And we have diapers for kid #2. And we can use the pre-folds for many many things.

We were using prefolds with Bummis or Prowrap covers (which ones depends on her size, at different times d ifferent wraps worked better). I scoffed at the fancy new All-In-One (AIO) diapers. Ridiculously expensive and did we really need them? For the unintiated, AIOs are just like disposables only they're not - they have an absorbent inner layer and a waterproof outer layer, so no wrap/cover needed.

Then our friend came over and showed us the AIO diapers she made herself. Hmmm, I can sew. Sort of. Well enough for a diaper, right? So I found a website that sells the fabric pre-cut (since I can't cut to save my life) for a fraction of the cost. Then I can sew them myself. I decided to try just a few to see how we liked them. Now we're sold. I still love our prefolds and they're useful, but the AIOs - hand sewn by yours truly - are great!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sometimes she's a little confused about where Mommy's Milk comes from

One of the Many Benefits of Breastfeeding

It's Cheap!

Enfamil w/iron, a pretty standard formula. Nothing especially fancy. One 28.5 oz can powder = 209 fluid oz. Though it varies by age, by 3 months an infant is expected to consume 25-35 ozs per day total. Let's take the midrange of 28 oz/day. That means that 28.5 oz can would last 7.5 days. For one year, that would be at least 47 cans per year. At $27/can (the price on Enfamil's website), that would be $1269 for one year, minimum.

Costs for breastfeeding (for me, not all women need this):
Rented hospital grade pump for first 3 weeks of NICU: $100 (incl. kit)
Purchase Ameda Purely Yours double electric pump: $200 (I could have borrowed one for free from WIC since I worked for the Health Dept, but I felt bad doing that...I did have to borrow for a week when mine broke* which was wonderful!)
Nursing bras $100
Nursing tops $100
Freezer bags for expressed breastmilk $50
breastpads $16 (reusable)
breastpads $20 (disposable - which I stopped using after the first 2 months and went to reusable)

That comes to $586. Let's round up and say $600. All except the freezer bags can be used for years, with multiple kids and the bras/tops can be used even when not nursing. Plenty of people don't have to pump, and many women don't bother with the nursing bras/tops. I won't count the bottles I had to buy, as I did have to get a lot at first to try to get Angelina to take a bottle. But if she was exclusively bottle fed, I'd have had to buy more. So that's a savings of $600, only all of the expenses incurred with breastfeeding can be used for more than one kid. Say we have 2 kids, and I spend another $100 on misc. items (e.g. new parts for the pump), that's another $1100 saved....

Of course, the other costs - no chocolate, no caffeine.....
And Fredo said I needed to add the cost of beer, for everytime I said I was having a Guiness "for my milk production." But I am sure I would have had that Guiness anyway....

In Sum:

Formula: $1269/year
Breastmilk: $600/life
Boobs: Priceless

>Insert really beautiful artistic picture of Angelina lovingly nursing. Except I have no beautiful artistic photos.<

*One day my pump made weird noises. So I called Ameda Customer Service, who immediately said they'd send me a new pump, no questions asked. Alas it was late in the day, and though they'd overnight it, it wouldn't go out til the next day, in the end leaving me three days with no pump. WIC lent me one of theirs and it was excellent. And thanks to Ameda's excellent Customer Service, I got my new pump.

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