39 Weeks

Size of baby: 19-22 inches, about 7lbs (Watermelon)
Symptoms: Lots of braxton hicks contractions, but I feel like there were more last week than this week. I still have back and rib pain. I’m feeling a bit swollen (although I can still wear my rings just fine) and I also feel like my bely has gotten a lot bigger in the last week.
Fetal Movement: The baby has shifted again. Now she kicks me right under my left ribs instead of the right side of my belly. She moves more slowly and more slowly. It’s crazy how I can now make out feet and knees and elbows when she pushes them against my belly. Her feet are so big, I can’t wait to give them kisses.
Sleep: What’s that?
Aversions: Oh Emm Gee… The chick behind me in class yesterday was eating curry and I wanted to barf. I love curry, but I only like the smell when I’m the one eating it, which is especially true when I’m 9 months pregnant.
Belly Button: Ladies and Gentlemen, we have an outie! Does that mean the bun in the oven is ready? I think so.
What I Look Forward To: Again… Having this baby! I’m getting so impatient. I’m hoping I won’t have a pregnancy update next week but I’m almost certain that I will. Maybe that’s okay because I still have quite a bit to do. Also… MY MOMMY GETS HERE SATURDAY! YEAAAY!
To-Do List: pack the hospital bag, finish the labor playlist, install the car seat, and finish the nursery

P.S. – This is my 100th blog post! Woohoo!

The Ranch

In honor of Texas Independence Day, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk a little about my favorite corner of Texas… my family’s ranch. My Daddy could tell you many more details, but I’ll share what I know.

On the southernmost tip of Texas, just before the Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico, lies Palmito Ranch.

My family has witnessed a lot of Texas history on that ranch. It was first acquired by my great-great-great-great-grandfather, Praxedes Orive, around the time that that part of Texas was switching hands from Spain to Mexico in the early 1800’s. (I’m not sure exactly when and although I think I remember my dad telling me why/how, I don’t remember that either).

My great-great-great-grandfather, Antenogenes Orive, was born on the ranch in 1845, the year Texas became a state in the Union. He used the ranch to grow cotton, and at some point during the Civil War the ranch was one of the most productive cotton producers in the United States. Someone once told me that this was because we were smuggling extra cotton from the ranch across the river in Mexico, but Mamo says she doesn’t think this is true. I know the ranch’s location by the river mouth did allow for convenient transport to the rest of the United States.
In May of 1865, the last battle of the Civil War was fought on my family’s ranch. It is known as the Battle of Palmito Ranch, and you can read more about it here. When I was little I was afraid that I’d see a Civil War ghost or something spooky but I never did.
Below is a picture the house Atenogenes and his wife Cenobia Hinojosa Orive lived in. They had 16 babies here – 14 survived. The girls would sit on the porch in the afternoons and try to stay out of the sun. Atenogenes Orive, Jr., my great-great-grandfather, also lived there. The house is no longer there. (Information courtesty of my distant cousin, Tía Cookie)
My great-grandmother, Carlota Orive, was also raised on Palmito Ranch. By that time, the ranch had been divided between all of the Orive children. When she grew up and got married, her husband, Damaso Feliciano (D.F.) Lerma, began buying pieces of the divided ranch from Carlota’s relatives. Mamo (my grandmother who ended up marrying D.F. and Carlota’s son) says they ended up acquiring about 1500 acres of the ranch, which is what our family has today.
My grandfather, pictured below, was the next person to take care of the ranch.

Mamo & my grandpa came up with this brand for the cattle. Another name for the ranch is “Circle L” ranch. (“L” is for Lerma, circle is for the shape of the ranch.)

Now, my Daddy takes care of the ranch.

And finally, here are some pictures of me growing up at the ranch. According to my mom, I was almost born there. When she went into labor with me, my dad was at work in town which is about 20-30 minutes away. She had to wait for him to come get her and had me shortly after arriving at the hospital.
My great-grandmother, Carlota Orive, and I with the Rio Grande in the background.

Me, Steph, and baby D.J.

We had so much fun at the ranch when we were kids. We would run around everywhere, play hide-and-seek, ride horses, and check out all the other animals. It’s crazy to think that my great-great-great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, great-grandmother, grandfather, and father (along with my aunties, uncles, etc.) all probably did the same things in the same exact place. I’m a little bummed that Eva won’t be raised around the ranch like we all were (until she’s about 10), but I hope she still ends up appreciating it the way I do. It’s my “Tara.” ♥

38 Weeks

Size of baby: 19-22 inches, about 6.5lbs (Watermelon)
Symptoms: Pretty much the same as last week: backache, sore ribs, some pelvic pressure, braxton hicks contractions and a few (what I think are) real ones. 
Fetal Movement: She shifted slightly- now she kicks me in the side of the belly and her bum is pressed up between my ribs. 
Sleep: It’s really impossible for me to get comfortable. My sleep sucks. 
Cravings: Well all the pictures of delicious looking food people are posting from Charro Days have definitely got me salivating. 
Aversions: Yesterday in class a bunch of people were eating microwavable meals and the smell was really grossing me out for some reason. 
Belly Button: Flat and stretched.
Best Moment this Week: My doctor’s appointment. They did an ultrasound to check my fluid levels so I got a little peek at my baby. They used a low frequency because they were just looking at the fluid, so I really didn’t get to see much of anything, but when the ultrasound wand went over where her feet were she kicked it really hard. I could see the outline of her little foot for a second. I kind of wish I could have seen more, but it’s okay. I got to hear her heartbeat too which was around 127. (Don’t listen to the old wives’ tales that say girls’ heartbeats are over 140… it’s bs.)
What I Look Forward To: Having this baby!!!!
To-Do List: Same as last week. I haven’t gotten anything done. I still need to pack the hospital bag, finish the labor playlist, install the car seat, and finish the nursery. Time is running out!

Charro Days

(My grandpa on the left.)
I always get particularly homesick this time of year. At the end of February, my little hometown celebrates  “Charro Days,” a week-long celebration honoring the relationship between Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico, sister border towns. It celebrates our unique Mexican-American/TexMex culture. The festivities start out with a “grito” and go on to include parades, traditional dances, delicious food, and lots of drinking. 

That’s me in 6th grade with my dance partner for the Charro Days parade. 🙂
My dad is one of the people behind Sombrero Festival, a 3-day festival during Charro Days. There are tejano and mariachi concerts, jalapeno eating contests, and lots more. My favorite event is the frijolympics, a charro bean cook-off. (I love beans, haha.) Every last weekend in February of my childhood was spent running around Sombrero Festival with all the other directors’ kids. I miss those days and the Sombrero Festival family. It’s sad to think that the last time I was there was my senior year in high school. 🙁 I’m surprised I don’t have more pictures, but here’s what I could find… 

My mom and I at my first Sombrero Festival
Sombrero Fest kids! 🙂
My little brother D.J. & cousin Robby after they won something or other
My daddy speaking at a party for the SF crew at our ranch
My daddy with other past-presidents of Sombrero Festival
Anyway, I just wanted to share a little about this awesome holiday unique to my little hometown. I can’t wait to dress Eva in a beautiful little dress and take her to her first Sombrero Festival. Here are pictures of some of my Charro Days dresses over the years… 

Toddler me at one of my first Charro Days dances. I wish I could find the picture of me with the little boy I danced with. I don’t remember him but I remember hating him! Hahaha.
I was probably 4 or 5 in this one.
and 6 in this one.
My sister Steph and Me.
Celebrating Charro Days in Hawaii. 🙂
I’ll leave you with my favorite Mariachi song. It’s kind of played out but I love it and this video.