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Tuesday, December 22, 2009


The other night I was watching a movie and a conversation between a grown daughter and her father at Christmas struck me. Maybe it was because I have so many thoughts of Sophia and her Dad reuniting after this deployment but I got to thinking how lovely it is to have a positive father figure in my life. Where my dad isn't always the one who shares all the details of every day life with me like my mom and I do, he always knows just what to say and never fails to provide the love and security that I've always needed, even as I've gotten older. As I think about what it's like to be a military wife and mom, I am aware that there will come a time when the excitment of having Dad home will overshadow her willingness to be around me. This is where I am so blessed to be able to take a step back and rest easy in the fact that Chris is a fantastic father who sacrifices so much to give his daughter a great life. He shows her an outstanding example of how to be a hero and what it means to truly sacrifice. I will proudly move aside and watch with pride the love that has grown between Sophia and her dad that even 6,000 miles couldn't weaken.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Now I know that Sophia is just in a diaper but I had to show this picture. Usually, when Chris calls or is able to skype, Sophia sits next to me and we both chat with dad on the computer. Lately, she's been very possessive of her Dada and won't let me anywhere near him when she sees that he's on the computer. I think it's absolutely adorable to see a two year old sitting with a computer (that's almost the size of her) on her lap and talking to her Dad 6,000 miles away.
I also wanted to share with you guys a card that my great friend Kitty sent to me and what she added to the front to make it relevant. Can you see the writing in the grass and the clouds she drew in the sky? Not only did she send me this card but she's been sending me a card a week for the entire deployment. She has given me something to look forward to and inspired me to work hard and 'keep truckin'. So thank you Kitty. You truly are such an amazing friend.

Without my family and friends, I don't know where I'd be. Thank you all!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A *New* Christmas Poem


TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF
PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO
IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER IN IRAQ , LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED
A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO
OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN'T HELP WONDER
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGHT
BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES
AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
'SANTA DON'T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON'T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS: MY GOD,
MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS.'

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN'T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
FROM THE COLD NIGHT'S CHILL.

I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, 'CARRY ON SANTA,
IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.'

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
'MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND!--
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.'

This poem was written by a Marine.

The following is his request. I think it is reasonable.....
PLEASE. Would you do me the kind favor of sending
this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming
soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and
women for our being able to celebrate these festivities.
Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we
owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and
dead, who sacrificed themselves for us. Please, do your
small part to plant this small seed.

Dave


What a great message for Christmas. It brought tears to my eyes and really stopped me in my tracks. When you're wrapping your gifts or fighting the holiday crowds for presents, remember the true meaning of Christmas and those who can't be with the one's that they love this year. God Bless Our Troops!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

So notice anything new and different? Thanks to Carolyn, I have this awesome new Holiday blog backround! How amazing is it that she made this!?! I'm seriously floored. I couldn't even figure out her simple instructions to make it my backround and she designed and 'installed' the WHOLE THING! What a talent! Thanks girl for being so patient with me! You're awesome! I think for old times sake I'll attach my favorite picture of you and Sophia. Miss you!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wow it seems hard to believe that a) it's almost Christmas and b) Sophia is almost two years old! Wow. I've been meaning to blog lately about all the new stuff that Sophia is into before I get too busy and this amazing time in her life passes me by. So I'll dedicate this post to my little lovebug and fill you in on all her adorable Sophia-isms! :)

Sophia isn't a baby anymore...she's a full fledged toddler minus the sassy attitude and horrible tantrums. Don't get me wrong, she has a stubborn streak and wants what she wants when she wants it (I have no idea where she gets that from ;), but overall she responds well to direction and is learning more and more what it means to be a polite little girl. Thanks to some constant repetition from my family at home, I think we have successfully mastered how to say please, thank you, I'm sorry and excuse me. I'm really enjoying seeing her grow and know when to say thank you without me having to prompt her. She'll do it in public too which knocks people's socks off and makes me very proud. We've also been practicing our ABC's and Sophia is taking very well to identifying letters when written down. Thanks to Nani's brillant find, we've now even been practicing in the bathtub with these really cool washable crayons. I love that the whole world is a learning experience for Sophia and the little every day things of life amaze her. I even see Sophia recognizing letters on street signs and store signs and I try to use every outing/experience as a learning one. I can see it paying off and I can't wait to show Chris all that we've learned!

We're still potty training but I wouldn't say we're at the stage where she's anywhere close being able to tell me when she needs to go potty. There are times however where she practically begs me to sit on the potty and she 'goes' pretty much every time. I must say, it'll be a little strange having an audience when I do my 'Yucky on the potty dance'! I'm sure Chris will get a kick out of seeing me make a fool out of myself but Sophia loves it! We did the dance three times today and eah time she screamed 'YAY' and ran to give me a hug. Lately she's been a little more creative on the potty, passing the time by asking me to get my shoes for her to try on and admire. It really is funny to see her walk around the house in them. She does it like there's nothing to it which I think is pretty hilarious for a two year old! So if you come to my house not only will you find a potty in the middle of the living room but my shoes strewn all over the house to satisfy Sophia's fickle little brain. Ah, life with a child! :)

As we come up on Sophia's second birthday it'll be nice to look over all of my old posts and see how much she's grown and in a way relive the past year with her. My goal next year is to keep up with the blogging and share what life is like with our Marine thrown in the mix! :) Next year will be a busy year for us with a big move in May but as for this Christmas I'm excited to sit down and do some serious thinking about our goals as a family and how we can grow together in 2010. I hope that everyone is enjoying the season and spending lots of time with the ones you love!

Saturday, December 5, 2009



I've been having a hard time putting into words how truly blessed I felt this Thanksgiving. I think back over the memories and am brought to tears thinking of how special each and every person is in my life. I think my little brother said it best recapping our Thanksgiving together...We are truly blessed by everyone in our lives and owe thanks to the Big Man upstairs for that. It's funny really...I was dreading Thanksgiving in a way because I thought this year I'd have a tough time appreciating what I have with Chris being so far away. Although it was bittersweet and the dinner table felt a tad empty, my family once again proved to me they are the best, lifting me up and giving me strength through their love and support.

So on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving Sophia and I set off on our journey with my little angel feeling almost 100 percent better and Mama T here just holding on until I was home sweet home. The flight was long and after some laughs with the couple next to us marveling in their luck of seats (hehe) Sophia and I settled in for 5 hours of fun sitting on Mom's lap. Awesome. I literally found myself chanting in my head halfway through the flight...there's no place like home, there's no place like home. It's so true though. There's nothing like waking up to Mom telling you to 'Go back to sleep, we'll take Soph' and resting easy knowing that she is well taken care of. My family really was fantastic. I was able to squeeze in a mani/pedi with Misha and Suzy, a quick visit with Lisa to meet her hubby Joe and baby Emma, a shopping trip with all my girls AND a 'mommy-sized' night out for Suzy's birthday. The trip really was everything I hoped it'd be...well...minus the 100 plus fever I came down with the last day I was home forcing me to cancel all plans, take a trip to the urgent care and let mama spoil me for one last day. I really was feeling miserable and that was a huge, huge bummer! Nonetheless, I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to come home and as I said at the Thanksgiving dinner table (admist tears as I am now the running joke of the family)...it's so nice to know that when my little family is separated and forced apart, I've got all those back home taking care of Sophia and I and praying every day for Chris' safe return home!

So what am I thankful for this year? I'm thankful that my family is healthy and happy and that we were able to spend some much needed time together this Thanksgiving. I'm thankful that Chris is safe and has ALMOST made it through his second deployment. I'm thankful for my beautiful baby girl who never ceases to amaze me and proves to me every day that there is a God and He is GOOD! I'm thankful for the prayers of each one of you reading this and the love you all have shown us throughout this tough year. I wish that there was a way to bottle up all the feelings and emotions of Thanksgiving and carry them on throughout the year with people more often counting their blessings and appreciating what they have. That's my goal for this next year because I certainly have a lot to be thankful for. I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was as wonderful as mine was and you are not too busy preparing for Christmas!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let the countdown begin!!!!!! Just one more day and Sophia and I will be home relaxing with the family, getting ready for Thanksgiving! The great news is that Sophia is almost 100%. I was able to snap this picture of her yesterday morning before breakfast. You know she's feeling better when she can be a big goofball before 7am! :) The past couple of days have been really good for her, getting lots of rest and letting this virus get out of her system. The bad news is as much as I've been coughed on, sneezed on, drooled on and the likes...I've got a scratchy throat and what feels like the beginnings of a cold. All I've got to do is make it through the flight tomorrow and I'll have my mama to take care of me for a little bit. I'm thrilled. I can't wait! I miss everyone so much being out here on the left coast and have been looking forward to Thanksgiving for so long. It'll make the emptiness of not having Chris home a little easier and before Sophia and I know it, we'll have Dad home and ready for 2010!!!! :) Happy Thanksgiving everyone! While you are all enjoying the holiday with family and friends, remember the service men and women who won't have that this year. Say an extra prayer for them at your Thanksgiving table as I know we will. Love to you all!

Friday, November 20, 2009

So it's been a rough couple of days for Sophia. On Wednesday night, Sophia developed this dry, seal-like cough that kept her up pretty much all night. I knew that Sophia had a doctor's appointment scheduled for Friday but seeing her worsen throughout the early morning on Thursday, I called and managed to get her seen a day early. The nurse practitioner checked her ears (which were clear and healing nicely) and after taking a listen to her chest called in the Doctor for a second opinion on her cough/breathing. At this point Sophia was crying constantly and you could tell that her cough was causing her extreme pain. The doctor came in, asked some questions and told me that he believed Sophia had 'croup' and wanted to discuss options as far as medication. Croup is a virus and virus' cannot be treated with antibiotics however he went on to tell me that they were worried about Sophia's airways because of the way that she was breathing. The poor thing was clearly struggling to breathe and you could hear her sitting across the room. To prevent further swelling and to hopefully reduce some of the inflammation on her airway, Sophia was given a steroid injection of dexamethasone and monitored for a reaction to the steroid. The doctor then sent us to have x-rays taken of her chest and throat to make sure that her lungs were clear. The x-rays in and of itself I think were the worst part of the day. My poor Sophia. While waiting to be seen, Sophia fell asleep on my shoulder and I had to wake her to sit on a cold, heavy piece of machinery and take torturous pictures. To make matters worse, there were two young guys taking the x-rays and as you can imagine, they didn't have the soothing voice of a pediatrician to keep Sophia calm. We finally finished, headed back to the doctor's and made a follow-up appointment for the next day. I was told that croup usually is at it's worst the first two or three nights and the doctor predicted that we were on day two. We came home ready for a long night and after a quick outing in the crisp night air to loosen her cough, we picked up a humidifier and settled in for a little bit of sporadic sleep. Last night was a lot better than the night before and Sophia was in MUCH better spirits this morning. The doctor saw her today and was very pleased with her progress. He also took a little time to talk with me and tell me what a great mom I was and that I should be proud of myself. It's funny how that sort of compliment never gets old. As a mom, it's almost as if we feel our child's pain with them and seeing them hurt is like 10 million knives in our heart. At that moment, my exhaustion seemingly disappeared and I revelled in the fact that my daughter was thriving under my care. It was just what I needed and I believe that God gave me that Doctor today for a reason. Sophia is on the mend and sleeping soundly for now. I hope for an easier day for her tomorrow and a speedy recovery for Thanksgiving with the family. Please keep the little angel in your prayers!

Monday, November 16, 2009

How's this for a Saturday night!? My how the times have changed!

Sophia hasn't been her usual self lately. I sensed that she had the beginnings of a cold seeing that her sleep patterns were all off and she had a runny, stuffy nose. It is that time of year with lots of viruses going around so I anticipated a low-key weekend with lots of rest and plenty of fluids. However, after her nap on Saturday Sophia woke up screaming, yanking and tugging at her left ear. My first thought was one of panic because it was Saturday and I knew I couldn't make her an appointment with our family medicine doctor until at LEAST Monday. Even then there was no guaruntee that I'd get an appointment for her first thing Monday morning with how jam packed the military health care system is these days. If this was an ear infection, the sooner I got her on antibiotics the better! I remember from when I was a kid that ear infections could go from bad to worse sometimes as quickly as overnight. There was no way I was going to take the chance of that happening so I made a quick call to my Mom for advice, gave her some motrin to reduce the swelling in her ear, and drove off to the ER expecting a longgggg night. Luckily, the motrin seemed to do the trick and I had a semi-pleasant toddler for the almost 3 hours we waited at the Naval Hospital. I figured that with symptoms of an ear infection on top of having a toddler that was smiling and responsive in the waiting room, we would be one of the last ones to see a doctor but I didn't have a problem with that. My goal was to get a diagnosis on her ear and get her on antibiotics before the pain got any worse. When I was a kid I had the most excruciating ear infections. I would get them every time I had a cold or a sinus infection and at times was put on vicodin for the pain. I got really good at detecting them because the earlier I would notice and get on medicine, the less painful the ear infections were. I guess Sophia gets my lovely, infection prone ears but the good news is, with my experience as a kid (AND my amazing nurse Mom who has the answer to EVERYTHING) I know how to detect these suckers! It was interesting to see Sophia deal with not feeling well. Other than a cold here and there, her most significant cold/ear infection around the time she was one, she's been very healthy. Now that she is almost two, Sophia is much more verbal and more aware of her body parts which helped me identify what was hurting her and find a solution. She's on a five day course of antibiotics and has a follow-up appointment with our family medicine doctor on Friday to make sure that her ears are clear for our flight to Virginia. I feel like I've dodged a bullet. Although Sophia hasn't been 100%, we were able to steer clear of the intense pain ear infections can bring and have an enjoyable lazy Sunday together. She's been a trooper...taking her medicines, eating lots of healthy foods and of course lots of snuggle time with Mama. Not too long until she'll get cuddles from Dad too and I'll have a partner to keep our little one healthy!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Usually when I call home to talk to Mom or Dad by the end of the conversation Sophia is practically yanking the phone from my ear to say hi to everyone too. Sometimes Sophia is quiet and barely says a word but other times she's miss chatty Cathy! Here she is today gabbing away to Papa! Fifteen minutes later, she had moved into her room and was still talking but had put Papa on mute so he couldn't hear a thing. What I got a huge kick out of was the fact that while talking to Papa she proceeded to go get her purse to put on her shoulder, put on my flip flops and put on her Daddy's cover. See what I mean about making me laugh!!! Very cute if you ask me! :)
She's still talking! Notice the cell phone in the picture below that she had muted at this point! I'm sure Papa didn't mind! ;)

I can't get over how much Sophia makes me laugh. I mean, you know those moments during the day when you're doing one thing after another and you could really use a break? It is in these moments that Sophia makes me laugh. Take for instance today...as I was filling up the puppies' food bowls I saw Sophia out of the corner of my eye sneak up to the bowl and scoop up a few pieces of dog food. What her obsession is with that stuff, I'll never understand but clearly it is not something that I like her to get into. When I asked Sophia what she was doing and what she had in her hands, she proceeded to stick her two fists behind her back, look at me with this innocent look and say..."Where'd it go? Where'd it go?" in the most adorable way possible. Kind of the same expression she had in the picture where she's holding my milk glass which is another one of hew new obsessions...drinking out of a 'big girl cup'. I know, I know...I'm her Mama, I've got to stick my foot down and be FIRM so of course I snatched the dog food out of her hands, had a talk with her about leaving the "yum, yums" for the puppies and we continued on with our morning. After doing different odds and ends around the house, like any other typical Saturday morning without Chris around, I find Sophia with a bunch
of her toys in Mama and Dada's bed. I just couldn't resist snapping a few pictures. My favorite is the one where she's pretending to sleep...with one eye cracked open! :) I told Chris today on the phone that one of Sophia's favorite things to do is get up on the bed with me and all the puppies and pretend to go 'night, night'. :)
She'll tap the spot next to her on the bed, fold the covers down for me and we'll snuggle together as she says 'night, night' and closes her eyes. Ah, it is in the moments like this that I am forced to take life a little less seriously and remember to laugh every chance I can get. Isn't it funny how a one and half year old can teach you so much about life and make you feel like you are their whole world. If that's not a reason to smile, I don't know what is. :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thanks to Carolyn, I've finally figured out a way to make a slideshow of all of my pictures and post them onto our blog! I'm so excited because I usually have so many great shots of Sophia to choose from and now you can see them all! :) I hope you like this first show from the Pumpkin Patch! Happy November to everyone!

Just a quick shout out to Uncle Chris!


Usually, I'm not a huge fan of watching sports on TV and baseball really is the only sport that I can stomach for long periods of time. But hey, these days I could use any sort of extra excitement in my life so I've been following the Yankees since their series with the Angels. Last night while watching the Yankees SMOKE the Phillies to win the world series Sophia was cheering 'GO, GO, GO YANKEES' along with me! It was cute really...first she just copied me yelling at one of the Yankees to make it to second but then she started doing it on her own. It made me think of my amazingly talented little brother who is well on his way to BIG THINGS in his life! One day he'll be playing with these guys and he'll have his little cheerleader telling HIM to 'GO, GO, GO Uncle Chris'! I can't wait! We're rooting for ya Uncle Chris!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Friendship soothes the soul!



Is Halloween more fun with kids or is it just me? What is more fun than pumpkin patches, and petting zoo's and free candy!? On Friday, Misha and I took Sophia to her first pumpkin patch in La Jolla. Not only were there loads of pumpkins to choose from but a ton of rides and slides and even a petting zoo which we of course had to check out first. As you can see in the picture, Sophia was not timid or shy at all. She loves all kind of animals and I had no doubt that being able to pet them and interact with them would be a huge hit. Next we were on to blowup house and blowup slides where Sophia bounced off the rest of her energy and allowed Misha and I to get some cute pictures for Dad. I would say that was the only downside to this day out with Sophia. I was more aware than ever that Chris wasn't here and I saw a glimpse of what it was going to be like for Thanksgiving and Christmas. In emails, Chris mentioned to me many, many times how badly he wished he could have seen her in the petting zoo and how cute she looked next to all of the huge pumpkins. Imagine only getting to see pictures of the ones you love the most in life and hoping that they have fun without you? That's true sacrifice and I tell Sophia that all the time.

Halloween was soon upon us and after a lazy day of getting our candy and decorations together, it was time for Sophia to finally get into her gorgeous angel costume! Once we started trick-or-treating, she had absolutely no idea what was going on which was kind of funny thinking about how strange Misha and I must have looked asking for candy! We went to one house, met some of the local kids outside, saw their cute costumes and headed home to pass out candy. The funniest thing was seeing Sophia interact with all the trick-or-treaters. She greeted them at the door definitely showing off her costume and checking out their interesting attire. I loved it! Although it wasn't your typical Halloween night trick-or-treating, I loved the pictures we took of Sophia as a beautiful little angel and being able to experience Halloween with Misha around to keep us company! Overall a great weekend and a visit filled with great conversation and many amazing memories.

Thanks Misha for coming to visit Sophia and I! It's always so amazing to me what Misha and I have been through together and how quickly we jump right back into things when we get a chance to spend some time together. Last night Misha told me that she was going to miss her little shadow when she left us. Isn't that he truth...Sophia found a new best friend! Sophia would follow Misha around all week from the time she woke up til Sophia went down for the night. My favorite memories are the ones where I overheard Misha and Sophia talking about life while Misha was putting on her makeup and watching the two of them read together before bed! Sometimes it boggles my mind how much life has changed with Sophia in it...for the better of course! Not only do I get to experience the joys of seeing Sophia with her Dad and our extended families but also old friends who I have known since what seems like a lifetime ago. That's pretty cool. I found a quote the other day on my daily tear-away calender and I want to close my post with it. It really does sum up everything that I have come to believe about motherhood.

'What I've really discovered is the humanizing affect of my daughter in my life, humbling me. Maybe my nights aren't as they used to be, my life not as glamorous...still I like the woman that motherhood has helped me become.'

Thursday, October 29, 2009



While shopping at the exchange for Chris' captain's bars I came across some Crayola finger paints...you know, the kind that they've been advertising on TV as 'no mess'. Apparently, the finger paints only work on specific paper and don't stain clothes or furniture. It was worth a shot, so I picked some up! Sure enough, Sophia had a blast getting 'messy' and painting her first work of art! Although the 'paint' was sticky it is advertised correctly and made for very easy cleanup. What a great activity to cultivate her artistic abilities and occupy a couple hours before nap time. As she gets a little older and can follow directions better, I like the idea of actual finger paints but until then I'll stick with this 'no mess' kind. I remember painting when I was younger. Mom would put us in old tee-shirts, cover the floor with old towels and let us go to town. I think it's important for kids to be able to get a little messy and let their creativity go wild every once in awhile. Lately, Sophia has been creatively decorating our sofa so it's perfect timing for painting and coloring in a supervised setting.

On a different note, miss Sophia has surprised me once again. I hung a 'Happy Halloween' sign on the fireplace and the other day saw Sophia pointing to and saying 'O' and 'E'. At first, I didn't think anything of it and thought it must be a fluke until yesterday when she pointed out the same letters on the tee-shirt I was wearing. All this reading must be paying off!!!!! So now that my 'Happy Halloween' sign has given us the perfect opportunity for learning new letters, we're trying to work on the letter 'A'. Life with a child is such a funny thing. Being able to experience life through the eyes of a child gives you a whole new take on life and I'm enjoying every second of it!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I just wanted to share with you guys the email that I got from 1-800 contacts. I had written them to say thank you for going above and beyond to help get Chris' contacts to him and this is what I got back...

Dear Sara,

Thank you so much for your kind compliments it truly means the world to us. It is always wonderful to hear that we were able to help you as much as possible. Thank you so much again, and please thank your husband for the work he is doing for us and our country, I personally really appreciate that. Have a wonderful day today and please don't hesitate to let me know if there is anything else I can do for you!


Sincerely,

Tazia

1-800 CONTACTS Customer Service Representative
Phone: 1-800 CONTACTS (1-800-266-8228)
E-mail: info@1800contacts.com
Address: 51 West Center St, Orem, UT 84057

It's really nice to know that there are people out there who SHOW that they support our troops and not just say that they do. After an extremely rough conversation with a Victoria's Secret customer service representative today, what a blessing it was to get a wonderful email like this from a company who cares!

What are the chances!?

Here's a interesting story for you...

In between missions Chris said he had a little bit of down time so he decided to check out the Army camp that was about 5 minutes from where he stays. While walking around, admiring the Army's much more plush setup, he said that a bunch of the guys were looking at him funny. Finally, one of them stopped him and asked if he knew the other 'Captain Tinoco' who lived just around the corner. Sure enough...there was another Captain Tinoco who just happened to be getting some 'random' care packages from 'a lady in Oceanside'. Hmmm! Yup, this Army guy has been getting the care packages meant for my hubby! I guess they had a good laugh about it and this guy told Chris that he was planning on sending me a thank-you note for all the goodies inside. Ha! Chris didn't seem upset at all which is the only reason I can laugh about it now but what are the chances? Another Captain Tinoco stationed in Iraq at the same time and place as my Captain Tinoco. Ah well, at least I've made someone happy even if it is some random Army guy. Hopefully, the mail gets sorted correctly for these next couple packages I send and my Chris gets to enjoy a little taste of home!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Please and Thank you!


Sophia's new favorite thing to say is 'Thank you' although coming from her it sounds more like 'tat youuuu'. She says it to everything...after I change her diaper, after I make her breakfast, after we take a bath, even after I give her a hug. Now we're working on saying 'please' and continuing to use our words when we want to communicate something! I must say...I am proud of my little peanut but have got to give credit to her Dad who claims she's been saying thank you for months and months now, thanks to him. Gotta love a kid with manners! :)

Little miracles! :)

I've been fighting this cold the past couple of days but it really hit me yesterday after a long day chasing after a toddler. Sophia had a very, very short nap which is unusual for her and after getting all my household chores done, I barely had time to put my feet up before I heard her in her room. Normally, this wouldn't bother me but yesterday I could have really used the rest to nip this cold in the bud. So we trudged along making an afternoon of shopping at the Commissary for goodies for Dad and browsing around TJMax to look for some Halloween decorations. After a nice spaghetti dinner (thanks to Nani's AMAZING frozen sauce in the freezer, used on special occasions ONLY IE when I have NO energy to cook) and a hot bath, Sophia was off to bed. Now here's the little miracle...she slept until 8:40 this morning! Not only did I get the extra rest I much needed, I had extra time to enjoy a hot cup of tea, check my emails, and make a beef stew crock-pot dinner for tonight. I woke up feeling much better than yesterday and although I'm not 100 percent, I'm confident that this cold will be gone before I know it! Thank God for little miracles! :) And big ones...one day closer to seeing Chris!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Here comes another week and I'm READY! I've got the house all decorated for Halloween, Misha arrives on Thursday and trick-or-treating with my little 'angel' on Saturday! I can't believe November is a week away. Wow! Pretty soon it'll be time for Sophia and I's visit to Virginia and then preparations for Christmas...my favorite time of year!

Chris is doing well...keeping busy. We're over the hump, meaning we've made it to the halfway point, which means the rest of the deployment should be smooth sailing!It's hard to believe that so many of our service men and women will be away from home over the holidays. Good thing that Christmas comes once every year. I feel like that's my motto these days...there's always next year!

So, a really great thing happened to me last night. After a great barbecue at Molly and Marshall's house, I came home to find an email from Chis. Before he left, we ordered a set of new contacts from 1-800-Contacts and apparently, much to Chris' dismay, ordered the wrong prescription. YIKES! I had to figure out a way to get Chris contacts and FAST! So at 9pm, I called 1-800-Contacts to ask if they ship directly to Iraq thinking I'll have to pay a bundle in shipping charges on top of a new set of contacts. You could tell the lady on the line hadn't heard that question before and after talking with her 'manager' she came back to tell me that...yes, they'll ship directly to Iraq and that they'd put Chris' order on the highest priority, not charging me a penny!!!! Yup, that's right...the contacts, rushed shipping and handling, plus the reassurance that we can ship back the wrong set on our own time, ALL for free! Can you believe that? 1-800-Contacts went above and beyond for us after hearing that Chris was serving in our Military currently in Iraq. I was stunned. It's been so long since I've been that satisfied with a company's customer service. It's very reassuring to know that people out there appreciate his sacrifices and take care of him when I can't. I recommend 1-800-Contacts to everyone and as Chris said last night 'I guess we have a new favorite place to get our contacts!'!!! :)

I hope this post finds everyone well and getting ready for Halloween! I can't wait to show you little Miss Sophia in her adorable costume!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"A friend is one who strengthens you with prayers, blesses you with love and encourages you with hope"

I've been thinking lately about what it means to be a friend. I have had to lean on my friends and family a lot in the past few months and am very moved by the kindness of these people in my life. My Chris always says that 'actions speak louder than words' and it's funny how that has really rang true for me during this deployment. It's a great lesson to teach Sophia, about being a good friend and putting others before yourself. It's one of the greatest things you can do in life. It's amazing how easily you can turn someone's day around and I want to say thank you to everyone that goes out of their way to think of Sophia and I. This deployment, although at times has been rocky, has forced me to slow down and appreciate the people in my life who are there for me when things are not easy. There's an upside to everything right...even a stinkin' deployment! :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Yay for 'Yucky on the Potty'!


We are on day 3 of POTTY TRAINING! Before Chris left for Iraq we bought Sophia a potty which we placed in the common bathroom so she could get familiar with it. Sophia was always very comfortable sitting on it and would even go to it when asked, 'Sophia, can you go sit on the potty?'. For a little while now I've been noticing that she is more aware of her 'yuckies', as we call them. She has been bringing me a diaper every time she pees and adds wipes when she has a big ol' yucky. So...I've started the process of training! I moved her potty into the common area of the house where Sophia does most of her playing. Every morning after she has her sippy cup, every time she wakes up from her nap and before she takes a bath, I stick her on the potty and tell her to go 'yucky in the potty'. Yesterday, before dinner and after we got back from running errands Sophia had her first pee in the potty!!!! Needless to say, I got a little excited! I made sure that she knew what it was I was praising her for and made last night all about Sophia's 'great job on the potty'! I realize that we have a very long way to go but with loads of patience and persistence, I have no doubt that we will conquer this in no time. I told Chris when I talked to him last night and he was very excited! It's hard to believe that we're already at this step with Sophia. It's mind-boggling how fast she is growing but I'm enjoying watching the process very much!

We are officially three months into the deployment and hopefully more than halfway through! Next up...Halloween! :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009



Sophia's first certificate EVER for her swimming lessons! :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009



Wow! What a weekend! It was Sophia and I's first time ever to the University of Michigan to watch Chris play baseball! Watching Chris in his element surrounded by all of the guys he's spent the last 4 years with was the highlight of my trip. It's funny because I still see my little brother as just that...my little brother. He's all grown up now, making excellent decisions and creating a great life for himself. I can't even begin to put into words what he means to me. Words just don't seem to do him justice. He's a great role model to people of all ages and the nicest guy you'll ever meet. He knows what is important in life and doesn't let any one change his morals or beliefs. It's so hard being far away especially when I see/hear of him doing so well and not being able to be a part of it. Watching him play was great this weekend and seeing him with Sophia was the icing on the cake. It's so funny to see them play together! They wrestle and laugh and she's never short on hugs for her Uncle Chris. It feels like a dream come true watching my daughter have so much fun with her Uncle's and Auntie's. I couldn't ask for a better family!

After what seemed to fly by Sophia set out on what would have been a pretty easy flight home. We had a flight out of Detroit at 9:30 to catch a connecting flight in Minnesota to San Diego at 11:40. Our flight out of Detroit was delayed an hour which caused us to miss our flight in Minnesota. We were rebooked to Seattle but because of delays in Minnesota we missed our flight in Seattle to San Diego. We waited for about 3 hours until we FINALLY got on another 3 hour flight back HOME! It really was a comedy of errors. Whatever could have gone wrong went wrong but despite it all Sophia was the perfect angel. She kept a smile on my face all day and helped me to remember what was important. With Chris being in Iraq, it puts things in perspective and although it was a long day...we made it through just fine! Now...if only I could find my luggage! ;)

Great to see everyone this weekend and although it's always hard to leave family, I've got some amazing pictures and even better memories of a great time!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

God Bless Our Troops around the World.

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local-beat/Little-Soldier-Girl-Didnt-Want-to-Let-Go-63629627.html?yhp=1

This is a fantastic story that Amanda sent me about a military family. It's funny how things like this just sort of fall into your lap when you need it the most. Amanda told me she wasn't going to send it, that she didn't know if this was something that I'd want to read. I actually love reading stories like this. It brings me comfort knowing that Sophia and I are not alone and that there is a huge group of Mom's out there going through exactly the same thing. This family in particular is dealing with a year-long deployment. I can do 8 months if she can do a year...right? I just thought i'd share this with you. It breaks my heart to see that little girl not wanting to let her Daddy go. I can see Sophia doing that as she gets older. Where military parents have the knowledge and the strength to realize that deployments are just 'something to get through', the children often times can't quite understand fully why it is their Daddy has to go. It's my job and every other military wife's job out there to shower their kids with love when their Daddy's can't. I hope you enjoy this story and take a little time to say a prayer for our military families.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Getting ready for Halloween....

 


And this is only the beginning! :) Sophia and I will even have a visitor for Halloween...MISHA! My friend Misha from highschool and college is flying in on October 29th and staying through Halloween! Now I can go all crazy with the Halloween festivities and have someone there to share it with! :) I've got lots of things planned and can't WAIT to see her!
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Monday, October 5, 2009

Chris is doing well...keeping busy but surviving none the less. I was talking to him the other night about how thinking about him over there in the intense heat and poor living conditions is rough for me. He surprised me with his response. In comparison to a lot of other people, he says he's got it pretty good. He says he usually has three meals a day, a shower at least once every other day and a means to call home. He says that in comparison to his last deployment where he filled his time with busy work that did nothing to stimulate his brain, this deployment is full of actual work. That makes me feel better because I know that Chris thrives on intellectual stimulation and he drives himself crazy when he doesn't get it. He's the guy that if he isn't watching a movie, he has on the discovery channel or the history channel learning about some weird aspect of 'Time: The world we live in.' I wish that there was more information that I could tell you but of course disclosing any sort of particular details or locations is something that the military stresses to us wives NOT to do. We have still been able to communicate pretty regularly and Sophia is able to see her Dad on the computer in the mornings! That is what matters the most to me. She grabs the phone when dad calls and although she's not always 100 percent willing to sit still while Dad is on the phone, her face sure does light up when she sees him. He's also been able to see/hear that she's learned a couple new words and watch her give hugs and kisses to the puppies (which I think is his ABSOLUTE favorite!). It's tough moving into the holiday season without him here. I was putting out all of my Halloween decorations and was aching with how much I really miss him just being around the house. To be able to spoil him with his favorite holiday cookies and candies and cook him a hot meal at the end of a long day. So much of the holidays is about being with family and especially now with Sophia being more interactive, it gets tough filling the void. But at the end of the day, Sophia and I are the lucky ones because we have each other and our nice warm beds to come to when things have quieted down. We'll just have to work extra hard to bring the festivities of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to him in Iraq. Thanks for all of your prayers and support. We, as a family, appreciate all that you do to let us know we're in you're thoughts.

The Air Show at Miramar! What a Saturday!


On Saturday, my good friend Molly invited Sophia and I to the Air Show at Miramar. It was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. As you may have guessed I'm an extremely patriotic person and a huge supporter of anything having to do with the military. Sometimes watching Chris in a simple formation gives me chills but that is nothing in comparison to what I saw on Saturday. As you can imagine, the place was packed. After finding parking and walking for what seemed like miles (okay, maybe I exaggerate but it was a good walk), we arrived! There were all sorts of planes and helicopters out for show as well as a HUGE section of fun activities for the kids. After a little while of walking around and checking out the different booths, we stopped to watch the Blue Angels fly. I've never seen them fly before. It was amazing to see them fly in formation and to watch them do the stunts that they did. I loved every second of it and Sophia seemed to enjoy it as well. It was especially moving for me because I had a second cousin who died while training his replacement for the Blue Angels. These pilots are the best of the best and knowing that my family was a part of that was a huge honor. As I saw the show I thought of my cousin and his family and was deeply moved by all that our military men and women do for our country. From sacrificing time with their families to go on lengthy deployments or putting themselves through rigorous and dangerous training sessions to promote the military they love so much, we owe them our prayers and gratitude each and every day. Wow. It puts things in perspective for me and really gives meaning to what I try and do here at home every day. God Bless our Troops. A moving experience with great company...what a fantastic Saturday! :)

RIP Kieron O'Connor 10/28/1999 You will not be forgotten.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The best part of my day...

I looked back at Sophia when I was stuck in traffic today after leaving the Commissary and I saw her talking with her two teddy's. There she was having a complete conversation showing the teddy's where their noses, eyes and ears were. I feel like just yesterday I looked at her in the backseat and she was 6 months old. Wow, how time flies!

My little fishy!

We are officially one week into our swim lessons and have one week left to go! Sophia and another toddler Jason are the ONLY kids in the entire class which kind of kills my theory on being able to meet some new Mom's. The instructer, Miss Lisa, is fantastic! She has two kids herself and can really get down on Sophia's level to help her try new things. It's been a great learning experience for Sophia teaching her to listen to instructions. Being able to actually kick off of the wall and move her arms in a 'superman' as Miss Lisa would call it, is a tad bit over her head at this point... however, on the flip side of that, getting Sophia used to being in a pool will only help her be more ready for swim lessons as she gets older. It's something that Chris and I love to do together as a family and it's nice to know that Sophia has taken so well to the water (I give credit to Carolyn who was always letting Sophia and I crash her pool...Godmama's are the BEST!). She is FEARLESS when it comes to any activity just like her Daddy. Hopefully the weather next week is as beautiful as it was this week because Mama wants to get a tan! :)

I was telling Chris last night how amazing life with a child is. Moving into the holiday season, thinking about teaching Sophia what Thanksgiving is and getting to experience Christmas with her has taken my appreciation for motherhood to a whole new level. I am SO excited for the baking, decorating and the building of new family traditions that come with having children. It's like being a kid all over again! Now...onto brainstorming about Halloween costumes! We've got to make it good so that we can get some great pictures for Dad! Any ideas for Miss Sophia!? :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

GOODBYE September...PHEW!!!


Another month down and looking back I'm surprised at how fast things went. It's funny how that works. My days are long and packed chasing after my energizer bunny which is a blessing in disguise. Pretty soon we'll be three months into this deployment and moving into the busy holiday season!

So I need everyone's help with something! While shopping at baby Gap last week for some much needed 'cool weather clothes', Sophia was asked by one of the associates to participate in a 'casting call' for baby Gap online! While of course I know that she has exactly what it takes to smile in front of a camera, I was a bit skeptical as to what this all would entail. Nonetheless, after talking to Chris about the pro's and con's, I've submitted Sophia's photo and need your votes! We can vote once a day and from what I understand, we vote to get us through the first round and then a panel of judges choose the finalists. I'll be sending out some emails so be on the lookout for Sophia's picture! Below is the link for you to vote!

http://family.go.com/gapcastingcall/entries/smtinoco86/536596789/

I hope this finds everybody well and enjoying the beginning of fall. Although the weather has DEFINITELY NOT cooled down here, I'm enjoying being able to still wear tank tops and flip-flops in October! :) It'll be a shock to the system when Sophia and I land in Michigan! I don't even care...I can't WAIT! :)


I think that no matter what age you are, there is something so refreshing about being with your Mama. I can't believe how fast the week went. My mom was such a huge help but my favorite moments were spent talking after everything had settled down for the night. It was hard to see her go but the good news is in a little over a week, Sophia and I will be in Michigan spending an entire weekend with my family! :)

Friday, September 11, 2009


All day today i've been humming the song by Darryl Worley 'Have you Forgotten'.

'Have you forgotten how it felt that day...To see your homeland under fire and her people blown away. Have you forgotten when those towers fell...We had neighbors still inside going through a living hell.'

It really got me thinking back to that day 8 years ago. I can seriously remember every moment. I remember sitting in Mass when our principal interrupted the service to tell us that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I remember our entire school in the basement surrounding a small tv after hearing that a plane had hit the Pentagon, only 20 minutes from where we were standing. I remember seeing friends crying...worried about their brothers,mothers and fathers who they knew could be one of the fallen. I can recall these memories so vividly and my heart breaks for those who lost loved ones on that day. I woke up this morning, said some extra prayers and realized that Sophia and I are sacrificing our time away from Chris for those people who lost their lives. It made my struggles of the day seem trivial and it made my time ahead of me worth while. I look forward to sharing with Sophia why we hold 9/11 close to our hearts and the pride we should feel in being an American. Let us remember those that lost their lives that day and pray for the one's sacrificing their lives for us today. God Bless America!

'I know Jesus, and I talk to God and I remember this from when I was young. Faith, hope and love are some good things he gave us...and the greatest is love.' -Alan Jackson

Wednesday, September 9, 2009



So...I signed Sophia up for swim lessons! :) Only in California can you sign up for swim lessons at the end of September and I love it! I found this GREAT pool with fantastic prices and signed Sophia up for a two week 'Mom and Tot' swim class. Every time Sophia is near water she can't get enough and I would LOVE to encourage that. Take bath time for example. Lately, admist playing with her water toys...she's been rolling onto her belly, sticking her face in the water and practicing her kicks! She can even say it...'kick, kick, kick'! Not only will this be a great experience for Sophia but I also think it'll be a great experience for me. I'll have a chance to meet other mom's with toddlers while having some fun in the sun! :) And all for 15 bucks! Does it get better than that!?

So the countdown has begun! 6 days and counting until my Mama is in sunny San Diego! :) You know...I seriously can't wait for just being able to sit and spend time talking with my mama when things are quieting down for the evening! She always has such great insight and advice on parenting and life in general. Sometimes people take for granted having family around just to sit with and feel their presence. Sometimes I'd give everything to sit and watch a show with my sisters, or share a glass of wine with my Dad or see Sophia make my brother laugh or sit and have a long chat with Amanda and my mom. I for sure am going to work to make the week last as long as possible and savor EVERY moment!

Thanks again for everyone's sweet emails and kind words. Your notes and emails give me a boost in strength during my long days and they are what I go back to when moments are tough! I love you all!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Send a Teddy Bear Note at WiddlyTinks.com

Saturday, September 5, 2009



I've decided that I need a hobby and since one of my favorite things to do is take pictures of my little angel Sophia, why not start a scrapbook! Mind you, I really am NOT the most creative person in the world and don't close my eyes and see scrapbook layouts with pictures and stickers and buttons...HOWEVER, I do see the importance of documenting important moments in Sophia's life. I want Chris and I to look back at the past in a cute, creative way. Today I decided to sift through all of my photo's over the past two years. While looking over the pictures of when Sophia was first born, I found myself fighting tears. Wow! The time has gone by quickly which is ironic because these days I feel like it can't move any slower. There is something interesting about being a military wife and going through a deployment. As you may have noticed, it occupies every part of my life and it consumes everything that I do. It's almost as if my life is on hold waiting for this lonliness to end and our lives as a family to begin again. But what kind of message is that teaching little Sophia...that when things don't go as we want them to that we should put everything on hold until they do? Am I going to look back on this time with Sophia growing into her own little person and think, oh yeah those were the days when I was just waiting for things to go back to normal? Life is not about just barely getting through every day because we're overwhelmed with our problems. It's about knowing when to laugh and realizing that sometimes we're just bound to have a bad day...maybe even two or three of 'em! It's being able to look over old photo's and not regret the days of the past but smile at the fact that despite our trials and tribulations, we made the best of every day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the bold. It is for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It is for those knowing love when they see it, even if they don't see it nearly enough.

Monday, August 31, 2009

My little book worm!


Well, I took my mama's advice and took my little lovebug to Border's for the very first time. To be honest, I'd been putting it off and putting it off because I had the mental picture in my head of perfect moms with their perfect children sitting around a storyteller quietly enjoying a good book. Sophia is ALWAYS the kid that's singing along in church even when the music stops or lalala-ing through the Chaplain's prayer at one of Chris' functions. To my delight, Sophia was the perfect little angel sitting in the kid's zone at Borders. It was like she discovered a whole new world. There were SO many books full of puppies and Elmo and her personal favorite today...horses. It was overall a wonderful learning experience for Sophia. She knows when it's time to play like when we take a trip to the playground or when she gets to hang out with her friends at the gym, but she also knows when it's time to be quiet...to sit and read and settle down for some much needed peace.


It has been EXTREMELY hot here the past week or so and the fact that we don't have air conditioning makes it seem even hotter. For the most part, I don't even notice we don't have air but we're moving into fire season and I forgot how hot the month of September is. However...nothing here will ever compare to how hot it is where my hubby is so time to offer it up and start thinking of new ways (like Border's) to stay cool! :) We'll see how my mama fares with the California weather when she visits in 2 weeks! Yup, that's right...I get my mama all to myself for a whole week and I am SO excited. It gets me thinking back to when my mom stayed with me when Sophia was first born and all that she did to help. I don't know what I would have done without her and can't wait to show her what a day in the life of Sophia and I is like and how much i've learned from her example. Hurry up and get here Mama!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Well, Sophia has officially learned to call the dogs! Most of the time it's just Sophia, the dogs and I hanging around in the house and it's the funniest thing to watch them together. Sancho and Jaina are truly Sophia's friends. They are the first thing she goes to after being out running errands with me. She plays with them, she kisses them, she feeds them and NOW she calls them by name. She has always said hi to them as she passes by but now she's clearly saying 'Sacho and Nana'. 'Nana' (Jaina) is her favorite. She goes all around the house saying...'Nana, Nana, Nana'...then finds her, smiles and says 'There she is!'. I'm constantly amazed at how much she understands but only recently have I noticed how much MORE she is talking. Chris mentioned it after we 'video chatted' the other night how much more expressive Sophia is. I can't imagine what it's going to be like when she strings her first sentence together. A double edged sword really...being able to express herself using her words but also being able to ALWAYS express herself using her words. :) Sophia is also now bringing me a diaper when she wants to be changed and lies down ready for me to change her. We've been practicing sitting on the potty and hopefully after she learns to string sentences together we can move to pull-ups and on to potty training! Phew, it's exhausting just thinking about. All the changes and new developments. But you know what...after a long day with Sophia at the end of the night I always get my snuggle time. We talk about Daddy and how much he misses her. We talk about how much Mommy and Daddy love her and how proud we are of all that she is learning. I put her down for the night and when the lonliness starts to hit I look around the house scattered with toys and am amazed that Chris and I have created this beautiful chaos. It makes missing him easier, if that even makes sense. It makes the hard work and the long days worth it. How can you be sad when you have Miss Sophia to make you smile?

Friday, August 21, 2009


With the added motivation to get in shape for when Chris comes home, about a week and a half ago I joined a gym! It's right across the street from my house and has a fantastic kid's zone all for a great price! Okay, so truthfully, I was a little nervous about how Sophia would handle an area with other kids and new people watching her/playing with her. So far, it has been such a great learning experience for her. There are times I find Sophia to be 'clingy' but for the most part she is extremely independent so much so that if given the opportunity to stay by mom, she'd run the other direction and look for something new to explore. Now that I've been going to the gym regularly it has been interesting seeing how Sophia deals with different situations. Some days she doesn't want me to go. Other days she's quick to jump in and play with one of the kid's zone girls. Today, after working out, I come in to scoop her up and was told by the girls working that Sophia had been very sweet to one little girl who missed her mommy. Aparently one of the girls started crying and Sophia immediately went to give her a kiss and to wipe her tears with her own shirt. Can you believe that? I melted. MY little girl being so sensitive and sweet, looking out for others and remembering that when she cries mommy and daddy wipe her tears. Now I do realize that I'm maybe making this a bigger deal than it is but it made my day! I feel so proud and it gives me a glimpse into what it will be like when she gets older and we start to see how much she is learning. Granted with the good comes the bad. I know as well as anyone that there are going to be moments where she drives me crazy. However, I firmly believe that it is important to keep things in perspective, to remember what is most important and that is putting others before yourself, doing the best you can in any situation and remembering that happiness does not come from the superficial things in this life but from things much more important. Until the days where bigger lessons are learned, I'm going to enjoy my first little success!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Amanda's not a teenager anymore!!!


I have to be honest...I was dreading Amanda's birthday all week. It was bittersweet because we all knew that Chris and Amanda were leaving the next morning. We decided to spend the day shopping, grabbing some lunch down by the beach and then driving into San Deigo to eat on the water! My friend Molly gave us some great ideas for restaurants that had amazing views and we found a great place with yummy seafood! I'm sure Amanda's birthday was a little different for her being that she was away from her family and had a low key night but it was really great to be able to celebrate with her! Anyways, here's to another year Amanda where I hope you live your life to the fullest and trust that God has a very special plan for your life! I love you!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Where would I be without my family?


"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family...whatever you call it, wherever you are...you need one" -Jane Howard
I've been thinking a lot these days about family and what it means to be a part of one. It's been on my mind because of course a big part of my little family is missing. It is amazing how many people have reached out to me and offered their support knowing that Chris is gone. Take for example my sisters...who gave up two weeks of their summer to come hang out with me and Sophia. Or Amanda and Chris who instead of "party-ing" is up California style, kept me company every night with great conversations and lots of laughter. Or Mom and Dad who are always there for advice and support whenever I need someone to talk to. Or Toni and Judy who have always been there for encouragement helping me pick my head up when things get lonely. I guess having time alone has got me thinking how I can be as helpful to others as I feel others are helpful to me. How can I use these 7 months to be a better wife and think of things I can do to make Chris' life easier at home when he returns? More importantly to set an example for Sophia that our family is strong and extremely close and will always be the first ones there to help her. Teaching her that giving of yourself is way more rewarding than being consumed with your own issues or problems. I know she sees the fun that she can have with her family and appreciates spending time with her Aunties and Uncles, her Nani and Papa, and her Nana and Great-Nana Judy. Seeing through the eyes of a child is truly fascinating and teaches me so many things about life. I love the way she brings joy to everyone around her. I learn from her that life is too short to fight and bicker about things that in the grand scheme of things don't matter. Life's too short not to smile and look on the brightside because there are plenty of people out there who are struggling more than you. And life is certainly too short to take for granted the time we spend with family and the memories we make along the way.

On our way to LA!







Well of course we HAD to take a trip up the coast to LA while the kiddo's were here for a couple reasons really. I've never done the tourist-y thing in LA and while I had a couple of extra hands I thought it would be nice to see Hollywood Blvd. and do some shopping! :) We started off driving north to Laguna and then headed into Newport where Amanda and Chris had found this amazing little outdoor shopping mall. The shopping mall had some great shops but also had a carousel which Sophia had never been on before. Oh my goodness, I don't think I've ever seen Sophia so excited. Thanks to Amanda we got some great pictures of Sophia riding the horses so that we could send them to Chris and show Dada what a big, brave girl Sophia is! After some fun in the sun shopping and playing with Sophia we were off to Huntington Beach. We continued on to Santa Monica and finally to downtown LA where we parked and walked the strip! The best thing about LA was the quiet dinner we had at one of the local restauraunts. The quiet was a nice break from the dirty and incredibly crowded Sunset Blvd. We ate at what looked like a sports bar from the outside but to our suprise everything inside was kid friendly and very cool. Everything was done by touch screen from ordering to paying AND there were also games to play while we were waiting for our food. Needless to say Sophia enjoyed the atmosphere and we all had a nice dinner before we headed back home! Overall, a fantastic day sightseeing in beautiful California with great company!



Tuesday, August 18, 2009






Phew! Where to begin? Looking back on this past week with Amanda and Chris I can't count the number of amazing moments that we shared. I am amazed at how fast the time went but so incredibly blessed at how our relationships were strengthened and how many great memories we made together! It really is amazing that Chris could even find the time off to come out and visit Sophia and I with everything that he has going on with baseball. As I saw them off today I just kept thinking how this trip was exactly what we all needed. Sophia could not have been happier.
The two of them flew in at about noon last Tuesday and left early the following tuesday morning. We packed so much into a week from shopping to trying to find the best fish tacos to sightseeing in LA to enjoying the beautiful weather in San Diego and touring Coronado (by car). We even got a few workouts in at the gym together! The last time that Chris and Amanda were around Sophia was when she was about 8 months. At that point she was barely crawling and really couldn't comprehend who the people were coming in and out of her life. This trip was totally different for her. I could see how happy she was when she was interacting with both Amanda and Chris. It's funny...she has this way about her...lighting up every room. Everyone she meets is drawn to her because it's impossible not to be...she's such a happy little kid. Yes, she has her stubborn moments but overall she was fantastic exploring every new place that we went to and making memories with her Uncle Chris and Auntie Amanda. This is exactly what I wanted when I chose Chris to be Sophia's godfather. I can see how he loves her and there are no words to describe how that makes me feel. Wow, how life is different when you have a child! The things in life that seemed to be so monumental before I had Sophia in no way compare to the every day things Sophia and I do together! I am so blessed! I want to take a quick second to really thank Amanda and Chris for taking the time to come out to visit us. Thank you for ALL you did to help me but most of all thank you for the conversations we had and the memories we made. There were so many times that I just sat back and watched the two of you interact with Sophia and it's really sweet how she adores you both. Don't ever doubt the impact you have on her life even living so far away and always remember that I'm here for you, like you guys were here for me! I am proud to have you both in my life and couldn't have asked for better examples for Sophia! COME BACK SOON! :)