Thursday, October 29, 2009

While shopping at the exchange for Chris' captain's bars I came across some Crayola finger 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!



1-800 CONTACTS Customer Service Representative
Phone: 1-800 CONTACTS (1-800-266-8228)
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 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 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 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.

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!

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! :)