Sunday, December 12, 2010

I am infatuated with Christmas. I love every single thing about it and somehow, this year, I love it even more.

This year Sophia understands the magic of Christmas and to see it unfold in her eyes makes it all the more amazing. And today Huntsville had it's first snowfall of the season leaving a nice little dusting on our back deck and picnic table. It seems like forever since I actually saw the snow fall and I don't believe that Sophia ever has. I hope it comes again...the small flurries, I mean. I'm definitely hoping for our first Christmas in the south to be a white one!

Can you believe Alessandra is a month old!? I can't! Maybe it's because I've been living in a haze, still in the

'waking-up-every 4 hours stage' of little babe-hood and just crawling through each day hoping to catch a five minute nap here and there. You know, actually, I can't really complain. I remember being so anxious those final weeks of my pregnancy anticipating a huge fiasco when I tried to settle into life with two kids. And where yes, there have been moments where I have to fight to not pull my hair out, overall, the transition has been relatively smooth. I heard a quote somewhere that went something like, one child takes up 100 percent of your time so if you think about it, two children can't take up anymore...and I would agree with that. The key is getting into a routine and sticking

to it, all the while multitasking, making sure everyone's needs are taken care of. And I'm there. Nights are becoming more predictable and naps during the day are on a more regular schedule. Alessandra is truly a wonderfully easy baby. She's so content just soaking up the world around her and cries only when she 'needs' something. I've figured out a way to have a little time solely for my Sophia and on the flipside of that have time for just me, usually at the end of the night with a nice glass of red wine. It's been a little different around here with Chris coming and going, training, working and preparing. We were so, so

blessed to have him home for ten days after we brought miss Alessandra home but since then, he's been off training and he'll be out the door again sooner than we'd all like. But enough talking about him leaving...for now, we have him home on predeployment leave and Christmas is just around the corner. I hope this post finds each and every one of you enjoying your family and friends and soaking up all the wonderful things about the season.

Remember that this Christmas; when you're eating Christmas dinners, smiling and laughing, in another house there's an empty chair where a hero should be sitting.

....And I'll leave it at that! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oh December...the most wonderful month of the year!

Sigh...I'm here. I'm where I've wanted to be for what was almost the entire year of2010. As I write to you, I'm surrounded by

not one but two breathtakingly beautiful little girls who I'm so lucky to call mine. It's been a tumultuous month but it doesn't matter how I got to this place...what matters is that I'm here and I couldn't be happier.

It's hard to believe that I've got an almost one month old baby on my hands when my due date was only just a couple of weeks ago. To make a long story short, my so-thankfully-on-top-of-things doctor was worried about my blood pressure which began creeping up as I hit 36 weeks. After almost a week of monitering it closely and a few dangerous spikes, my doc took no chances and induced me just shy of 38 weeks. Thanks to some beyond wonderful friends and their incredible support while Chris was away, they carried me through to when Chris arrived home, just in time to begin the induction. November 11th, 2010 at 11:12am, our little Alessandra Marie made her grand entrance in true American style on Veteran's Day.

It was a nice little present for her Marine dad (who was here and was incredible!!!! YAY!!!) and we are so grateful that everything went smoothly. Alessandra is wonderful. She reminds me so much of her sister. She fits into our family perfectly as I could

have only hoped and our now BIG SISTER Sophia has grown into this mature little lady almost instantaniously. It's all so lovely to see and with the added background of the holiday makes for a lovely end to a great year. We've got some more big changes ahead of us for 2011 but right now, I'm thankful for two very healthy baby girls and a dedicated husband who works so hard, no matter what the cost. Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 1, 2010

November 1st. Wow. I woke up this morning with an anxiety I don't remember feeling when I was pregnant with Sophia. It was probably because I was too wrapped up in actually being pregnant and getting Chris ready for his deployment that I was less aware of all the details of Sophia making her entrance into the world. Going into labor and really becoming a mama were beyond

anything I could imagine at that point. Now I can't stop thinking about what life is going to be like with the four of us. I've had this nagging feeling, the one that you try to ignore but you can't, that's telling me to 'get ready, be prepared, it could happen sooner this time' when all I really want to do is put my feet up and snuggle with my first born until the time comes where we can just add our second little love to the mix. I told Chris yesterday that it's been bittersweet for me

...wanting so badly to be soaking up every second with Sophia but knowing that I in a way have to take a step back, not hindering her growth and ever-growing independence but guiding her differently these days. It's been hard to wrap my head around how I will possibly be able to divide my attention between my two girls but seasoned mama's tell me not to worry, it'll happen and it'll be perfect. So I wait. I wait for all the changes that are to come, nesting and organizing, checking to-do lists and preparing a home fit for two little princesses. Fall is the season of change right? So amidst my puttering, I've changed the mantle and the little nook

where I like to read and have a cup of tea while I watch Sophia ride her bike. I've been on a mission to add to Sophia's non existant winter wardrobe desperately trying to get her in anything other than

a spaghetti strap dress (Thank goodness for Old Navy and their wondrous coupons!). I've changed the lengths that Sophia and I walk around the neighborhood slowing down to show her the

piles of fallen leaves and listen to her talk in great length about where baby sister will fit in to our Mama & Sophia walks. It's a nice thought, how baby sister will fit into our lives...a lot like getting lost in the clouds if you ask me. I appreciate a lot these days especially when I stop and daydream about having two girls. I am so happy to be at the end of a very long journey and at the beginning of something even more wonderful than I could ever fathom. So here's to the end of October, the end of me really being able to paint my swollen toes and the beginning of what I've been looking forward to for SUCH a long time! Happy November!

Friday, October 22, 2010

'We all possess the thunder of pure fury and the calm breeze of tranquility. If it wasn't for tomorrow, how much would we get done today? Whatever your purpose... embrace it completely. Get lost in the clouds every now and then so you never lose sight of God's wonder.' ~Paul Vitale

Get lost in the clouds...I like the thought of that and could always use a little reminder to appreciate all of God's many blessings!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Do you know how much I've missed fall? I haven't had that 'leaves changing, weather cooling, time to pull out the chunkiest, comfiest sweaters you can find' feeling in three years. Chris came home last night and said 'This is grilling weather babe! Where you put on a beanie and grab some beers and grill.' I guess spending the last three years in the world's finest city wasn't the WORST thing that could happen but in all the many times since we've been here that I've craved the beach and the ocean breeze, I feel an equally strong pull towards fall and winter, ready to show my southern California girl an east coast winter.

Today is one of those beautiful beginning of fall days. I can see the leaves from our big beautiful trees blowing in the cool breeze and I can only imagine the beauty when they start changing colors. I've turned the air conditioning off, opened my downstairs windows and started planning my first 'bake' of the fall season, my 'eating-for-two' self craving all things pumpkin! All this change has me thinking of the oh-so many bright sides to this military life despite what my exhausted and husband-craving brain is telling me. Would I appreciate the cooler weather, the changing leaves, the bitter cold of winter as much without spending the last few years away from it all? I don't think so. But with this fall comes the dreadful workup to a deployment and we're just now beginning it all. You can pretty much count on a seven month deployment turning into at least 10 months with all the build-up and weeks away from home preparing. I think I'm a pretty independent gal. I for the most part can do pretty much everything in the house by myself, have accepted that fact that taking out the trash will always be MY job around here, spend countless days parenting alone

and really don't need the constant company of my husband to make for a relaxing evening (think manicure, chic-flick and a bowl of cereal for dinner type nights). I can get by only the thoughts of our love and the faith that he'd be here in a heartbeat if he could. The hubby always says that 'to need' something is a very strong statement and quite honestly, I don't 'need' much. I'm a firm believer that I am capable of doing just about anything I set my mind to. But some days are long...some days bring nothing but anxiety of the upcoming months and what the new year will bring.

Maybe it's this stubborn cold talking, me in a way wishing for the cushy 'I live 15 minutes from my mom who can take the kids while my pregnant self sleeps off this sickness' type of for today I'm okay going to a little place in my head that is peaceful and harmonious. The place where deployments and all the endless training that comes with it does not exist. Where I don't think about where Chris will be when I bring this new little life into the world and instead focus on the fact that he will be IN THE GOOD OL' USA this time around (psh what's 3 hours of labor alone waiting for my hubby to come from training) and I just might have my wonderful family here to welcome the newest baby Tinoco home. Because with every negative, I can think of a positive that blows my pity party out of the water. I've made wonderful friends here, friends who'll take care of my girls and I when things get a little less than ideal. Isn't that all you really need in life? And let me tell you...Marine Wives make the best friends, hands down.

Yes...right now, I'm okay in my little bubble thinking about fall and all that I've missed these last three years. I'll count my blessings as I drink my oh-so heart-warming English Breakfast tea, taking me to a nostalgic place and reminding me of the beautifully independent women in my family who have set such a wonderful example for me and would be here in a heartbeat to share in my tiny tea party.

And I just have to share! Apparently Huntsville is the place to be if you love consignment sales. Being a mom of a now two and a half year old, I truly believe in the power of baby consigning. Yes, yes, Chris and I did the whole, 'no, our baby deserves all brand new things, top of the line everything, gear, clothes, name it, it'll be brand new and expensive!' we've said. But seeing how our lovely Sophia has so quickly grown out of the toys and clothes and gear that we've spent thousands on...well, take me to a consignment shop and I'm in heaven! Thanks to my many mama friends in the area I've been kept up to date on all the hottest places to go around town and I have picked up truly astounding amounts of winter outfits for a steal! I even found a complete ballet outfit for Sophia,

a brand new boppy bouncer for an additional 50% off it's already ridiculously low price, a pair of prego pants for Mama and two itzy bitzy pairs of the most adorable shoes for the new little love when she starts walking. You do need a tad bit of patience to dig around for the good stuff but I'm telling you, at the rate newborns grow out of their clothes, you can find some almost brand new outfits for a fraction of the price they sell for in stores. I'm thrilled. I've heard rumors of another consignment warehouse sale coming up in October and I am ready. I may move slowly but I've got determination...and an excuse in case I have to fight anyone for a great find! ;)

So, exactly seven weeks until my due date. For right now I'm enjoying the simple things in life. Things like enjoying a crisp fall breeze on a beautiful morning while sipping my decaf tea, a great new friend's company and the fact that for now, Chris comes home to us every night. Happy Fall!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Oh, My Little Love

She oozes happiness. She sees the world in a way that I envy. This little two and a half year old has made this twenty-four year old mama a better person from all of her magic. I think all moms will agree when I say that I wake up every morning and feel so very lucky to be her mama. Today was a wonderful day for us. Sophia had her very first gymnastics class at the Little Gym and

she had a wonderful time. It was just what you'd expect out of an under three gymnastics class...a whole lot of bouncing around in a toddler safe gymnastics gym and come on, what kid wouldn't like that! Initially I thought it would be more of an introductory dance class where she could wear her new leotard and ballet skirt that I found at an adorable consignment store Snickerpoodles for only four bucks but in doing some more research on the little gym, casual was the name of the game. So, we did a quick change after mama snapped some pictures of our future ballet sta


and were off to our class! I was so pleasantly surprised at how independent she was and how well she followed direction. Nothing was too structured, it was just an easy going forty minutes which was a perfect way to spend a Friday morning. I managed to snap some pictures of the little love exploring

the gym and as sappy and sentimental as I sound, my heart felt like it was going to spill with pride as I watched her go. She's not a baby anymore. It seems like I blinked and she grew into such a little lady. To think of all that she's been through in her little life, two deployments and a cross country move...well, I'm just proud.

Ah, enough of my mama rambles. If I'm this sappy after her first dance class, I can only imagine what the first day of school will bring! Oh, but I don't care one bit. Fault me for loving every second of being a mama! I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I do! Happy, happy weekend! I've got a yummy pancake breakfast with great friends in the morning to benefit the Wounded Warrior project so needless to say, I'm a happy prego mama! Check out the project for yourself, it's a wonderful cause for our service members who deserve our support.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A hodgepodge...truly where my brain is these days!

I've got ideas...ideas for everything. Ideas for decorating baby sister's room. Ideas for baked goods to send to friends. Ideas for great Christmas presents and ideas as to how to make this all happen amidst being 6 and a half months pregnant with my feet SCREAMING at me to SIT DOWN! Today, Wednesday, I decided to do absolutely nothing outside the house. No browsing for a much needed pair of comfy sweats that accommodate my belly, no checking out craft stores for more ideas for the nursery, and no commissary trip. I try and force myself to do this at least once a week so that I can clean up our humble abode at my own leisure without having been out all morning lugging Sophia in and out of stores, making myself just want to put on Sleeping Beauty and crash when we come home. So far so good today, if I do say so myself. I've cleaned just about all of the hardwood floors on the 1st floor and have organized the living room and playroom for the fifth time since this long weekend. I've spray painted a few old frames to revamp them for my newest love's room and even managed to take a long walk with Sophia around the neighborhood talking about why the sun isn't out and shouting at the clouds to 'Go AWAY'! Not too shabby for a slow-moving pregnant chica!

So, I took a little time this past Labor Day to venture out by myself while Sophia was napping and Chris was watching some extremely annoying marathon of 'How It's Made'. I knew that Michael's was having a big Labor Day sale and I hit it up. I came home with four ginormous white, bead-board frames for the nursery along with a multitude of creative do-it-myself ideas to bring the colors I want that the stores aren't necessarily selling into the room. I'm super excited. I've decided on two colors...turquoise and pink. I know, I know, I caved...I truly am not a pink girl, other than my hot pink Discover credit card which I adore, but Sophia's already claimed purple and light, buttery yellow, and at the risk of stealing precious baby blue from our future son (and the hubby's dream of everything belonging to a boy! HA!), I had to go with pink. But it's not light pink, or rose or anything muted, it's more of a hot, salmon-ey pink which I love with turquoise. I've decided to accent these bright colors with white, hence the picture frames and am on a quest to find myself the perfect pink and turquoise paint colors and get to work giving wooden wall decor a color makeover. What I always struggle with in decorating is knowing that I've got to resist the urge to decorate the particular room and more try to find things that will work in a multitude of different settings, different paint colors, and amounts of wall space (because of our sometimes nomadic lifestyle). My goal is to stay away from anything cookie cutter so we shall see what my creative, hodgepodge of a mind comes up with. But like I said, I've got some wonderful ideas for this little love's nursery...ideas that I will find the energy to make realities in the not-so distant future.

And to make my Sophia happy and give ourselves a project to do together to surprise Dad coming home from work...we made cupcakes. Dora cupcakes nonetheless. Well, maybe Dora cupcakes is an exaggeration. The only thing Dora on the cupcakes were the wrapper but they were good and Chris' face lit up like a little boy's when he walked into the kitchen. Mission accomplished!

On a complete side note and to prove that my brain really is all over the place this week...while browsing on thinking about birth announcements/Christmas Cards, I found these totally awesome 'Mom Business Cards'. How many times have you run into someone and needed a pen and paper to write down your contact information. I've actually, at times like this, debated using an old gum wrapper. Not attractive. My friend Molly planted the seed in my head awhile back and I just came across these really cute designs. I love the idea and I might just go ahead and order myself a set! And back to my initial reason for my shutterfly browsing session...I think it just might be feasible this year to combine our Christmas card into baby sister's birth announcement! Another fun to-do list task? Yes, I think so!

And I'll finish for the day as the hubby comes home for lunch! Happy Wednesday!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fall? Is that you?

So I've pulled out Sophia's leggings and am getting a taste of what fall is going to be like in Huntsville! I absolutely love it. The weather has cooled and an amazingly refreshing
breeze seems to have taken over Huntsville. I can hardly contain myself. I've waited for this. I made a deal with myself that once the weather cooled and the outrageous Alabama summer had passed, Sophia and I will spend more time outside, more time taking longer walks, bike riding, park trips...ahhh for the love of fall! And that is just what we've done. Every morning and early afternoon we take a walk around the neighborhood just the two of us, Sophia riding her bike and mama waddling along. And every evening after dinner, we take a long, long walk with Dad and the puppies which turns into more of a walk where I lag behind as Chris and the puppies try to keep up with an adventurous and fiercely independent Sophia! I'm okay with that. I can take my time. My view from the back is by far the best anyway and I can clear my head and daydream of me in three or four months time pushing a stroller while happily lagging behind. I look forward to these walks as a family. They are oh-so worth my swollen feet and aching back when we return to settle in for the evening and will be a wonderful thing for me to remember when Chris is so far away.

And the fair came to Huntsville this Labor Day and my gosh was it worth all the overpriced tickets, food and games to see Miss Sophia with her Dad, so happy. I especially love seeing Chris so content, sharing with Sophia something that he remembers doing as a kid. It was a good day. A very good day. And so were the rest of our days this weekend. Happy Labor Day and happy short week ahead! :)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Everyone's got to-do lists right? Whether they're on your phone, a piece of scrap-paper or maybe a super cool day organizer that you carry everywhere with you to keep you organized/sane. I've got about twelve. Mine vary from what I have to do today, what I have to do two weeks from now, a month from now, etc. I have a calendar for on the run and at home. But recently, I started a new to-do list and I'm oh-so excited about it! I've titled it 'Things to do before baby sister arrives!' and doesn't that just sound exciting? In all honesty, I think it's just the third trimester 'nesting syndrome' talking here. I usually dread looking at my to-do lists and I keep my old one's around that have things crossed out or check marked off to boost my self-esteem. But this to-do list, I am so happy about as it's a getting ready list for our newest love's arrival!

First on my list is to finish updating all of Sophia's baby books, photo albums and picture frames. I have two lovely baby books given to me by my mom and mom-in-law when Sophia was baptised and are they up to date? Absolutely not. Why? I truly have no good excuse other than, for me being creative is something I have to work at. I not only have to be in the 'mood' but I've also got to have the time, uninterrupted time at that, to truly feel at peace in my mind with the work that I've created. I know, it really shouldn't be this complicated but there is a creativity conundrum in my head that I wish I could sort out. I have so many creative ideas and read so often on how to be more creative with DIY projects but that part of my brain is just not at all organized. So hence, I set a goal for myself. To update Sophia's baby books AND finish a scrap book that I only bought the materials for and nothing else!

On the flipside, I have been completely and utterly organized as far as keeping and storing all of Sophia's old clothes, toys, and gadgets (money saved for the Tinoco's!!!! CHA-CHING!!!). The day I found out this new little love was a girl, I went through all of my tubs of Sophia's old clothes and organized all clothes, bibs, hats and socks into size and season. The only problem we run into as far as adorning baby sister is our lack of heavy winter clothes but I look at that as a victory considering I have an almost complete wardrobe for baby sister without ever having to buy her a thing! Nonetheless, next on my to-do list, number 2, is putting away and hanging up all of baby sister's clothes in her nursery. As a side 'to-do' note, I'll do a nice big deep clean of all the toys and gadgets varying from teethers and bottles to swings and strollers!

Which brings me to what I'm sure will be my husband's favorite...browsing for a double stroller (which really means browsing for a double stroller, researching additional prices of double strollers, brands, etc. online, browsing again for a double stroller this time narrowing down our choices of brand and color and then and only then making the big purchase!) Can't you tell I'm married to a math and science major? His attention to detail is impeccable and slightly annoying to little ol' me, the fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants and just-buy-things self! We started our search for a double stroller pretty quickly after finding out we were pregnant while we were shopping for a pair of shoes for Sophia. A family was out at the mall with a super cool, super HUGE red double stroller. We pretty much followed them around the store trying to catch glimpses of/STARE at their stroller until Chris whispers, 'Hey, why don't we ask them how they like it.'. So cute, if you know Chris and me being me had no problems starting up what turned into a thirty minute conversation. Alas, we had a favorite stroller for about 10 minutes until we realized that we really are obsessive, me being not even 6 weeks pregnant to even start discussing this. Now that we're in the home stretch, I've asked Chris for a 'baby sister shopping date', just the three of us, to start the process.

And last on my list as it stands today (I bet you didn't think I'd only have four things on my far!), could be the most intense accomplishment in the world of organization.......CHRISTMAS SHOPPING. Yup, my goal is to not only finish all of my Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving but to do it with the festive Christmas spirit, with decaf nonfat peppermint mochas in the gloriously red Starbucks cups, candy canes and baked goodies and lots and lots of Christmas tunes we all love so much during the holidays. You know what that means...Christmas is coming early in the Tinoco house. I will do my best to refrain from driving my husband totally nuts but even I saw a glimmer of Christmas in his eyes while watching Dora's Christmas Adventure! My scrooge I call him but I'll get him this year and it'll be the best Christmas yet! :) Number four on my list of lists has many additional lists where I digress to a blank page in my book to note all my loves I'm shopping for this Christmas and gift ideas for each one of them. So far, I'm on a roll!

I have great hope for myself and this list of lists. I've realized that the more you aim for perfection the closer you come. However, I more than anyone know that life isn't about being perfect but enjoying every perfectly imperfect moment to the fullest. In the words of my favorite lady blogger, Kelle Hampton (, you've got to suck the marrow out of life every chance that you've got and that's what I'm off to do these last few months before baby sister arrives. I've got three months to spend with just my Sophia, five months to spend with my Marine before he leaves for a far away land, and a whole lot to do in the meantime! Bring it on, I can take it!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sophia's favorite things!

Sophia and I both napped yesterday and it was glorious. A storm system moved through Huntsville for most of the afternoon so we made our way upstairs to snuggle in Mom and Dad's big bed with one window cracked open so that we could listen to the rain. As I watched Sophia begin to fall asleep, her eyelids getting heavier and heavier by the blink, I thought to could capture her and take a snapshot in my mind of just how she is, all two and a half years of her. How I could put in a tiny, little imaginary capsule all of her likes and dislikes so that I could look back a month, 6 months or a year from now and see just how much she has grown. So again...this may be more of a post for me, the mama, trying so desperately to remember every single second of watching Sophia grow up. I'll title it, Sophia's Favorite Things!

Favorite way to wear her hair: DOWN where she marvels at just how pretty her long, curly hair is. Any attempt to put it up, she adamantly refuses so most of the time she looks like she just woke up. I love it. I so often have people ask me if her curls are 'natural' which always makes me laugh. We have yet to cut it and I don't want to. Call me smitten but I just adore her long, curly hair so perfectly out of place.

Favorite thing to wear: DRESSES! Apart from the loads of adorable shorts and capri's I've stocked the little love's closet with, I wouldn't mind staying in this phase forever. Lately it has been the first thing she's asked for in the morning, to put on a 'pretty dress' and it's difficult to get her out of them. It might be just about the time for a cute little nightgown and dress-up clothes!

Favorite snack: Apples! The more I have them cut, the more she eats them so needless to say, I try to slice a bunch of apples! It has been my goal ever since she's been eating actual food to try and expose her to as many different fruits and vegetables as I can. I still remember Chris coming home from work one day in California to a 9 month old Sophia chomping on a yellow bell pepper. She definitely has her likes and dislikes but is a very good little eater which I hope will be a great example for her baby sister one day.

Favorite dinner: This one I'll have to say is a tie between my Chicken Potpie and broiled Salmon. I always jump-up-and-down in my head to see how Sophia manages to pick out only the vegetables from her potpie to eat, even stealing some of her favorite green beans from a very generous Dad. ;) And the same goes for salmon...she can't ever get enough.

Favorite activity: Nature walks, rain walks, sunshine walks...any way she can get outside! We pick up leaves, check out cool mailboxes, jump over the cracks in the concrete and steer clear of holes in the road! Sometimes we take the puppies with us but most of the time it's just Sophia and I, strolling around the block talking about the weather!

Favorite cartoon character: By goodness, Dora the Explorer wins hands down. The cartoon is rather annoying but Sophia has learned so much from little repetitive Dora, that I can stand an episode or two. We've also invented our own Dora games as we try and find her everywhere we go. Lately, the dairy section of the grocery store where Dora seems to be on every children's yogurt and string cheese keeps her occupied for a good three minutes while I scoop up my yogurts and cheeses.

Favorite saying: Well, we've been hearing a lot of interesting things lately from our little chatterbox but two really stick out in my head. Sophia loves talking about her baby sister and every so often will rub my stomach and say 'Baby in mom's tummy!!' as if I needed a reminder! It is cute to hear her expand on the oh-so-lovely topic saying things like 'Baby sister is Phia's best friend' or 'Love you baby sister' or 'Baby sister coming in three months!'. Sophia has now discovered that some shopping carts have TWO seats and heaven forbid I put my purse or any groceries in baby sister's seat. I adore each and every conversation I have with Sophia about baby sister and am itching to get my girls together and see the magic unfold.
Sophia's other big phrase of the moment is a sassy...'Aw, maaaaannnnn'...responding to something that she does not want to hear. And she truly draws the whole little phrase out with a snap of her fingers and everything. It makes me laugh every time! It's such a challenging yet wonderful age, two and a half and it is so fun to see her express herself in different ways.

Favorite special treat: Ice cream! Come on, who doesn't love ice cream! I got the biggest kick out of sending Mary and Papa out with Sophia to Baskin Robins while in Florida and hearing about the mess she made with a chocolate ice cream cone. Now why the two chaperones gave a toddler not only an ice cream cone but a chocolate one, to eat all by herself in her car seat on the ride home is beyond me. However, I saw nothing of the mess and Sophia had a wonderful trip to the ice cream shop with Papa and Auntie Mar!

Alas, my pregnant brain as come to a standstill and as I read this post back over, I'm smiling thinking about the many facets of Sophia's personality. I look forward to updating this list for my 'Mama Records' in the not so distant future and see how she's growing more and more into a little lady. There are times these days when my belly seems just too big where I think to myself, how am I going to do this all by myself when baby sister arrives? How will I be a mama of two with a husband overseas and give them everything they so desperately deserve? I find comfort in believing in the power of great friends and family and the fact that God would never give me anything He didn't think I could handle. It'll all be so worth the effort in due time when I have two different lists to make, of both my girls' favorite things!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

When I count all my blessings, I get a smile on my face.

And there goes another month, the last month of summer and oh, what a fantastic month it has been. Our whirlwind month of August, the big shibang to the long and hot summer here in Alabama, has been greater than I could have ever planned. As I sit here tired as all hell with my belly growing by the second, I can't help but think of all the lovely things the Fall has in store for us and how I could possibly thank the Big Man Upstairs enough for his oh-so-many blessings.

From the beaches of Florida to the bustle of Boston to the charm of coastal Maine, we have taken our last vacation as a family of three and soaked up every second. We started our two week journey up the east coast in Jacksonville Beach, Florida where my parents have a house by the water. It has been my parent's dream to own a home by the water and by gosh, everything about the beach cottage is practically perfect. The highlight of the trip for me was seeing Sophia so happy, totally in her element with Papa, Gama, and Auntie's to follow her every move. Sophia is a true beach baby spending the first two years of her life by the beaches of San Diego but this beach trip was even better. To have the beach AND her own personal pool in the backyard...well, let's just say she was one happy little fish! We did absolutely nothing of importance, going nowhere fast and planned absolutely nothing to fill our days but isn't that the best way to spend a vacation? No plans and no problems! I always enjoy any amount of time spent with my family and it was an extra treat to be in such a beautiful and relaxing setting. I'm itching to go back and I just can't wait until next summer when my two girls and I can take our Marine, back from his third tour, on a much needed vacation as a family of four! :)

Next stop on our vacation train...Medway, Massachusetts's where we were welcomed by loads of extended family itching to get their hands on little miss Sophia! It was a joy! The whole week was just as I'd hoped! We spent time laughing, catching up, sharing stories and marveling at the fact that yes, it had REALLY been THAT long since we'd been together last!

Something I always do with my Auntie Tisa when up in the northeast is take a trip to Wells Beach, Maine. My grandparents used to own a condo .less than a mile from the icy cold waters of Wells Beach and some of my fondest memories from when I was little are spending time with my Grammy and Grandpi on the beach. So I took my Sophia there. I took her to the same beaches where I played as a little girl. We spent our days soaking up the sun on the beach and our evenings enjoying all the seafood Maine had to offer to then walk around the beautiful coastal cities.

From one end of the coast to the other, our vacation was lovely.

And then it was home. Home to the humidity that I had practically forgotten could even exist. I had a day and a half to putz around the house and get myself reacquainted with Sophia and I's routine before we welcomed the Auntie's for their SECOND visit of the summer! A perfect way to end the summer...with my sisters, my Marine and my Sophia.

And tonight it all came to an end. Everything has settled down and all we have left of summer is some wonderful pictures and priceless memories. My little lovebug has been an absolute joy through it all. The way that she loves is so remarkable and never ceases to inspire me. She holds a place in her heart for all of her family, near and far, and remembers them all by name and favorite memory. As I tucked her in to bed tonight, she told me with this light in her eyes that 'Mar, Annie, Grama and Papa were at home and that we'd see them again in three months (holding up three fingers)when baby sister comes (rubbing my tummy)'. In the thoughts of a child, it is comforting to remember that this is the end of the summer only. We will all be together again soon to make new memories. I know I say this often and sometimes I think it's more of a written reminder for me when the deployment days ahead get tough, but this military life has made me appreciate the treasure of family so much more than I ever could have on my own. I'll take a million heart wrenching goodbye's for just as many wonderful hello's.

I will sleep tonight with a smile on my face, for all of my many blessings.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My beautiful little lovebug getting her first pedicure! I sat with great friends marveling at the fact that we're actually here, at the point where Sophia can get a pedicure and I can think back to the day that made me a Mama where I only dreamed of this. Do you know that I've waited for this day? I've dreamt of all the little things I will do with my girl and this was one of them! Oh, the joy.

One might say that this isn't the greatest picture of my little sweetheart but my oh my does this sum up one side of Sophia's personality...little Miss Attitude! I've been pleasantly surprised at how we have so seamlessly avoided any bouts with the 'terrible two's' until only recently. And it isn't so much anything terrible, it is more of what I'll call a refinement of her stubbornness, seeing more and more what she can get away with. She's very smart, so smart that she keeps Mama on her toes and Dad chuckling. Of course Chris and I do our best to keep up and not let her get away with things but to hear her so politely tell someone 'please' and 'thank-you', I suppose the 'terrible-two's' could be worse.

And then there's my goofball who loves to laugh and be silly. Who finds the splendor in all the little things of life and makes sure to always tell Mama and Dad how much she loves us. So with the stubbornness comes the joy and to appreciate one you must have the other. I can't complain. It is so lovely being Sophia's mama...oh-so-lovely.

Friday, July 9, 2010

An update for my Mama! :)

Only ten days into July and already so much to share! :) Chris' 'man room' is just about 95% complete after his new 'futon' addition and it's a pretty cool futon, if I do say so myself. It extends into a full size bed and the chaise lifts up for a whole tub of storage (you know how I LOVE my hidden storage spaces!). Sophia's had her fun in the super-duper on sale sprinkler I found her at Marshall's and I've enjoyed seeing things come together for my loves! Only something like 140 days left being pregnant! I say only because take into consideration life with a toddler, being married to the Marine Corps and an OCD Mama who wants everything to be perfect...well, I see the time just flying by! Ah, the joys of motherhood! Happy weekend everyone!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bear with me and my motherly reflections.

I've never really allowed myself to regret anything in life. To me, regret is a huge waste of time...a waste of precious energy that I just don't have extra to give away. These past few months in my times of reflection, I find myself looking back though, over the things in my life that have impacted me greatly and the things that have taught me some of life's greatest lessons, more often than not the hard way. I play a tug-of-war in my head, sometimes believing one hundred and ten percent that everything that happened in my past, has led me to this point, to this wonderful life with my amazing husband and beautiful daughter(s). And then there are some times, where I'm slightly more pensive where I think about my daughters as I take a look back over my life before them. It is in these times that I wish on a million shooting stars that they travel on a path that is a little less treacherous than mine still arriving at the same comforting place. Isn't that a wish that all mother's have? Don't we all wish we could stand beside our children on their paths through life sifting through the experiences that may cause too much pain and guiding them to the ones that will bring joy and happiness? But I can't can I? And no matter how hard I try, my little girls will grow up to want to sow their own paths probably even more independently than I. They need that. They need to feel some heartache to appreciate real love. They need to make a few mistakes that will test their resilience and to learn how to scrape off their pretty little knees and try again. So I think and I think and I think...I think of what it was that grounded me during my most rebellious times, what made me stop and think and I come to one Now that is something that I can give my little girls. That is something that I can show them every single moment of every single day through things so little to those much more grand. Through holiday traditions at home with our family, through home-cooked meals, bedtime stories, notes in their lunchboxes, through warm chocolate chip cookies, and through an ear always there to listen. Through stressing the importance of family and showing them what can be accomplished through faith in the Big Man Upstairs. Through showing them that no matter what they do, I will always love them and that I understand they need to spread their wings without their mama's constant guidance. I can show them the many facets of love whether that be the selfless love in my relationship with their father or through the oftentimes difficult, tough love when I see them falling into a place that might scar their naive hearts. I can show them that love holds no bounds and that when their Dad is far far away, we will always be connected even when we're missing such a huge part of our whole. I can't stop their heartaches but I can pray to the good Lord that they find meaning in this life through Him and hope with all my might that I see them one day as happy and as content as I feel now. It's my job, my one true job in this life to show them the way and I'll be damned if I let anything stand in front of me.

So here's to having daughters and the great love that comes with seeing them grow into little ladies. Thanks Mama and Pops for showing me how to teach my girls the love of a family and never giving up on me. I may have given you a run for your money but I turned out alright I think? ;)