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!