Friday, October 30, 2009

Been a While...

Whew!  Two weeks and no blog from me.  WHAT?!?!  (oh, ignore the one you got yesterday-for those of you who receive email updates-I was setting up mobile blog from my new iPhone and sent a test blog; I've deleted it now so you won't see it on here) 

So, Eric was home for a glorious 19 days!  It's always so nice to have him home, and always such a challenge at the same time.  It's challenging because we look forward to so much "quality" time as a family, get our hopes up to spend so much time together, talk on the phone for weeks beforehand talking about all we want to do (children's museum, zoo, family visits, picnics at the park, dinner out with friends/neighbors, etc.).  But when he gets here, I have a big ol' "honey do" list for my poor husband.  Ok, I start out with a few things, then we come up with ideas together, then Eric comes up with more things on his own.  The point is, Eric ends up doing so much around the house that we end up running out of time before we've had much family time.  Now, don't take this as complaining (I know when you read someone's typing, you hardly ever read it in the same "tone" as the person writing it).  I'm so appreciative that Eric does so much to prepare Maddie and I for being without him for another 8 weeks.  He's doing 8 weeks of normal household projects in just 3 weeks.  That's a lot of work in a short period!  It just so happens that this time he was home we also squeezed in a 4 day vacation and had some major changes to our living room that required A LOT more than we were prepared to take on. 
The other thing that happens when Eric's home is that we get thrown out of our normal routine/schedule.  I want to be at home with Eric and I want Maddie to spend time with him while he's here so I don't take Maddie to her normal playdates or to the library and I don't go to the gym like I should.  We don't eat meals as regularly, or as healthy, as we do when he's not here.  Maddie doesn't get her naps in and stays up WAAAYYY past her bedtime (we had her up well past 9 when she's normally in bed aroun 7).  Thanks to those late bedtimes, she's now sleeping in much later than she used to.  This entire week I haven't been able to get out of the house when I've planned.  The good news is that the clocks are getting changed back this weekend so at least she won't be waking up an hour earlier!  We'll be back to our normal time of 7ish :) that I got the rough stuff out of the way, let me talk about the WONDERFUL part of Eric coming home!  Maddie LOVES her daddy!  She never stopped asking for him last time he was gone.  She never forgot him.  She remembers him every day.  She remembers that Daddy blows bubbles in the water, she remembers Daddy mows the grass (that's why every time she hears a lawn mower she says "daddy").  She thinks Daddy is a super hero :)  She looks up to him like you would not believe...Daddy can do no wrong!  She wants Daddy to get her out of bed in the mornings (probably because Daddy lets her get out of bed and get straight to playing...mommy makes her get her diaper changed first thing).
When Daddy's home Maddie gets carried through a store or, better yet, gets to walk through the store.  She just has to say "hold you" (hoju) and look up at Daddy with her sweet little eyes and Daddy says ok...especially if she says "please" (pees).  Maddie gets to be Daddy's big helper "heppa" with EVERYTHING!  She loves being a big girl and helping Daddy with his projects.  It's so sweet to see how proud she looks when she's walking around with the screwdriver.  When Daddy asks her to hand it to him, she proudly hands it over.  Here's a picture of her being Daddy's helper:

And here she is combing Daddy's hair while he's working...hey, there's no excuse not to look good, right?  :)

Besides our vacation to Cozumel, we did have a few nice family days.  One day we spent at a park.  It was so much fun!  They have different size play areas so we were able to let Maddie explore more on her own in the toddler area.  She really enjoyed it.  And I think Daddy enjoyed watching how much she's grown!  (Oh, and he enjoyed being a kid again...)

Daddy left again this past Tuesday.  There were plenty of tears, again, as Daddy headed toward security at the airport.  Every time he leaves it gets harder and harder.  It's definitely harder on Eric than it is on me.  But when I see how hard it is on him, that's when I get emotional.  I can't even begin to put into words how we feel everytime he leaves.  He's missing out on so much, Maddie's missing out on so much, but we're just trying to keep our focus on the bigger picture.  Down the road when we're all together as a family again, this will all be a distant memory and we'll all be thankful for the sacrifices we've made in the past.
For now Maddie is back to asking for Daddy all the time.  When she hears an airplane she says "pepane....daddy....caca....hodju"  In English that's "Daddy went bye byes on the airplane and he took his backpack with him, and she wants Daddy to hold her".  For some reason she's so fascinated by his backpack and always mentions it when she mentions daddy going bye byes on the airplane. now we're beginning to get back into our routine again and trying to get used to being just the two of us again. 

Friday, October 16, 2009

Just a Few Pictures

Here are some of our favorite pictures from our vacation.  To see these and more photos, please visit my flickr page at

Sunset from our balcony.  This was the first night we were there.

Sunset with Mommy

Pretty little baby girl

Do you see the hermit crab walking on her arm?  This was one of the biggest ones we saw :)

Maddie's favorite shell

Excited to bring Mommy a "treasure" she found on the beach

Baby footprints :)

A day on the boat

Getting ready for her first scuba lesson...not really :)

Having some Daddy time on the boat

Just woke up from a nap with Mommy

Do you see how big my baby is getting?!?! 

Our Vacation

What a vacation!  It was really nice to get out of the house :)  I didn't have any meals to prepare, I didn't have any cleaning up to do, I didn't have two pesky animals to worry about.  It was as relaxing as a vacation with a 16 month old can be!  Maddie did as well as can be expected for the trip.  She enjoyed the plane ride with Daddy.  He showed her the clouds, she said "weee" as we hit turbulence, she looked perplexed at the idea that we were in the air...she said "uh oh" when she realized we were above the trees (when we were about to land).  I think the whole idea confused her a little.  But at least she was more aware of what we were doing this time.  This was her 4th trip by plane and the first time she began to grasp the concept of traveling through the sky.  It's really cool to share these experiences with her and watch her trying to understand what things are and what's going on.

Another cool experience we got to share with her is the ocean!  She's been to the beach before, but just like the airplane, I don't think she could really grasp it.  Our hotel room was an ocean front room and as soon as we got to our room and she looked out the sliding glass door, she yelled "pooool!"  She couldn't wait to go swimming in that giant pool :)  We kept telling her "that's not a pool, that's the ocean" and by Wednesday evening she finally starting calling it "ocean" instead of "pool".  Maddie enjoyed playing in the sand, as she has in Galveston, but there were some really cool things at this beach that Galveston doesn't have.  This beach had a TON of shells.  Most of them were pretty small and a lot were broken up, but I found one bigger shell that she just fell in love with.  She was holding it to her chest, patting it and saying "shh shh".  She really loved that shell!  We took pictures of her with her shell because we thought we couldn't bring it home.  But we managed to get it home afterall :)  One of Maddie's favorite things we found on the beach were hermit crabs.  These things were SO SMALL!  The shells weren't even as big as my pinky fingernail, that's how small they were.  Maddie thought they were cute and even let them crawl on her hand and arm.  It was really sweet.

One more fun experience for us to share with Maddie was going for a ride on a boat!  We went out on a glass bottom boat (which sounds a lot more exciting than it really is) on Tuesday morning.  We left around 11 and got back sometime around 2.  Maddie enjoyed seeing other boats while we were out on the ocean, but I'm not sure if she really understood the concept of the boat.  At least we have pictures of her with us on the boat to show her when she's older.  She got to watch the fishies through the glass window and one of the crew members on the boat was feeding the fish crackers so we could see them come to the surface of the water to eat.  She liked that! 

Other than those things, we just enjoyed some time at the pool.  Maddie loves the water so she would've been content to stay in the pool all day except they didn't have a kiddie pool and she wanted to be on her own...that's why it was actually better to be playing on the beach!  Maddie seemed to enjoy the food while we were there.  She wasn't too picky, but she didn't eat any vegetables the whole time we were there, barely ate any fruit, and loaded up on desserts.  But somehow she still managed to get the Mexico poops :(  Yesterday was the worst when she had a blowout on the way to the airport.  YUCK!  Hopefully it's run its course by now and she'll be back to normal soon.  At least she isn't acting any differently! 

Well, I guess that's all for now.  I'll post pictures once I put them on the computer.  Hopefully we got some really nice ones!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Foto Saturday :)

I just have two photos to share this week.  I downloaded some cool actions in photoshop and tried them out on my two favorite pictures.

Photo #1 straight out of the camera

Photo #1 with the "sunshine" action and "bring out the eyes" action

Photo #2 straight out of the camera

Photo #2 edit one...I can't remember what actions I used.  I know I did "bring out the eyes" and some levels/curves adjustments

Photo #2 with 1st edit and "sunshine" action

Photo #2 with "vintage" action

I've been playing around with photo editing for a LONG time and still have to play around with it.  I don't have the "professional" eye for how the photos should look in the end, I'm just doing them so they look decent to me :)

let me know what you think!  Or if you have any words of wisdom on photo editing, PLEASE share!!  I'm open to constructive criticism...just don't be too harsh with me :)

Uh oh!

With all the recent commotion involving Maddie's passport I forgot that yesterday was Friday.  I'll post this week's pictures tonight after Maddie goes to bed :)

We did receive Maddie's passport yesterday.  When I spoke with Frank from the passport office he told me we would receive it on Monday so I made plans to be home ALL DAY Monday so I wouldn't miss the FedEx guy.  I assumed they would require a signature for a passport.  Isn't that sort of a sensitive document?  Not that too many people could get away with using a child's passport, but still...hellloooo national security?  Maybe I'm too protective of this important piece of identification.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.  So, anyway...I went out my front door yesterday after noon-ish to bring my trash can back to the house after they collected the trash for the day.  When I opened the door a FedEx envelope fell in.  Yeah, the FedEx guy had just propped it up against my front door.  I was out of the house for about an hour yesterday morning but after that I was home.  I don't recall seeing anything at the front door when I came home so that means he probably just put it there without ringing the doorbell or anything (yes, this is what our FedEx guy does).  Aren't they supposed to ring the doorbell at least to let you know they're putting something there?  Our delivery guy must not be a people person.  He could atleast ring the bell then run.  Just let me know you put something there...

Oh well, at least we have the passport!  And the best part of the whole thing is that Eric gets to come home 2 days early :)  They already changed his ticket to come home on Thursday because we thought he was going to have to be home so we could get Maddie's passport taken care of that Friday with him present.  So it's all worked out nicely...

I took Maddie to the Little Gym again this morning.  She's been doing SO GREAT.  Last week I was wondering if she did so well because of the different instructor or if she was just getting used to the place.  Today I got my answer :)  She's just getting used to it and getting much more comfortable and confident.  The original instructor was back today and Maddie was giving her high fives and everything!  Maddie's has three major accomplishments for today.  First, she climbed the baby rock wall.  It's set at an angle to make it easier for babies to climb :)  In fact, she doesn't really have the whole concept of holding onto the hand holds or using them to step on...she just kind of climbed up and pretended they weren't there for the most part.  Her second accomplishment for today is doing a backwards roll.  She was fine with flipping over backwards and even gave a big "ta da" at the end.  Her third, and BIGGEST accomplishment is what she did on the beam today.  Let me backtrack a little first.  The first time I put Maddie up on the beam she was terrified of it and wouldn't move her feet.  Little by little I helped her become more confident on it and now she practically runs down the length of the beam (while I'm holding her hands).  She loves the attention she gets when she "jumps" off the end and gives a big "TA DA".  Today she was taking a few steps on it without me holding her hands :)  Then the biggest deal...she walked on her hands (wheelbarrow), into a forward roll, stood up on the beam, turned around, walked backwards to the end then jumped off!  We finished with a great big "TAAA DAAAA-ee" and everyone applauded her :)  I was so proud!  Next week Eric will be here to go with us and I know he's going to be amazed at what she can do.  I'm also going to see if he'll take some pictures of her so I can share with everyone.  I just can't take pictures when I'm there by myself because then there's no one to spot her...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Passport Drama Comes to an End...

Isn't it crazy how you can talk to different people at the same office and get two completely different levels of customer service?  I've talked to three different people with the passport office and all three times I've gotten different answers.  The one supervisor I talked to was the most helpful but he was still telling me I needed to go get a court order authorizing...blah blah blah.  At least he was offering me suggestions as to how we could get Maddie's passport issued.  When I talked to the other two people they were just like "that's just the policy, there's nothing we can do" and didn't offer any additional help.  Those are the kind of people that frustrate me.  But they're probably supposed to say that to weed out the dishonest people or something.  So, anyway...the guy I talked to yesterday told me I was going to have to send a letter to the Charleston office requesting them to cancel Maddie's passport application and that I would have to reapply in person.  There was no guarantee I would have Maddie's birth certificate back in time which meant I would have to drive to Austin to get a certified copy of her birth certificate.  I was really depressed and basically was ready to give up and take a vacation somewhere else.  That's when my dear hubby took over :)  He took it up on himself to call the passport office to get the application cancelled (when I was told it had to be done in writing).  Then I got a call from a very nice man at the Charleston office telling me all Eric has to do is write a statement authorizing them to issue a passport to his minor child.  No notary involved, no getting a court order for anything, no driving to Austion to get another birth certificate, no spending an additional $157 to get the passport.  Now, if only this guy had answered the phone the first time I called we could've saved ourselves from DAYS of frustration and stress!  So this is where we are right now.  Eric's drafting the letter.  He's going to print it out, sign it, scan it and email it to me.  I'm then going to print it out and fax it to the Charleston office Attn Frank (my new angel!) and they will overnight her passport to us as soon as it's processed.  Ahhhhh.....sweet relief :)

Now I'm feeling refreshed and recharged and ready to get my house back in order for Eric to come home.  Up until today I was feeling pretty depressed about losing out on my chance to get away from the house for a while so it was making me lose motivation to do any now I have to play some serious catch up.  I was planning on going to the zoo today with Maddie but I cancelled that trip due to stress and anxiety and not wanting to leave the house.  I guess it's better that I cancelled that so now I can catch up on my cleaning!