Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I Heart my Inlaws!

A lot of people don't get to say that proudly, so I know I've been really blessed. They've welcomed me to their family since day 1 -- in fact, my mother-in-law professes that she "picked me" for Mike the first day they met me which was the day we left for deployment in Bosnia. Today, they treat me as if I were the real daughter they never had, and I can't be any more thankful for that.

I don't know what we would do without them here. We don't exactly live next door to each other, but the long drives make it worthwhile. Most times, we drive up to Cleveland when Mike and I need a break and want to take time to ourselves. My inlaws never complain about being the default babysitter. On the contrary, I think they wish we would need them to babysit more. So last weekend, they came (yet again) to the rescue and babysat while I shot a wedding and Mike went to training. We could've gotten a sitter, but they insisted to come spend time with Ethan which was even better.

While they were here, they took us to the Putnam County Fair which actually turned out a lot funner than I thought. Of course, Ethan was only 6 months old when we took him last year, which far limited us from trully enjoying all aspects of a fair. This year, we made sure we made most of the entrance fee! :)

Ethan finally enjoyed a round of carousel...

He even got to play with the ducks...

He enjoyed freshly squeezed lemonade...

And got to play in the jumper after the rides...

Look Papi, Look Gramma... I can jump!!

Here's Ethan watching the tractor pull with Papi...

Mike and Mom on a ridiculously spinning ride I would never get on...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dear Amigos,

Thank you for being patient with us yesterday. My son's become more expressive the past few months of eating out, but never misbehaved as badly as yesterday's lunch. It was a good thing you sat us next to the exit, away from the huge crowds. Still, there were a couple of people that sat near enough from us who shot us a number of dirty looks so I know we didn't go unnoticed.

I keep thinking maybe things wouldn't have been so crazy had we opted for the high chair instead of the booster seat, but then again, maybe it was something else. Maybe it was your music. Ethan loves to dance... and the mariachi music definitely got him shaking his groove thang on the chair and even tried to dance on the table a couple of times. He would've protested if we would've put him in the high chair anyway, I suppose it's a little difficult to dance when you're strapped in a wooden contraption. Maybe it was all those Corona blow up balloons and pinatas hanging from your ceiling. They were so festive they were almost distracting than decorative. He kept swinging his arms yelling "play ball" which I'm sure he was imagining just taking a stick and wacking one of your decorations. Maybe it was the salsa. Did you put something in it that would send anyone berserk? We let him eat a couple of your freshly made nachos and dip them in the salsa and he just wasn't the same after that.

Between moving the drinks, knives, and hot plates around to keep them out of reach, I was almost tempted to let him take a sip from the Tabasco bottle to see if it would hush the shrills for a minute. But I felt bad even entertaining the thought, so I kept moving that too. It wasn't until Ethan decided that it would be more fun to have all our food on other surface areas -mostly the floor- instead of the plates that I really started to shrink. A couple of you guys must've noticed that I was about to self-combust so you came over to try to console the shrieking the wild beast even though you hardly spoke any English. I just kept thinking, if you were really trying to be nice, you could've just handed me a beer.

Of course, it didn't help that my husband graciously excused himself to take a nap in the car the entire time I was trying to survive lunch. While I sympathized that he wasn't feeling too well, I had hoped that he could've at least warned me that I was about to deal with toddler hellfire by myself... I could've saved us the trouble by taking our burritos to go.

I realize that the tip I left was twice as much as my meal cost (the meal that I didn't even get to eat), but I left that in goodwill that you will let us dine at your restaurant again should we ever brave taking my son out to eat ever again.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Meet Gracie

For those who follow Kim's blog, you've already met Gracie, Sophie's BFF. I've been wanting to photograph Gracie for a while now, but every time we set up a date, the poor thing always ended up getting sick -- usually a non-phenomenon for us daycare moms.. but Steph (Gracie's mom) and I were starting to think it was just a conspiracy from the portrait gods. So last weekend, I finally had an opportunity to shoot her. I shot Gracie's uncle's wedding in an awesome vineyard in Crab Orchard... and while I haven't gotten a chance to proof the wedding photos (hooray for wedding season) -- I couldn't resist but pull out my favs of Gracie.

Next to the bride, Gracie was probably the most photographed girl there! Such a ham!

Steph, if by chance you read this before I email the photos to you, don't worry, they're coming! :)


Thursday, July 19, 2007

The "Big Boy" Experiment

This week's been a bitter-sweet week for me. Ethan's turning 18-months old tomorrow, which should be a good day... so why do I feel like I'm being robbed?

It seems silly now that I think about it... but just a couple minutes ago, I cried because Ethan actually fell asleep on his toddler bed with no problems. We noticed that he's been getting caught in the rails of his crib lately (he tends to move around a lot when he sleeps). Anyway, I had a brilliant idea to see if he would sleep on his race car bed tonight. The "big boy" bed. At first, I thought he might be too young for it, but Ethan's always seemed to do things a little bit earlier than typical. I initially wanted to wait it out as much as possible -- surprisingly enough, he hasn't even tried to climb out of his crib. Of course, I didn't want to dismantle the crib just yet... so we parked his car bed at the foot of ours (at least for a couple of days). We let him play in it for a few minutes, grabbed his CD player from his room and turned his lullabies on, turned off the lights and kissed him goodnight. I cracked the door open, and tiptoed in the adjacent bathroom like a spy on a mission... waiting to see what he would do.

Secretly, I hoped that it wouldn't work out, just so I could put my baby back in his crib [I'm horrible, I know]. But much to my dismay, Ethan assumed his goodnight position (face down with his knees tucked in and butt in the air, pacifier in his mouth and Barney within arm's reach) then went to bed like he was told.

That's when the tears came. Afraid to wake him, I crawled back to Ethan's room and looked at all the hardwork I put into making the perfect nursery. I remembered helping Mike put the crib together, making sure all the bolts were tight and all the bumper ties were secure. The block letters on the wall still reads MICHAEL -- in my defense, I put that up before Mike decided he would call our son by his middle name (a decision made in the delivery room while I was still under anesthesia). I remember that now neatly framed 1000-piece puzzle that took Mike and I months to finish. And while I admit I have grown disgustingly sick of the abundance of Winnie the Pooh, I have to admit I'm going to be sad to see it all go.

My son's growing right in front of my eyes and there's absolutely nothing I can do about it. And while I bawl myself out for every milestone he hits, he seems to just relish every change in his ever-growing status. I guess I should join the bandwagon.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Memory Lane

Sometime last month, I was inspired by Kim, who was kind enough to share her wedding photos from Puerto Rico (gorgeous!). Our wedding anniversary isn't for another 2 months, but I too, am feeling sentimental tonight (maybe it's because Mike just spent the last hour helping me tidy up the house... now that's sexy!)

We got married on the beach at Crystal Cove, Laguna Beach. I know it sounds cliche, but we couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. Now, I wasn't the type that had her whole wedding planned from kindergarten. No, no. I spent countless hours accumulating to a year of planning like a crazy woman, and I stressed until the day before. But when the day finally came, it was everything I had imagined and more. The waves, the dress, the string quartet, the walk, the tears... it was trully a fairy tale wedding (of course, I might be a little biased).

I could go on and on about it for days... but I'd rather leave you with these -- my memories of the day. Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Verdict is No

My secret dream of becoming a professional blogger got crushed yesterday after receiving a "rejection" email from the The Gazz's editor-in-chief. I wasn't expecting much, I wasn't even after the money (I did a little googling and found out there are folks out there who actually make a decent amount of money doing... well, exactly this). If anything, I was exceedingly excited about being able to add creative writing in my resume especially from a reputable publication.

I just love to write. Always have. Believe it or not, back in my pre-teen years I actually completed a mini-series of books (very similar to the "Sweet Valley High" series by Francine Pascal)... of course, the storylines were based on me and my high school friends. They were all hand-written in spiral notebooks and gifted to people who thought they were portrayed best in a particular book. I now regret not keeping copies for myself, but oh well. I've also gotten several poems and short stories published in La Verne magazine (my old college).... but still... blogging about parenting (although a rookie) was something I thought I would be really good at.

In retrospect, I've never gotten a rejection letter before, but if I did, this would probably be the nicest one I'll ever get.

Dear Anna,

Thanks for getting back in touch. Your blog is often touching and well written, but I really don't think it's right for gazz at the moment. We already have a blog often written from a parent's viewpoint -- Karen Fuller's -- and that is hosted on gazz only because we do not yet have the ability to put non-arts blogs elsewhere on our site.

As for the food blog writing, with you leaving town in less than a year, I would rather not start up a local food blogger writer who was then going tobe gone out of town some months ahead.

But it seems clear you are well-motiviated to write. So once you get back home to California I would make these same blog-pitches to all your local media outlets.

Good luck to you and your family.


To be a good sport, I emailed him back with this:

Dear Doug,

Thank you for the consideration and the recommendation. For what it's worth, I will still continue to be an avid reader of your blogs ;)

Keep up the great work!


Maybe next time.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Vacation Hangover

The alarm went off on cue at 6:30 this morning signifying the inevitable duty of going back to work and the sad, sad reality that our summer vacation is over. All I kept thinking was... it's only 3:30..... but Mike insisted I should quickly get back to eastern standard time (I surmise HR wouldn't like it if I just showed up 3 hours late). Stupid time changes. I've travelled a lot and have learned that it physically takes me at least 3 days to adjust to a time change. Unfortunately, today was no exception. Even Ethan was struggling this morning, he was knocked out by the time we got to daycare and it took me a good while to wake him up for the breakfast table. I asked for them to let him sleep a little longer at naptime in case he needed to catch up... which would ultimately be to their benefit anyway because he gets really cranky when he's tired.

Eventually, I got to work, sat down, and started daydreaming about the next distant vacation. I did everything I was supposed to do to prevent this: I finished all time-sensitive projects before I left, cleaned off my desk, trained a back-up so to minimize things from piling up while I was gone, made a To Do List so I know exactly what needs to be done when I get back...... and still..... I'm in a slump. Did you know that it takes the average employee a day and half to resume normal productivity at work after a break? I spent the whole morning sweeping through my emails and I haven't even gotten to voicemail messages yet. This morning I immediately got slapped with "can this be done today?" which I found especially annoying since it's not like I have a choice to say no.

Not to mention seeing my family and being in California (even for just a couple of days) has made me realize how much I really miss home. The ironic thing is we're so close to moving back (less than a year, but who's counting?) that my home-sick blues have turned into transition anxiety. So instead of getting excited about moving back, I've gotten so stressed out about exactly that --- what about jobs? what about a place to live? what about pre-school? --- That's enough to bum anyone out.

Is it time to go home yet?

Friday, July 06, 2007

Go Blue!

I think every mom and dad would agree that there's not a more exciting feeling in the world than witnessing their firsts..... first smile, first word, first steps. And yesterday wasn't any different.. when we took Ethan to his first major league baseball game!!!!!!!! Definitely a huge step up from the WV Power games (no offense). We scored great last minute seats in the left field pavilion and it was a perfect view to Ethan's first big game. He couldn't get enough of it! Well... he made it to the 7th inning stretch at least... :)

We're still in California (I'll post more photos from our vacation when we get back), but I just couldn't bare to wait to share these! Everyone had such a blast, even though the Dodgers ended up losing by 2 to the Atlanta Braves (Andruw sucks!! lol).

Fam photo with the old school Dodger billboard

Ethan's aww moment seeing the field for the first time with dad...

Why won't they give me the ball Uncle Matt????

He insisted on sitting by himself and watching the game... he couldn't get enough of it!

Watching the game intently with Grandma and Grandpa

Awwwwwwww :)

Looks like the obligatory couple shot... but aren't they uber cute? (This is my sister Joana and her boyfriend Gerardo)

Of course, it ain't a party with my crazy brother Jojo...

Look dad! I got my first Dodger hat!

I can do that Grandma!

Ethan had an encounter with some hard core Dodger fans at the game...

Dancing on the bleachers inbetween pitches... between the 8 adults, Ethan sure kept us busy!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this shot!!!!

Borrowing Uncle Jojo's 20 dollar crazy hat...

After the game, we got a special tour of the stadium. This is an awesome view from the press box.


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