It’s Been 13 Years!

July 13, 1996 is a day I will remember forever. Why? Because I married the Love of My Life. Today we celebrated our 13th Wedding Anniversary. I am so blessed to have Mark as my husband, my partner, my friend and my daughter’s dad.

Emma, when you get older and are ready to date (which I know is many years away- but time flies so I gotta let you know) I hope you will look at your Dad and realize the wonderful man and father that he is. Don’t ever settle in life. Know that you deserve to be happy and in order to be happy, you need to find a partner that has all the wonderful characteristics that your Dad has. Finding the right partner to share your life with is very important. Once you find that person, you will learn that you can overcome all obstacles together.

May God always bless you and protect you my Little Sloth! I Love You and Daddy with ALL my heart!

If you are still smiling after 13 years, you know you found the right partner;)


July 4th Celebration

We had a wonderful 4th of July with our great friends and neighbors, Ted, Lisa and their daughter Emma. My sister, Anamarie, surprised me and came up for a few days to visit and my Mom also showed up. It was great catching up with my family and our friends. Emma LOVED watching the fireworks but was frightened by the loud exploding sounds. Although she had seen the fireworks once before she didn’t remember it. We were fortunate to have a great view. Here are a few pictures of our day.

Emma and I going down the slide:

Emma Swim Class #2 Videos

Emma doing the back stroke

Emma holding her breath

Swim Class #2

Last weeks swim lesson was canceled because her instructor was sick. We took Emma to the pool anyway and swam with her to practice the skills she had learned in her first lesson. When we attended her second lesson today, Emma’s skill had improved. It’s quite amazing because we can see visible improvements from one lesson to the next. During her first lesson she was taught how to “blow bubbles” in the water through her mouth. A concept she struggled with. We practiced the day her teacher was sick and concentrated on emphasizing blowing before submerging her mouth into the water (as initially she was attempting to submerge her head, draw water into her mouth and then spit it out). During today’s class we practiced that skill as well as some basic swim strokes as well as holding her breath under water. Miss Lauren provided some flotation devices so the children could focus on propelling themselves with their arms and legs without worring about staying buoyant. Emma did really good today. Her Mom and I are extremely proud of her. 🙂

Emma “bubble blowing” practice

Emma proudly showing Miss Lauren her “bubble-blowing” skill

Emma practicing some swim strokes

Look at that outboard motor kick!

Emma holding her breath under water (for 4-6 seconds)

Emma standing on the top step of the ladder. Looks like trouble is on the way.

Emma jumping into the water

Emma’s 1st Swim Lesson

I know I have said it several times already but Emma really loves water in all shapes and forms. She loves to drink it, touch it, splash it, soak in it, submerse herself in it, bathe in it, etc. As a result, today we started Emma in swimming lessons. It’s the most introductory of courses designed to create confidence and comfort in the water. Emma is frighteningly fearless which is clearly a concern for me and her Mother. I want her to have fun, but also emphasize her need to listen to our instructions and respect the water. During her first class Emma’s instructor Lauren taught her how to kick, push off the wall, float on her back, and blow bubbles through her mouth. Emma didn’t quite get the mechanics involved with blowing bubbles in the water and would take in water to spit back out in an attempt to blow bubbles. I am really happy and impressed with what Emma was able to accomplish in her first lesson and the wide ear-to-ear smile she had during the whole class was priceless.

Emma with her Mom in the water.

Swim instructor Lauren teaches Emma how to push-off the wall.

Emma pushing off the wall on her back.

Emma practicing kicking with her Mom.

Disney World Adventure 2008

We recently returned from Florida where we visited Grandma Aldona who broke her arm in a fall. She was hospitalized for approximately 10 days and had two surgeries to mend her wounds. She is now back home recovering. We are praying for her.

On our way home we stopped in Orlando so that Emma could see where Mickey lives. We had taken her there when she was about 16 months old but she was too young and the experience was anticlimactic for all of us. This time around, Emma was two years 10 months old and really enjoyed Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. Among the rides she rode and attractions she saw were:

“It’s a Small World”

“Cinderella’s Golden Carousel”

“Dumbo the Flying Elephant”

“Mickey’s Country House”

“The Barnstormer at Goofy’s Wiseacre Farm”

“Astro Orbiter”

“Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin”, “The Magic Carpets of Aladdin”, “Mickey’s PhilharMagic”, “Peter Pan’s Flight”, “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”, “Tomorrowland Transit Authority” (a.k.a. “The People Mover”), “Pirates of the Caribbean”, and “Carousel of Progress”.

Some other activities included:

Emma cooling off at Ariel’s Grotto.

Boarding the Engineer section of the Monorail

Emma riding the first car of the Monorail

Watching a show at Cinderella’s Castle

It was really neat to watch Emma have so much fun throughout the day. Her favorite part however, was meeting the characters. We hit each and every character spot and Emma didn’t mind waiting on the long lines as long as she got a chance to give them a hug and a kiss. As a parent you live for moments like these. Seeing your child’s eyes light-up in joy makes yours well-up with tears as you know they will be little and innocent only once. Elena and I had a great time with Emma and look forward to many more adventures in the future.

All tuckered-out (Finally)

Mother’s Day Update

This year we celebrated Mother’s Day with Elena’s Mom, Frank, and Cousin Jessie. We played Dominoes, ate Pork with white rice and beans, and talked. Elena was really happy and said this was the first Mother’s Day where she actually felt like a Mom. Gift-wise, I hooked Elena up with a certificate for a professional one hour “Deep Tissue” massage (so they can release the gargantuan monkey-fist of tension that burrows in her neck). Emma gave her Mom a Static Electricity Eliminator because Elena hates getting shocked.

Girl Over Board!

I wasn’t kidding when I said that Emma loved the water. In this picture, Elena can be seen giving Emma “the dip”. This is the process whereby Emma sits on Elena’s feet partially submerged in the water and Elena hoists her up so that Emma hovers above the surface. Then after a few second hold, Emma is lowered back into the water below, to which she shrieks and laughs and then says, “More”. Sharing Emma’s awe and wonderment to the world around her is probably the greatest pleasure Elena and I can have. Little by little Emma grows a little older, a little wiser, and we allow her to experience things in new ways.

Women and Haircuts

So Elena got a haircut the other day, and right before she got home I made a mental note that I needed to complement her hair as soon as she walked through the door. Like many men, complimenting haircuts is not a normal reaction.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a complete Ogre. If you come home looking like Olivia Newton John at the end of Grease, you better believe I am going to take notice.

But when the style remains unchanged and the length is trimmed only a couple of inches, it doesn’t quite register with men. Also if you color your hair and it doesn’t go from say “brown” to say “blond with pink highlights”, it will probably go unnoticed as well.

In any event, after sixteen years of living together, I have learned how much water and sunlight my little flower needs to thrive. Woman like to know that their man takes notice, and compliments are hard to come by the longer you are in a relationship. It’s one of those auxiliary activities that unintentionally falls by the way side. It’s not difficult to do, but noticing subtleties is not one of the strengths of men. Hence a quick mental note and a flattering comment later and everyone is happy.

Frog Fest 2008

This year we attended Frog Fest 2008. Since we are new to the area and I come from parts where the celebration of Frogs is not the norm I did not know what to expect. What was it that the locals find appealing about frogs that would cause them to hold a whole festival in their honor? We packed our things and left to investigate.

Although we arrived early, the parking lot was already at capacity. A sign directed us a mile and a half down the road to where a very organized crowd patiently awaited the shuttle bus that ferried eager frog-lovers to the festival. We parked our car and joined the family-friendly group that boarded the next bus.

At the park frog-themed stations were set up to educate children (young and old) about the natural and environmental challenges frogs face. Although frogs were the creature of honor at this event, it was clear that it was designed to create awareness as to the consequences of human actions on the environment and the animals that live in it.

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