Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Year End Review

As I look back on what this year has brought me, I find myself filled with grief, sorrow and pain.  But I am also filled with gratitude and hope.  

I can remember when Liliana and I moved back to the States in May.  It was one of the hardest decisions of our lives.  We were having such a hard time in El Salvador and Eduardo and my relationship had just begun to start it's healing process after a rough few months.  We mutually decided it was best for the family, but it wasn't without rivers of tears on my part.  

I can still remember how I felt when I arrived.  I was so lost and so vulnerable.  I knew coming back was the right thing, but I didn't know who I was anymore.  I had lost so much of myself to El Salvador, yet I had also gained more as person than I realized at the time.  

I wasn't easy to be around in those first few months.  I struggled with my decision and my loneliness.  Liliana and I both had our bouts of being sick, what I call "detoxing from El Salvador."  

I finally got back to working on my Cultured Veggie business and my Esperanza Imports business and I delve myself in completely to my goals of making money and supporting our family.  

I formed some great relationships over the summer working the farmer's markets.  It was my little family for a while and where I most felt at home.  I can honestly say I love my work and wish I was still doing it now.  

The fall and now winter brought some opportunities for my import business, but that has now dropped away after the holidays.  I am now jobless and almost moneyless, but not quite yet!  I'm still hanging in there.  As my stepdad recently said to me, "You aren't going to go hungry here!"  And I'm thankful for that.

Throughout this year, I have had great opportunities to grow as a person.  I have experienced pain beyond belief and I have risen above it all.  I have found strengths within myself I knew not existed.  And most importantly I have grown as a mother.  

The most important relationship besides my husband is Liliana.  She is whom I wake up next to every morning and whom I go to bed with every night.  I play with her and laugh with her and watch her grow by leaps and bounds every day.  I'm constantly in awe at this little human being that has consumed my life in the best possible way.  She is my light in the darkness.  She shows me that through it all, love conquers.  

I am blessed that I have had the opportunity to continue to live my dream, which is to stay at home with my daughter.  Absolutely nothing else brings me a greater joy than being with my baby girl throughout my days.  (even when it's not so easy and I'm desperate for some time alone with adults).

And even though my husband is thousands of miles away and we have not physically lived together in 7 1/2 months, he is in my heart and thoughts all the time.  And I have to say that this time apart has made us grow as a couple in so many ways.  I'm grateful for the relationship we have and how much we are both willing to continue to grow together and make things work.  

So I'm not really into the whole New Year's Resolution thing.  It may be a downer, but I'm just not.  All I want is a New Year's prayer.  I'm praying that 2012 brings more peace and joy to my family than ever before.  I pray my husband can come home soon and we can be together as a family the way we have always imagined.  Amen!!

Happy New Year's to all my blogging friends :)  You are all in my thoughts tonight!  (especially since I won't be drinking any champagne)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas is Coming

Today I got lucky and my stepdad agreed to watch Liliana for me for a few hours while I did some Christmas shopping.  I don't have a lot of money this year by any means, but I wanted to pick up a few more little things for Liliana and a couple other family members.  

I started out a little stressed because I hadn't devised my shopping plan, but once I did I got right into the groove of things.  Shopping is an extreme pleasure for me, not stressful (unless I have the child and I usually do).  I went around from store to store and watched other shoppers talk about what to buy and there Christmas plans.  It was exhausting in the end, but fun.

Earlier in the day we have gone over to a friend's house to exchange gifts.  I just LOVE giving presents.  It's hard when I don't have the money to buy more, but I've given what I can so far and it's been a success!  While we were at our friend's house I noticed all the cute Christmas decorations and homemade ornaments and all kinds of cute stuff.  I had one of those moments where I wished I was a more creative mother to think of doing more holiday related crafts.

So I got inspired and stopped at the Dollar Store when I was on my shopping expedition.  They are not handmade, but I got some cute Christmas clingy window decals that were a huge hit with Liliana when I got home.  We stuck them all over the glass sliding door in the kitchen.  I also got some Christmas stencils and "snow" spray that we are going to do tomorrow on the windows in the dining room.  I don't know about Liliana, but I'm pretty excited :)  And I'm hoping to have time tomorrow to help Liliana make some kind of homemade present for my mom.  I think that would be precious.  

I'm still in shock that it's almost Christmas Eve.  Liliana kept going around the house tonight saying "it's Christmas Eve Eve."  LOL.  It was really cute.  Interestingly I have not really talked about Santa hardly at all or about what is really gonna go down on Christmas Day, but apparently she already knows and was telling me all about it!  

Tomorrow we are going to go over to my brother-in-laws for a quick visit and then I have a tiny bit of shopping again.  (Why is always so clear what I should buy once I get home??).  In the evening I have decided to go to a Christmas Eve church service, which is something I haven't done for years, except for maybe in El Salvador last year.  Hmm.  Well here in the States it's been a while so I'm looking forward to it.  Liliana LOVES to go to church (her love formed during her ES days with her abuela) so of course she is thrilled.  Somewhere in there I also have to wrap more presents.  And then to top it all off, my sister is moving back from Ecuador and is flying in at 9:30 Christmas Eve.  Wow, what a day!  I'm tired just writing about it :) I better go to bed!  

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday time wherever you are :)  I know for a lot of us, it's also a hard time of year because we are separated from our loved ones and/or families.  It's definitely hard for us here.  (I forgot to mention I cried on the way home from shopping).  But I'm also feeling grateful for what I have and for my beautiful baby girl.  Hopefully I can hang on to these good feelings during all the family get-togethers over the next few days!!  LOL.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holding On To Hope

I hoped and prayed that my husband would be back by Thanksgiving...he didn't come.  

I hoped and prayed my love would return by our daughter's 3rd birthday...still he didn't show.

I have hoped and prayed with all my might that my dear one would come back to us by Christmas...and yet again he will remain absent.

I was numb to the Christmas cheer and joy the past 2 weeks.  I think I felt that if I just pretended like Christmas was still far enough away, that he might, he just might be back by that day.  

This weekend I was reminded how this holiday was only a week away.  The flood of emotions swept in and choked me so tight I couldn't breathe.  The reality of the fact that there was no way his passport would reach him in time hit me like a ton of bricks.  

I spent 2 days with mom helping her shop to avoid the pain.  I've kept myself busy as to not have a moment to think.  It's better that way.

So now what? New Year's??  Is there a chance?  Would it be the slightest bit possible?  I really don't know.

But I do know that I'm holding on to hope.  

It's all I have left.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

How Long Must We Wait??

It has been almost 6 weeks since my husband's last appointment at the U.S. embassy in San Salvador.  I have been trying not to talk about it because I don't want to sound negative and whiney, but something's got to give!  We have our whole life in the hands of this one doctor AGAIN.  I feel like a broken record...if it's not one doctor, it's another.  

All this doctor needs to do is sign ONE piece of paper and send it on.  What is the hold up??  Hubby has been calling consistently to only get responses like "call back later and we will have your file pulled" and "the doctor is reviewing your case".  And of course when he calls back, they typically don't answer.  I would without a doubt call them myself if I spoke any decent amount of Spanish!

He even went in person last week and they explained how there was some confusion because of all the different doctors he has seen in the past 20 months down there.  I can kind of see that, but does it seriously take 6 weeks to sort it all out?!  It's all right there in the file.  

I've tried calling the embassy with no luck.  The person I speak with is never in the right department and apparently it's impossible to speak with someone on the phone in the department I need.  

I've emailed my lawyer asking her to help, to send an inquiry to the embassy or something.  She hasn't responded to my email.  

On Wednesday there is an open time that you can inquire on cases in person at the embassy and we already have a plan for hubby to go and speak with them.  After going there, he will go to the doctor's office in person again.  It's a long ride by bus to get there so he will do it all in one day.

I hope this trip to San Salvador will help in some way for us.  But if it doesn't, I sent him a little money today to get himself a nice meal and see a movie or whatever he wants to do to treat himself and to try and relax.  He deserves it and since I didn't send him anything for Christmas, this will be my present!  

Tear-free Dentist Visit

Yep, you read that right...we had a completely tear-free and happy dentist visit last Friday.  We went in to get Liliana's front tooth fixed and I was really nervous.  My mom went with us because I wasn't sure how Liliana was going to feel afterwards.  We were prepared for the worst!

Well we got there and went right in.  Again I was so impressed with the energy of this dentist.  He is so relaxed and laid back and so is his assistant.  We went to a back room and Liliana laid down by herself on the chair.  They pulled up a chair for me to sit next to her.  They put the nitrous mask over her nose and talked to her about how it looked like a marshmallow.  She like that.  She was really relaxed the whole time.  I was impressed with how calm she was with everything.  The mask stayed on the whole time so she was breathing in strawberry flavored laughing gas.  Afterwards she kept talking about how good it smelled :)

They did the work very quickly and precisely.  It looked really great.  Liliana had her eyes open the whole time, but she wasn't uncomfortable or nervous at all.  When they were done, I could tell she still had the nitrous in her system because I was asking her some questions and she just looked at me giggling.  It was really cute.  Then they kept the mask on to allow her to breathe in some oxygen for a few minutes, which would remove any of the nitrous from her system.  

When they took the mask off, she got right up and we went out.  She got a new toothbrush, sticker and toy so we had a happy girl :)

My mom and I were prepared for everything EXCEPT her being perfectly fine.  LOL.  We couldn't go back to our house afterwards because my parents were getting new floors put in so we had even planned on getting a hotel room so we could have a place for Liliana to rest after the appointment.  Well that wasn't necessary at all!  She was completely happy and fine and ready to play.

I'm so glad I did my research and found a dentist we all seem comfortable with.  And I'm glad we didn't have to have anything major done at this point, just a simple fix!  

Monday, December 12, 2011

Liliana's Birthday, Part 2

Here is a picture summary of Liliana's Dora and Diego themed party for her 3rd birthday.  We rented out the clubhouse in our neighborhood for the party and it was the perfect setting.  We had some cancellations of people coming, but it ended up being the perfect group of people.  I'm so glad we have Eduardo's family here to celebrate with :)

The cake pops turned out pretty cute!

They were gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free and dye-free :)  But they still tasted yummy!  I used beet juice to color the frosting pink.

These are also the balloons I surprised Liliana with in the bedroom the morning of her birthday!

She still keeps wanting to wear this all the time!

And we still have a lot of balloons left in our room we are still playing with ;)

The kid's area we set up was a big hit.  The furniture on the right is a bamboo set my mom bought for Liliana from a  friend of ours that imports things from Bali :)

Since none of the kids were old enough to read, I HAD to have these napkins to go with the drinks ;)

Since we catered Mexican food, we had to have margaritas of course!

Liliana and her friend Baby Cohen.  She was babysitting while his mommy went to the bathroom and she made it her job to keep that pacifier in his mouth at all times!  LOL

Our friend Little Henry enjoying the Dora pinata!

Liliana and Tio Mario

Liliana and her cousin Tonatiuh.  They're only a couple months apart.  Can you tell who's older?!

Cousin Patrick, Little Henry, Liliana and Cousin Tonatiuh

Our only pic together during all her birthday festivities :(  We need our camera man back!

We lit 3 candles for her to blow out.

Opening presents.

All the babies got a place on the chair :)

Liliana and her cousin Diana :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Liliana's Birthday Part 1

Liliana's 3rd birthday was last Friday.  I didn't get any good pics of the wake-up surprise I had planned, but it was really cute.  Instead of getting a room full of balloons, we opted with a really cute balloon bouquet of Dora helium balloons that would last until the party on Sunday as well.  I was in the other room when she woke up and saw the balloons and I walked in to Liliana trying to sit up and pointing while half asleep trying to open her eyes.  She was really excited, but still sleepy so it was really priceless.

We then came out to the living room and she saw all her presents waiting for her so we decided to open them right away.  I brought the computer out and set in on the table so Eduardo could Skype with us and participate in all the opening festivities.  Thank God for the internet and computers!  

Liliana opened each present with such innocence and pure appreciation.  I just love this age!  Each little thing is such a treasure for her and she gets so excited.  She got little things like a princess brush and lip gloss and a the long saught after Dora guitar she has been drooling over at the Children's Museum.  But wouldn't you know it...I spent $24 on the guitar and $1 on the lip gloss and the lip gloss turned out to be the best present ever.  Ha!!  

After the present opening, I got ready and my mom took Liliana to her office to show everyone her cute princess outfit she was wearing.  They ended up taking a VERY long time so the rest of the day did not go as planned.  We had been planning on going for a sushi lunch and Liliana hadn't had breakfast yet.  They didn't get back until late so she was way hungry, which led to a bit of grumpiness on both of our parts.  But we had lunch and it was yummy.

After lunch we had planned on going to the Children's Museum, but Liliana decided we should go to the park instead.  So in the cold, we went and played for a bit.  My mom stayed in the car and Liliana and I went up  and down the slides and got some energy out.

Like usual, Liliana's birthday didn't go as planned, but it was great nonetheless.  I'm so extremely blessed to have such a beautiful and amazing baby girl.  I don't know what I would do without her.  She has definitely made me a better person :)  It was a really special birthday for both of us.  We just hope that next year her papi will be here to celebrate with us!

(the next post I will write about how the party went :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Party Planning

I'm pretty excited that I have something to occupy my mind and time lately.  Liliana's 3rd birthday is on Friday!  

At first I was reluctant to do much of anything after realizing her papi wouldn't be here to celebrate with and I was feeling guilty for wanting to celebrate.  But after much talking with my dear husband, he convinced me I should throw Liliana a party for her birthday.  We were in the States last year for her birthday and he missed that one as well, but we didn't really do much except go for dinner with my in-laws.  He reminded me that this day is for her and our little girl definitely deserves the best!  So once I made the decision, I ran with it full force :)

Her actual birthday is this Friday, December 2nd.  I am planning on doing this in the morning for when she wakes up...

Then she will open her presents and we will take her out for a sushi lunch, which is her favorite food in the world.  The girl would eat it every day if I could afford it!  LOL.  Then after lunch we will head down to one of our regular spots, the famous Indianapolis Children's Museum.  I told her when we went there the other day that we would buy one toy from the gift shop there on her birthday so that will be special :)  

The party we are planning is going to be on Sunday, December 4th.  I'm working on Saturday so Sunday was the best option.  It's turned into an early evening party so I think it should be fun.  My mom has rented the clubhouse in our neighborhood.  It's a really nice space with two rooms, one of which we will designate as the play room and we are going to set up a bunch of things to do in there.  

We are getting the party catered by a local Mexican restaurant.  My mom decided it would be easier and less stressful to just have everything made for us and I can't agree more!  We are also getting their famous margaritas for the adults ;)  

I have been practicing making cake pops and I'm quite nervous how they are going to turn out, but I'm gonna go for it.  I also saw a cool idea for the kids' food that we are probably going to try.  Check it out below with the cake pops....

We wanted to do a theme for the party as well and my mom and I went out shopping over the long weekend for the decorations.  I desperately wanted to do a girly princess theme because that is sooo Liliana, but there might actually be more little boys than little girls at the party, so we opted for a Dora and Diego theme which is still really cute and she LOVES Dora too.  We'll do a princess party next year!  My brother-in-law is having a pinata made for us of Dora and I can't wait to see it.  I'm slightly upset about the candy aspect of the pinata, but it a Salvadoran tradition so we have to have one.  I've been so good about not letting Liliana have candy for so long that I don't want to break that, but I guess I have to relax for that one day :)  

So there you have it!  I still have a lot of little preparations and things to buy.  My step-dad is going to take Liliana out tomorrow night so we can wrap her presents.  I'm excited we are doing this.  But of course none of it is the same without my other love here and I know it's really hard for him too.  Luckily he has an equally busy weekend in El Salvador with 2 baptisms and a wedding so I don't think he will have time to think about it!  I will post party pics next week :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Second Opinion

First I want to say thank you to all those reading that posted comments on my last post More Dental Decisions.  I took everything to heart and was able to come up with a plan of action.  I decided that although our current dentist has come highly recommended, I needed to get some other opinions.  

Eduardo and I had pretty much come to the conclusion that we would go ahead and have the tooth pulled rather than put a crown on it.  Since there is still so much risk with the crown chipping, we figured we would save the trauma of going back repeatedly and just take it out.

That was until today!  Yesterday I made it my priority to start calling around asking about how other dentist go about their procedures.  I have been deeply disturbed about not being able to be in the room with Liliana through her treatments and even my mom has been really upset about it.  I just wasn't going to take "no" for an answer!  Well I spoke with half a dozen dentist offices and didn't find the right match.  Everyone told me that I wouldn't find a dentist that would allow me in the treatment room.  Then I finally spoke with a nice man who couldn't do what we need, but recommended me to someone else.  I called and spoke with the receptionist and she said the dentist would call me back.  Well he called me back within 20 minutes and we had a great conversation.  Long story short, I scheduled a consultation for today and we went this morning.

Unfortunately the office is about 45 minutes away, which seems silly when there are about 50 offices in between, but it just felt like the right fit.  Upon meeting the dentist himself, I felt immediately at ease.  I held Liliana while he examined her teeth and we had a great conversation.  He gave me our options and his personal recommendations.

Unlike our current dentist, he gave us the option of just filling in the broken spot like our dentist in El Salvador did!!  I was so excited.  He does it a little differently because he will remove a little of the resin that's already there, but he thought it was the best choice.  Our other dentist wouldn't even consider that option!  

We both agreed a crown would be the last choice, with pulling the tooth being the 2nd best option.  I am still deciding, but will probably go with fixing the tooth.  The best part is that with either procedure, I will be allowed in the room!  The doctor said it's better to have me there to keep her calm.  Gee, what a thought!  He doesn't believe in the papoosing or wrapping them up so they can't move unless it's a bad situation of the child freaking out uncontrollably.  I would there to comfort and calm her according to this dentist :)  Ah, I feel more calm already. 

Now if we just fix the tooth, she will only get laughing gas.  He said she was so good during her exam that he felt that's all she would need.  The gas should relax her enough so she wouldn't get emotional and if she does, then I will be there.  If we pull the tooth, then she will still just get the laughing gas, but then the numbing anesthesia as well.  He said that he does not recommend sedation because the effects are so hard on them, whether it's a conscious sedation or completely asleep.  I felt more at ease as he explained his opinions and he explained everything so calmly and so thoroughly.   This was the first time I really understand why someone was suggesting something to me.  

So the reason he recommends fixing the tooth is because there is no serious present decay on the tooth.  He also said there is enough of the original tooth that can be saved that it doesn't need to be pulled out.  I think the only real benefit to pulling it at this point would be that we would know for sure that she wouldn't have to go back for anything like this again until her permanent teeth come in.  Even though it gets fixed, it could still chip and we would have to fix again.  So that's where I'm at.  

Eduardo seemed excited we could fix it and so did my mom so it seems like we will probably go that route.  I think I got myself talked into pulling it that now I don't know.  Aesthetically I'm not sure which would look better.  She gets a lot of annoying strangers asking where her "other" teeth are so I don't know if it would be better to not even have one or keep that one there.  Every time I ask her she says she wants to keep it :)  I don't know which way will be better for her self-esteem when she's older??

The last thing I will say is this dentist was telling me that when the baby teeth are pulled this young that the permanent teeth will actually come in later, not earlier.  That was really good to know.  We have an appointment scheduled for December 16th and I have until then to decide what we want to do.  Thanks again for all the support with this.  I'm so glad I stood my ground and found someone that will work with what makes us comfortable!  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More Dental Decisions

We have come again to a place where we need to make some major decisions about Liliana's teeth.  I usually get quite nauseous just thinking about it and I'm finding this decision particularly hard.  

If you've been reading for a while, then you will know that my little Liliana has had a lot of work done on her teeth.  She has a history of rapid decay and she currently only has one of her four front top teeth left.  The other three have had to be removed at different points.  All of the work was done while we were in El Salvador and though it was traumatic for her and us, we always felt comfortable with our dentist there and her procedures.

We originally saw a dentist in the States about Liliana's teeth and after hearing the bad news decided to get the work done elsewhere.  We didn't have insurance and there was no way I could afford it.  Also Eduardo was already in El Salvador at that point and Liliana and I really needed his emotional support through the process.  

We've never regretted getting the work done down there and actually prefer the way our dentist did things.  But now that we are back in the States, our American dentists are too impressed with the fact that we had work done in a 3rd world country, heaven forbid!  It's kinda looked down upon with complete ignorance on their parts.

Anyway, the point of this is that Liliana's lone front tooth got chipped.  I think it was from trying to bite into an apple instead of letting me cut it up for her.  She was so proud of herself when she did it that I had a hard time saying no and it wasn't until later that I saw the chip :(  

So we went to the dentist that we have been seeing since coming back here.  This dentist's office was recommended to us and accepts Medicaid (which Liliana is on) and we've been mostly pleased so far.  

That was until this visit.  We went into a private room and saw the 3rd different dentist we have seen in our 3 visits and I wasn't impressed with that as I had to explain our whole story each and every time to each dentist.  Then she told me what my options are for the tooth.  

I'll back up a bit by saying that this tooth has chipped once before in El Salvador.  The dentist there suspected it would happen because of her age and the size of the tooth.  We went into her office and she quickly filled the tooth in (it's not all her real tooth).  It wasn't too traumatic.

Well this dentist is now recommending we either put a crown on the tooth or simply pull it out.  She suggests just pulling it.  Even if they do a crown at this point, it can still break, especially her being so young.  I don't know which one I want to do.  I'm completely devasted and on the fence about either situation.  

I might not feel so horrible if we were in El Salvador where I know how the procedures are done.  Here they are a lot different.  These dentists will NOT let me be in the room during the procedure and I'm freaking out about this.  I have always been with Liliana through everything in El Salvador.  They also will not put her to sleep like we've always had done.  They just give her laughing gas and she will be awake and conscious (but relaxed supposedly) the whole time.  Then to top it all off, they basically put her in a straight jacket to keep her from moving.  It all just sounds horrible to me. 

I have put in a call to the dentist's office to ask some more questions, but haven't received a return call just yet.  Once I hear back, I will make my decision about which route we will take.  Hopefully this can be the end of our dental nightmares, particularly for Liliana's sake!  

To catch up on all of our previous dental experiences, check out Liliana's TeethLiliana's Dental Surgery and Another Tooth Pulled.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Define American

I came across a link someone had posted on Facebook this evening and feel compelled to share with you all.  The website is  Everyone is being encouraged to go on here and share our stories!  This is what they say about Define American:

Our immigration system is broken — and fixing it requires a conversation that's bigger and more effective than the one that we've become accustomed to.

Define American brings new voices into the immigration conversation, shining a light on a growing 21st century Underground Railroad: American citizens who are forced to fill in where our broken immigration system fails. From principals to pastors, these everyday immigrant allies are simply trying to do the right thing. Some are driven by a biblical call to social justice, while others believe this is a moral imperative. They, like Harriet Tubman and countless brave Americans before them, are willing to take personal risks in order to do what is right. These heroes need to be the center of this national conversation. Together, we are going to fix a broken system.

Our campaign is about asking: How do we define an American? Why do people come to this country? Who are the American citizens who help them? When it comes to undocumented immigrants, what would you do? As a teacher? A friend? A mother?

I just found out about this website not even 20 minutes ago and I've been on it reading stories and thinking about how I want to share my own.  I think one of the things all of us caught up in this immigration madness want is to be able to share our stories.  This feels like a good format to do that.  I think that getting people aware is what it will take to make things change.  

I still get people asking me all the time why Eduardo doesn't automatically get a visa because we are married! I always find it my duty to inform people on the realities of the laws and how screwed up this system is.  

I encourage anyone out there going through this to tell your story.  I also encourage anyone that may be a friend or just someone who feels strongly about this issue to share your stories and thoughts as well.  

Sometimes I don't even cry for my situation.  I cry for all the other families out there that are suffering from our harsh immigration laws and how this madness has to stop!  Please re-post this link wherever you can :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Still Waiting

I had so much invested in Eduardo's appointment at the embassy last Wednesday.  Unfortunately things didn't go according to plan.  Big surprise?  Not really.  It's taken me a few days to recover and move on to be able to even put this post together.

Apparently when hubby talked with the psychiatrist last week, the guy flat out lied to him.  He had said he had spoken with the medical doctor and that everything was fine and the papers had been sent on to the embassy.  Well, the embassy never received the reports, which means my husband's case still is not complete.  They did make a call to the doctor's office and found out the doctor had the papers, but they had not been signed.

The embassy did however have Eduardo do everything else he would need to in order to get his visa and all our documents were turned in and reviewed and we had all that in order.  Yay!  (I was nervous about that).  So according to the embassy, once they receive the medical reports, they will send off the passport to hubby in the mail.

Eduardo did still make a visit to the doctor's office to find out what the hell had possibly happened.  They claim that the psychiatrist did not even send the papers until Monday and they had just received them on Tuesday, which was not enough time to forward them on to the embassy by the Wednesday morning appt.  The doctor was busy and hadn't had time to look at them.  Also, once the doctor looks at them, Eduardo will have to go to the office and sign the papers as well.

He called on Friday to check on the progress, but the office was closed of course.  He is going to try again tomorrow, Monday.  Hopefully we can get those papers off to the embassy ASAP!

Everyone has been great and really positive, but it was a huge blow for me.  It may seem like a minor setback, but when your whole life is on hold and you are hanging on with everything you've got, the little things feel huge.  I think both Eduardo and I are almost getting numb to this process now and I don't think that's a good thing.

I don't feel positive and I don't feel negative about it now.  It hurts too much to get let down and it takes too much energy to be angry and mad about it.  So I'm just waiting.  I don't know how else to describe it.  For the first time in this process I don't even hardly feel like talking about it anymore.  And I sure do like to talk!  lol.

Hopefully one day soon I can get on here and share with you that my husband is home.  One day soon....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Holiday Commitments

Now that November has rolled around, it's time for my immediate extended family to start thinking about the holidays.  Who will go where and when are the main things.  Who is going to host Thanksgiving and Christmas this year?  Of my sister, brother and I, who will actually show up to these events?  And with so many changes in our families right now, will any of our plans actually happen?  

But the pressure is on.  All it took was one phone call from my Grandma to my mom and the ball is rolling.  Plans were made and then changed a couple days later and now there is a "tentative plan."  

My Great Grandma is in her 90's and suffered a stroke 3 weeks ago, as we just found out.  So my Grandma would like for us all to make the trip to Michigan for Christmas along with my aunt's family.  It's only about a 3 and 1/2 hour drive, but for some reason it always feels like it is sooo far away.  But it will be nice to go.  

Then long before Christmas is Thanksgiving which is coming up really soon.  My mom and stepdad have changed their minds about a billion times as to whether they are going to Costa Rica or not for Thanksgiving and I have told them I have no plans for that weekend except to be at home.  

And then there's Liliana's birthday the week after Thanksgiving and my mom desperately wants to plan a party!  I would love to do that as well and have already bought her a couple presents, but here's my issue with any of these commitments...


I will have a better idea after Wednesday of this week, but until then I absolutely refuse to make any decisions, let alone even think about what the options are.  I have one goal in life this week and that's to get my husband back to the States within the next couple of weeks.  My life does not exsist further out than that right now.  Yes it my be inconvenient, but that's just how it is.  Once I know when he is coming back, I will assist in making holiday plans.  Until then, it's on hold.  

Besides, I know what culture shock feels like and after a year and a half in El Salvador, it will be somewhat hard to adjust back here again and I don't want to put Eduardo in any situation he doesn't want to be in.  I totally have to respect that.  

Hopefully all of these events will occur with our little family back together again :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Devastating Rains in El Salvador

In the month I took off from blogging something terrible happened in El Salvador.  It rained non-stop for about 2 weeks in what was called a "tropical storm".  The thing is that the storm did more damage than Hurrican Mitch in 1998, but because it was not a "hurricane" got hardly any media coverage internationally and sadly only a couple of stories in the US.  

Any of you that are friends with me on Facebook probably know that I posted relentlessly about the rains and posted on ways to help.  Even though the storm has passed, the country is in great distress.  Tim at Tim's El Salvador Blog has kept up to the minute with the disaster and has posted about every aspect, including how you can help.  Please visit his blog to learn more.  Some statistics he quotes are this: 

"The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today that 56,000 people have been displaced and many are in need of water, food and sanitation. The agency also said there has been an increase in reported cases of flood-related illnesses such as diarrhoea, conjunctivitis, chicken pox, and dengue fever."

It was really sad for me to hear what was happening down there.  It's one thing to see it happening on television, but hearing about it firsthand from your husband is another thing.  We weren't able to talk for days on end because the rains were so hard and non-stop that we couldn't even hear each other on the phone.  I sent the little money that I had to help them with whatever they needed.  I felt so helpless not being able to give more and knowing the conditions Eduardo is living in down there.  Luckily our house remains intact, but that's not the case for so many others.  It's just so sad.  

I know this certainly isn't the best coverage of the recent devastation in El Salvador, but I felt the need to mention it because the country and it's people deserve to be known about and helped.  If you feel the desire to help, there are multiple ways you can do so.  Here is a link for Tim's blog again that will give you a list of organizations you can donate to.  Also, I will accept any donations personally and send them to El Salvador to be distributed in any way that can help in our little town :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What's New

So it's been a while.  The last month proved to be a tough one and it seemed hard to find inspiration in anything, even just a little to write a blog post.  But I am back and with many life updates.

The past two weeks I focused on nothing except finding myself a vehicle and finding my family a place to live.  My mother has been kind enough to let us use her car these past five months, but she was ready to have it back and I was ready to give it back.  There are a lot of details involved with the car purchase, but I won't go into it and just leave it at the fact that I actually bought one!  It's not total winner, but it was only $1500 and it will get us through until we get back on our feet again.  And the best part is that it's mine, all mine :)  It's a 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan.  I wanted a van so I can use it for all my markets and work things as well as day to day.  Some of you may recall we drove our beautiful Honda Odyssey down to El Salvador a year and a half ago with the intention of leaving it there.  Some have been open with their disapproval of that decision, but we've never regretted it at all!  But it did leave me here without a vehicle so I am happy to say that problem has been solved!  

The house/apartment hunt is still on.  I was hoping to move this month, but apparently you have to have money to rent an apartment and I'm a little short in that department.  So unfortunately my big plans fell through, but it's only for now.  I really wanted to have our own place by the time Eduardo came back, but we will just have to suck it up and wait until the circumstances are right.  But I am getting a head of the game and finding the places I like so it will be easier when the time comes.

Eduardo had his appointment with the psychiatrist on October 25th.  It went as well as it could and the doctor even admitted to all of this being "a big misunderstanding".  Gee thanks!  There are again more details with that, but the main point is that he is actually signing the papers we needed him to and forwarding them on to the next people that need to sign them.  Hallelujah!  

His next appointment is with the embassy in less than a week, on November 9th.  It's coming so close!  This will be his final appointment where he submits all the insane amounts of papers they have requested again and then the case will close and they will send him his passport with the visa stamped in it through the mail :)  Once he receives the passport, I will book his flight here as soon as possible.  My plan is for him to be here by Thanksgiving and then Liliana's 3rd birthday the week after.  Please God, let this happen!!!  I have been constantly praying this last appointment goes smoothly for us with no complications.  We certainly deserve it!

On a less dramatic note, Liliana had a dentist appointment last week.  It was routine, but I was nervous because she had been complaining of pain in her teeth.  Luckily everything was great!  But turns out the pain and grumpiness and sleeplessness had been side affects of her top molars coming in.  It was actually a relief to hear because we had seriously had a rough couple of weeks and I was feeling like a terrible mother because of our crazy interactions.  But the past week she seems to be feeling better because she is eating more, much happier and sleeping better, which makes me happier and sleeping better :)

We didn't do Halloween.  I didn't want to trick or treat.  Liliana is intensely afraid of anything in a costume so I didn't think it would go over well.  And then the thought of a basket full of candy in the house sent shivers up my spine thinking of all the tantrums and arguments it would cause.  So we hung out with a friend who was also not doing Halloween and I was happy with our choice :)  

Yesterday at the license branch Liliana was decked out in a pretty snazzy outfit she had picked out herself and the lady commented "oh, I see someone is still in Halloween mode."  I said "no, this is just everyday mode!"  It was pretty cute.  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Daddy's Girl

There was no hesitation at all for Liliana when she saw her papi at the airport.  We all had a big hug and felt right at home.  It was late though so she fell asleep on the way from the Guatemala City airport to Antigua, about a 45 minute drive.  We arrived at the hotel around 11:30pm and went in to relax.  All Liliana wanted to do was to be near her papi and show him anything and everything we took with us.  It was so exciting to see them chatting away and to witness Eduardo experiencing her in a whole new way.  She is much more talkative at this age now!  
We were all laying in bed at one point and Eduardo got up to go to the bathroom.  When he was walking away, Liliana's lip started quivering and she said "where's papi going?"  She was very concerned every time he was not in the same room even for a minute the whole trip.  
In Antigua and in Panajachel, you walk everywhere.  I absolutely love it.  But carrying a 3-year old isn't always easy for days on end.  I do pretty well with her in the sling, but her favorite place to be was up on Eduardo's shoulders.  They did this all the time and both equally enjoyed it.  I got lots of sweet pics :)
Being with Eduardo made both Liliana and I more at ease and more relaxed.  She only had 1 major tantrum the whole trip, where I experience at least 1 on a daily basis here at home because of so many factors that lead up to them (but that's a whole other topic).  It was a nice taste of what life will and can be like once Eduardo finally gets back here and we get back to our "semi-normal" life.  
I think that reconnection also just put some sense of peace into Liliana's life.  Before we went she would cry every day for her papi and for El Salvador.  That's the main reason we went down.  She has had a few of those days the longer we are away now, but in general she seems better than before.  One day after we had gotten back I told Liliana I was sad because I missed papi and she said "It's okay, mami.  Papi comes soon." It's a good thing we have each other.  
I'm also glad that Eduardo and Liliana have such a great relationship.  I can honestly say she is a mommy's girl and a daddy's girl and I think that's the way it should be!