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 :)