Today is the end of NaBloPoMo, and I'm proud of myself for keeping up with the posting. It has been a very long weekend, and very exhausting, so I'll have to post on the details later, but for now, there's this.
We are on day three of the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend, and we've already eaten more than our fair share. Today will be more of the same. Happy Thanksgiving weekend! (Photos of birthday and Thanksgiving to come when we aren't so busy with family.)
We've been in major organizational mode here. Nothing like an upcoming birthday party and people coming to our house to motivate us to clean. So far, the main living space is looking pretty good. We'll have to shove all of Olivia's toys into her room for the actual party, but other than that, we're doing pretty well (except for the office, which will off limits during the party...there's only so much I can do in a few days).
All this rearranging and organizing has me thinking about what to do about our Christmas tree. We usually put it up right after Thanksgiving, while my husband is still off work and can haul all of the boxes down from the attic. Now, I'm seriously thinking of putting it off a week. I'm just not sure how to keep Olivia from trying to climb it or pulling it down on herself.
Our tree is a 7-foot behemoth that is about half the width of our living room (which is only a slight exaggeration). I love the way it looks. It is very full and looks so nice with it's twinkly lights and shiny ornaments. But it takes a full two hours to assemble and another hour to trim. Not to mention the time it takes to drag all of those boxes down. The tree and ornaments are contained in no less than four gigantic plastic bins that live in our attic. Getting this tree up is seriously an all-day deal. Which is one of the reasons we always put it up after Thanksgiving. With all that work, we'd like to enjoy it for awhile before taking it back down.
For all of the above-stated reasons, Olivia should probably be at Grandma's house while we put up the tree. I would love to let her participate, but let's be honest...she's probably just going to end up grabbing a handful of branches and dragging them all over the house, making the two-hour assembly even longer. And the ornaments...well, let's just say that a good number of them are going to have to live at the top of the tree in order to survive the season.
My biggest concern, though, is how to keep Olivia from messing with the tree CONSTANTLY. I'm just not sure I have the patience to do this daily for four weeks. Any suggestions?
Ugh. Olivia is STILL dealing with this nasty cold. Since Friday, November 14th, she has awakened at least once each night to fits of coughing or just miserable cold-related crying. I think she's getting closer to beating this thing, but we are all getting a little weary of it.
This past Friday night, Olivia woke after only a couple of hours of sleep in a fit of violent coughing, and after listening to it awhile, I decided to bring her some water and rock her for awhile. To help with the drainage, I thought I'd put a regular bed pillow in her crib so her head would be elevated. She went right back to sleep and the coughing subsided.
Saturday morning, I heard her wake up. I listened to her babble while my husband was getting up to get her bottle, and I heard a *THUMP*, then a cry, then more babbling. I figured she had just stumbled and fallen down in her crib.
My husband found her pulling paper out of the recycle bin in the office. Oh yes. The little stinker used that pillow to hoist herself up and over the rail. She fell out of the crib, but the shock of the fall apparently wasn't equal to the exhilaration of freedom because she barely cried at all. She just commenced exploring the rooms that are typically closed off to her during the day.
SOOO...we spent all of Saturday rearranging her room (and yes, the pillow has been removed from the crib). The full-sized bed frame and box springs were removed for storage, and the full-sized mattress now sits on the floor right next to her bed. Just in case. It will also help us (we hope) to transition her to sleeping on the mattress instead of the crib, but we haven't yet figured out just how to get her to do that and still be awake when we put her down.
Olivia loves the mattress on the floor. She likes to climb up there and read books and look out the window. And removing the bed has opened the room up a bit, so most of her toys now live in her room. That's a real bonus.
I'm having a hard time believing that Thanksgiving is this week. November just sort of disappeared. Must have had something to do with the fact that I spent half of it counting down the days until my husband came home from his trip.
This should be a pretty busy week for us. We'll be visiting with one family on Thursday, the other on Saturday, and we're having everyone over to our little house on Friday for Olivia's birthday party. I'm not sure what plans we have for Sunday outside of going to Church, but I'm sure we'll fill it with SOMETHING.
Thankfully, my husband has been able to take the entire week off of work. He had all these vacation days left, so we are taking advantage of that. I think we are going to *gasp* go see a movie this week! This is almost unheard of. We only see one or two theater movies a year, and usually at Christmas time. We just have a hard time justifying the expense of the big screen when we have a perfectly good DVD player at home and free movies from the library. But this is a special occasion. This is VACATION, people. Even if it is the kind where you stay home and cook all of your own meals.
In other news, we FINALLY finished Olivia's photo montage and figured out how to burn it onto a disc so we could watch it on the TV. We will use it at her birthday party. I'm toying with the idea of putting it on the internet and password protecting it (we have family pictures in it), but it's 23 minutes long! I'm not sure any of you are interested enough to watch 23 minutes of my baby growing up. Maybe I'll get motivated to create a 5 minute short version. Or maybe not. We'll see!
Yes, the market is a mess and the economy looks bleak and everyone is commenting on these hard times. It's truly hard on everyone. But since I don't have the power to change the direction of the market, I'm going to take comfort in the little things.
I had planned to post Olivia's one-year studio photos today, but we didn't buy the CD. The session was not good. There were only a couple of photos that were, in my opinion, worth ordering, so we ordered just those photos and left it at that. And here's what I learned:
*When your baby has a cold and you think it might be best to reschedule the appointment, just do it. Cranky babies make for difficult photo sessions.
*When you request a certain photographer and she's not available, WAIT UNTIL SHE IS. We have had two different photographers at this studio before this session, and both were very good at catching her smiles. She is good at smiling, but she doesn't just hold a smile for minutes at a time. You have to be quick with the trigger finger. Our previous photographers would get in her face and make silly noises until she smiled, and they they'd duck or roll out of the photo while clicking their camera remote to take the shot. This photographer was not quick or funny and was glued to the camera (this is why they MADE the remote...HELLO!). I can't tell you how many good opportunities she missed for cute shots. Toddlers do not sit in one place for long, people. You have to seize the opportunity and take that picture already!
*Read the coupon before you go. Apparently "Friday" does not count as a weekday, and therefore you are not eligible for a weekday special.
Whatever. We ordered a photo for the wall and some family shots for grandparents and wallets for everyone else. On the bright side, having a crappy photo session saved us more than half on what we had planned to spend on pictures because we didn't get our usual package.
So this year we'll be taking our own family photo with our own camera to make into Christmas cards. Oh well. There are worse things in the world than that!
I turn 32 today. Is that possible? What happened to the last two years?
Of course, now that I have a child, my birthday kind of disappears into the background. It's just another event that happens between Olivia's birthday and Thanksgiving. It also happens to be the anniversary of the day we FINALLY brought Olivia home after the ICPC wait, and last year it was the day before Thanksgiving. So that's probably what I'll be thinking about a lot today.
November is the month I was born, the month I was married, and the month my daughter was born. It is also adoption awareness month. Lots of stuff to celebrate in November.
On the other hand, in our area of the country November tends to be cold, wet and overall pretty dreary. The beginning of the month is often pretty nice, but by the time we hit my birthday (tomorrow) even the sunny days are too cold and usually too windy to be outside. I sit and type with frozen fingers and long for the days when I could open a window and enjoy warm breezes.
November also seems to be the beginning of cold and flu season around here, and Olivia has a doozy of a cold now. Luckily, my husband and I seem to have dodged the bullet so far. Unluckily, Olivia's cold came on right before the family arrived for Grandpa's funeral, so she hasn't had much time to catch up on her rest.
Her cold and lack of sleep has made her grumpy. Oh, so very grumpy! And I'm stuck in the house with her grumpiness, wiping up snot and consoling her when she trips over her own feet for the umpteenth time today. Tripping and falling barely warrants a notice on regular days...she typically pops right back up and keeps going. But did I mention the grumpy? You'd think someone had been stomping on her hand the way she throws out her pouty lip and cries the cry of breathless sobs. Oh, the drama!
I really, really want someone to blame for this nasty cold. She hasn't had a cold since August, and she was SO HEALTHY last week. Maybe the one-year immunizations contributed. She did start the congestion and sniffles just one day after her appointment. Which makes me DREAD returning for her second flu shot (yes, itty bitties need it broken down so they have to get stuck twice!). We are supposed to do that next week.
Grrr! We are going to try to get out of the house today, but I reserve the right to cancel my plans if I deem it necessary. Olivia needs her rest more than I need to get things done.
Her one-year pictures are scheduled for tomorrow. Ha! I also reserve the right to reschedule those if we can't clear up the dry, red skin on her cheeks and get her feeling a little better. This time of the year is just hard.
November is Adoption Awareness Month. Someone forwarded me a link to a song/tribute from an adoptee to his birthmom. It made me cry. So I'm passing it on to you. I would post the actual YouTube video, but I'm not that technologically savvy.
And if the link doesn't work, you can find it here.
It's funny how things like birth and death bring a family together. Of course, with my family, all it takes to have a large get-together is someone announcing that he/she is coming to town, and with a day's notice we can get at least 15 people to show up for dinner.
But yesterday's visitation for my Grandpa was a little different because the WHOLE family (nearly) was there, including a few cousins that I haven't seen in at least five years (rare for my family). My Grandparents had 12 children, 29 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. All but a handful of the grandchildren have shown up so far.
A funeral visitation always brings out friends and neighbors you haven't seen in awhile too. We had the visitation in the Church instead of a funeral home, so everyone was able to spread out. By the end of the day, we were definitely thankful for that. The place was packed.
We will bury Grandpa today.
Saints of God, come to his aid. Come to meet him, angels of the Lord. Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.
My husband and his coworkers drove straight through the night to get home. He arrived around 10:00 a.m. and is still awake! He's running on about 43 hours of nothing but short snoozes, so he'll crash hard tonight, but we are just so glad to have him home!!
My Grandpa died yesterday. It had been approaching for awhile, but it is always a little bit of a shock anyway. The funeral is Tuesday, and the whole family is coming in on Monday. I have some deeper thoughts about all of this, but it will have to wait until I have more time to write.
My youngest brother and his wife announced their pregnancy last night. Another brother and wife announced their pregnancy last week. Babies due in May and July. It is easier now to be excited about other people's pregnancies since we are planning to adopt again soon. We may have three new babies in the family in 2009.
Two more days until my husband gets home. He will be back on Sunday. Praise God for that. God help me get through the next two days...
These past two weeks have been more difficult than I had planned. Perhaps it's because the last time he had a trip this long, I was working. I had stuff to accomplish and places to be during the day. Yeah, the nights were lonely, but I had the option of planning meetings and working late and keeping myself busy away from home. Not so much this time.
Aside from the obvious need to be around to watch Olivia discover new and inventive ways to terrorize the order of the house, our budget is much tighter than it once was. So even if I had places to go (in cold November, with a baby who needs her nap), they would likely cost money.
So for the better part of two weeks, Olivia and I stayed home and stared at each other. We sang songs and danced to music and broke out ALL OF HER BIRTHDAY TOYS just so I could keep her interested in something other than her newfound ability to open the doors to the curio cabinet.
We tried movies, and except for the musical parts, she had no interest at all. She learned to climb onto Daddy's elliptical machine and stand up on one of the footpads. She is dangerously close to being able to climb onto the couch. The only thing she hasn't tried to climb is her crib (to get out) and thank God for that.
Needless to say, I have abandoned all of my lofty "to-do" goals. Paint the laundry room? Ha! As if! Organize the office? In the 2-3 hours that she naps, there simply wasn't time for that. And I have been WAY too tired after putting her to bed at night to do anything resembling WORK! I did make a little progress on her video montage, and I did some other unexpected things like clean out the refrigerator, but that is about it. Mostly, I just managed to maintain my sanity. Sort of.
I only hope my husband isn't too disappointed to come home and find it in exactly the same condition it was in when he left. Sorry, my love...I really did have good intentions.
Also, I confess, the majority of my posts these last two weeks have been typed in one sitting and scheduled to post throughout the week. Including this one (drafted Tuesday night, but I can already tell how I'll feel by Friday because I've been feeling it for days now). The benefit of this, though, is that I write when I feel like I have something to write instead of trying to think of a topic when I'm brain-dead and in need of a shower. So yay for me.
I think I need a mommy-vacation. Maybe Grandma can entertain Olivia for awhile tomorrow while I have some alone time. Oh, please, let it be so!
Olivia measured in at 31.5 inches tall today at her doctor appointment. That's still 98th percentile for height. She's also 23 lbs 8 oz (83rd percentile, I think, which means she's eating quite well now!).
Thanks to everyone for your birthday wishes for Olivia. She had a really nice day, despite the rain and Daddy not being home. We had dinner with Grandparents, Godparents and her cousin, Trey, and the best part about the day was OTHER! PEOPLE! IN! THE! HOUSE! We're getting a little tired of just seeing each other. Luckily, we are busy with out-of-the-house things for a couple of days, so the time will pass quicker.
Olivia has been entertaining me these past couple of weeks by showing me just how fast she can pick up new things.
For instance, we've been singing some children's songs lately, and one of her favorites is "Six Little Ducklings". This was one of my favorites as a child, and it goes with hand motions. If you don't know it, here's the first verse, with hand motions:
Six little ducklings I once knew (hold up six fingers, then point to yourself) Fat ones, skinny ones, fair ones too (hold hands wide, then close together, then in between...think "$5 footlong" style) But the one little duck (hold up one finger) with the feather on his back (put wrist on tailbone and wiggle hand like a feather on your back) He led the others with his quack, quack, quack (clap hands in duck-beak fashion)
Now, aside from the obvious clapping, which she caught onto quickly, she has also started doing the feather-on-the-back motion. Except that she got it a little bit wrong. Instead of wiggling her hand, she slaps her little hiney with her hand. It's so hilarious. Also, when she wants to request that we sing the song, she walks over to me and starts slapping her hand on her hiney.
She also loves "Itsy bitsy spider", but instead of putting her hands together to make the spider, she just waves both hands back and forth. She's getting there.
She loves to have her teeth brushed. I say "Want to go brush your teeth?" and she yells "Tee!" and runs to the bathroom in her little footie-pajama-ed feet. Sometimes it's the little things that are so precious.
This week, just to make life a little more challenging, Olivia has learned how to open the pantry doors, and she has also discovered that she's tall enough to reach door handles throughout the house. This pretty much makes the whole house available for her destruction. Luckily, she's content to stay in the room with me most of the time, but I have to watch her more closely.
We're off to the doctor today for her *gasp* one-year boosters and check-up. I'm REALLY dreading the shots, but I can't wait to get her new measurements. She's already taller than most of her one-year-old friends.
This last photo appears thanks to Olivia's Godparents, who allowed me to borrow their camera to get the pictures. I had to take at least two dozen shots to get one where she was sitting still, looking up and not making a weird face.
Here are two bonus photos, just because I was a little camera-happy today...
You have grown so fast. It's almost as if I can see you growing before my eyes. One day, you were lying on your back with a bald spot on the back of your head, and the next day, you were standing up in your crib. "Pulling up" was soon followed by "cruising along furniture", and I could tell that you couldn't WAIT to start walking. You tried and tried for weeks to take more than a couple of steps at a time. And then, at ten months, something just clicked and you took off. You've been running circles around me ever since.
While I rejoiced with every new milestone, a little bit of me also missed the baby that was left behind. I am so blessed to have been able to watch you grow and learn and change. I love you, my sweet little girl. I am proud to be your Mommy.
Your first birthday is just two days away. I cannot believe the time has passed so quickly. It seems like just yesterday, we were holding you for the first time. You were so sweet, so tiny and so sleepy! We were in love with you from the first moment we saw you. Five days later, we went to the courthouse, and a lawyer asked us some questions before the judge. The judge signed some papers and congratulated us. Daddy looked at me and said, "Let's go pick up our baby." I cried happy tears as we left to pick you up from the hospital. That was one of the happiest days of my life.
We took you home and watched your personality emerge. It didn't take long for you to let us know who was in charge of the house now.
You were a good and happy baby. You started smiling very early, and then you didn't stop. Your smile would light up a room, so our house was always bright. We took joy in watching every little discovery and delighted in each milestone.
Little kids amaze me. They are constantly going and constantly learning. It's just so interesting to watch.
I've been watching Olivia these past few days, and she doesn't stop moving. We were in the back yard the other day raking leaves (I was raking, she was kicking her way through my piles), and it occurred to me that she was making new discoveries every second. Watching the way the leaves move when you kick them, seeing if this stem tastes different than that one, trying to climb over the landscaping rocks to see what is on the other side before Mommy catches me...there's just so much to discover!
She challenges me to open my eyes to the wonders of every new day.
First of all, thanks for the song suggestions! They were great, and I'll be using a few of them. Very, very helpful!!!
Olivia knows that Daddy is not here. And she's not happy about it. For the most part, she plays and runs around like always, but she DOES NOT WANT TO GO TO BED. Not for naps, and not at night. I think she remembers that she went to bed the other night, and when she got up Daddy was gone and he hasn't come back. So now she's VERY clingy at bedtime and screams herself to sleep.
This is so hard, people. My baby is usually one to lay down and go right to bed. She talks to herself sometimes, or watches her jungle wonders thingie, but naps and bedtime have been a breeze for many months. Until now. She's still her happy self as long as she's awake and in my presence, but she does not want to be left alone or go to bed.
Come home quickly, Daddy. We are both a little weary in your absence.
Four years ago this morning, you picked me up at the hairdresser and took me out to breakfast. Everyone at the restaurant looked at us like we were a little crazy. I guess most people don't show up for breakfast in a tiara. "Are you two going to a wedding or something?"
It was such a perfectly beautiful November day...almost as if we'd paid for a reservation on the sunshine (like we paid for everything else!). I remember every detail of that day like it was yesterday. The whole day seemed to go by in a minute. I've never experienced anything so completely exhilarating and overwhelming all at once.
On that day, I never would have imagined that we would go through some of the things we have in four years. But every challenge has just drawn us closer to each other. You were my rock through our battles with infertility. You were so supportive when I brought up the topic of adoption. You were the one who made me believe it was OK for us to pursue both adoption and fertility.
When we heard about Olivia's birthmother, you didn't hesitate for a moment in saying "yes". I was a basket case through most of the ups and downs we went through with the birthmother before Olivia was born, but you were calm and committed throughout.
I will never forget the look on your face when you first laid eyes on Olivia. There was no doubt in your mind that she was your little girl and you were hooked. That day, my love for you grew in ways I never knew possible.
You continue to overwhelm me with the love and commitment you have for me and Olivia. I am so blessed to be married to my best friend. I love you!
People, seriously. I'm working on this video montage, and I need theme-appropriate songs to add as background music. I already have a few songs, like "What a wonderful world" and "Let them be little". But I need MORE MUSIC SUGGESTIONS. I have 30 minutes worth of photos and not enough music.
So I am appealing to you for help. Do you know of any songs that sound like they would go with a baby's video montage? I'd like to stick with songs (as opposed to just music) because I think words are powerful, and we are going for emotion here. Plus, we are trying to keep people interested for a half-hour, so whatever we can do to help that would be good.
I voted this morning. (And I realized that my cell phone takes pictures, which I can email to myself. Duh!) Now it is your turn. I believe that you should not complain about your leadership if you do not vote. Since I voted, I reserve the right to complain all I want. (Although I probably won't do much of that. I would rather spend most of my time talking about Olivia.)
For those of you following along, today is day 2 of Daddy's trip, A.K.A. 13 days until Daddy gets home. We are missing him lots already.
To pass the time and keep myself from going insane, I've planned a few projects while my husband is gone. They include:
1. Organize the office. (This may seem like a rather straightforward task, but it's really pretty involved. The office will have to function as a bedroom when baby #2 comes along, so we must begin the process of weeding out what we can live without, what we can store, and what we can reposition so that most of the furniture in the office eventually gets placed somewhere else in the house. Not an easy task.)
2. Paint the laundry room. This is actually just an idea I had the other day and will probably only happen if I can find enough leftover paint from the dining room to do it. It's a very small room (more like a closet), so it shouldn't take much. But I know it would be a nice surprise for my husband if I get it done (and if he doesn't manage to read my blog at all while he's gone...otherwise it won't be any kind of surprise at all).
3. Plan Olivia's birthday party (which we'll have over Thanksgiving). Get favors for the kids and send evites.
4. Finish Olivia's video montage for her birthday. This is the one for her party, not for posting on the site. It's 25 minutes long, people. And every minute touches my heart.
I also have to find some money in our budget to buy a replacement range top for our stove. We have one of those ceramic-top ranges, and yesterday I cracked it. Oh yes. I dropped a bowl full of soup on top of it. And the bowl didn't even chip. I could have handled a shattered bowl. But a cracked stove top is MUCH more expensive. Grrrr...
It's been a long week already, and it's only Tuesday.
My husband left this morning for his long, long trip. I am sad, and a little nervous. Not for me...for him. He left in a compact rental car (he had reserved a full size...YEAH) with three other people from his office AND their luggage, and they are driving all the way to New York in this car, presumably sitting on their luggage because there is really nowhere else to put it. He is NOT happy with the rental company. AT ALL. Not a good start to their trip.
**Updated to add: I just got a call from my husband. One of his coworkers called the rental company and complained loudly about the situation, and he managed to negotiate a change in vehicle. They stopped at the next airport/rental place on the way (about an hour away) and switched over to an SUV. So they'll pay more for gasoline, but better that than continue for eleven hours on the road packed into a compact car like sardines. They are all in better spirits now.**
Also, he is taking my camera. OUR camera, but I consider it mine since he's taken a total of about a dozen pictures with it since we got it a year ago. He thought he was going to be able to use a co-worker's camera, but it is ancient and has enough memory for about a dozen photos (total). And really, if he is going to be touring Athens and other exotic Greek places, he probably has more reason to need the camera than I do. I'll need to take Olivia's 12-month photo, but I can probably borrow my brother's camera for that.
Short point...no new pics for you for two weeks! Except for these:
I climbed into this chair all by myself!
Another warm spell...better get out my sleeveless dress for church!
Today is the Feast of All Souls (Dia de los Muertos). I recall that it is also our goddaughter's baptism day (November 2, 2003). I can't believe that was five years ago. How time flies. Happy Baptism Day, Molly!
We are going to be busy helping Daddy pack today, so all you get is a short post. I'll have all kinds of time to post tomorrow, though, since we will be home all alone! *Sniff!*
November is a busy month for us. We have our anniversary, my birthday and Olivia's birthday. Throw in the Thanksgiving holiday and the start of Christmas shopping, and we keep pretty busy.
This November is going to start off weird, though. Did I mention that my husband is leaving the country for two weeks? To go to Greece? No? I didn't? Hmmm...
You see, my husband works as a development officer for an educational institution. Part of his job includes efforts to stay connected with alumni and keep them feeling all warm and fuzzy about their school because, you know, that's how you get them to open their wallets.
So, every couple of years they plan this big alumni tour to some foreign country. He has to go as chaperone and basically make sure everyone gets on the bus and no one has a coronary.
It's not as glamorous as it sounds. Especially when you factor in the fact that some of the alumni and donors who can afford to take such a trip are, well, elderly. And then you drive them to all sorts of historic sites that weren't built for the mobility-impaired. Steps and cobblestones and buildings that are accessible only to those who can negotiate both. And hills...don't forget the hills. That are lined with cobblestones, mind you. Not ideal for people with recent knee replacements.
Such was the case a few years ago, when my husband had to spend much of a day in an Italian hospital with one of his travelers. He was the chaperone, after all. I think he also had a couple on the same trip whose wallets were stolen on a bus in Rome. A lot of headache.
Still, this trip was one we HAD been hoping to attend together (he as chaperone, and me as a tag-along to enjoy the ride). That was the plan, anyway, when he scheduled it more than a year and a half ago. He even asked my input on trip dates. We had hoped to celebrate our fourth anniversary on this trip.
Of course, the unexpected happened. A few months after the trip was scheduled, we met a birthmother, and a couple months after that we were parents. Life has changed. Never mind the fact that my portion of the trip (his is free) no longer fits into our budget. More important is the fact that we have a wee one at home who expects to see her Mommy on a regular basis. And she DOESN'T travel well.
We had considered leaving Olivia with family for two weeks and pulling money from savings to make the trip happen as we had planned. But it just wasn't realistic, financially or logistically. I'm sure Olivia would have been fine with my parents for two weeks. I'm just not sure that I am ready for that.
And so, my husband leaves on Monday for New York. On Tuesday his group flies out of New York for Greece. They will be gone for two weeks. November 4-14. (Yes, he already voted.) The trip includes a three-day Aegean Sea cruise (and yes, I am most jealous of that. I LOVE cruises). He won't actually be HOME until the 16th because of travel. Two full weeks.
But here's the kicker. He's going to be gone for our anniversary (6th) AND Olivia's birthday (12th). Luckily, she's too young to realize it's her actual birthday and we can celebrate later.
The benefit of him being away for these important events, though, is that we can both expect nice Greece gifts upon Daddy's return. And my birthday (21st) follows shortly after he gets back, so we can celebrate EVERYTHING then. Gotta look at the bright side, right?