Friday, December 30, 2011

What We've Been Up To

Bad blogger right here.  I think December might fall under the worst blogging month I've had since I started this blog about 2 years ago.  Busy, under the weather, and a big amount of company for over a week all contributes to that.  SO, here's a quick recap of what's been going on for the last week and a half:

(1) Christmas:

Liliana got a copious amount of gifts for Christmas!  We had a pretty big amount of company staying with us and they stayed for nearly a week.  Let me tell you, I think I need another vacation from that vacation!  I took a 2 hour nap the day they left.  And honestly, I could have napped for 5 hours.  Liliana LOVED Christmas this year.  In fact, she wanted to unwrap every one's presents.  I don't think she cared as much about the actual gift as opposed to unwrapping things.  Her favorite gift?  The one Santa brought her! (yes, we're those kinds of parents that only bought her one thing.  She won't remember whether we got her anything or not!  We're cheap, what can I say?)  We got her that little kitchen at a used toy store here in town.  It's fabulous.

Look at all the gifts under that tree!  Those are pretty much ALL for that little girl.  She is SO loved by lots and lots of family members.

Liliana looked awfully cute throughout the holidays too.  She had lots of cute outfits, but we unfortunately weren't great at capturing the pictures.

(2) Vacuum:

Last week, THE DAY before the company arrived, my vacuum cleaner started smoking.  Literally, smoking.  I love vacuum cleaners.  I have a slight obsession with cleaning and seeing how powerful they are.  Don't know why, but it's by far my favorite household chore. SO, apparently, it was time for a new one.  I wrote a facebook status asking people what to buy and the vast majority of people recommended a Dyson.  Here's the problem.  On the 23rd, Evan and I bought each other our super duper romantic Christmas gift: a new air conditioner unit.  $900 later, (thank goodness for home warranty company because otherwise it would have been $4000) we obviously didn't get each other Christmas gifts. And, we obviously don't have $500 to easily dispose of after that $900 payment.

SO, I still needed a vacuum.  My main criteria was something that I could easily clean the stairs with.  Our old one (I'll refer to the old one as Smokey from now on), Smokey, was HEAVY and ridiculously difficult to carry down the stairs while cleaning (my stairs are carpeted). 

I was about to check out at Walmart and had a pretty crappy vacuum in my basket and then I saw this:

The Shark Navigator Life Away Pro.  When I saw it in the store, I immediately Amazoned it (something I do with nearly every purchase).  It had REALLY high reviews and was $20 cheaper in the store than on Amazon. 

The main selling point?  You can lift the canister off the bottom and carry it around while vacuuming which only ends up being 8 pounds!  That totally works.  AND, it has a duster attachment that works wonders too.  I definitely approve.

Those two things mainly summarize the last 10 days of my life!  Yep, a vacuum cleaner got 50% of the post.  What can I say?  It was a great purchase!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Pick a Color"

I'm not going to lie, the last week at work has been QUITE stressful.  I'm not sure I've ever truly explained what I my job details are on this blog ... don't know why.  I guess I do it 50 hours a week and don't want to talk about it more than I need to.  I know I've mentioned that I love what I do, and that still holds true.

This semester, I was the "Academic Director of Academic Achievement for the Upper School" and I taught Economics to one section of seniors.  NEXT semester, I won't be teaching Economics (because it's a one semester course) and I will be promoted to "Academic Director of Academic Achievement for the Upper School & Middle School!"

I am REALLY excited about this promotion.  I started hearing that it might happen a couple months ago, but on the first of December, it became official. So what does this mean job wise?

What I do is help students that struggle in school.  This can mean learning differences, it can mean organization issues, note-taking issues, test-taking anxiety, whatever it may be.  The other big part of my job is to make sure students are receiving accommodations that they should be receiving.  In other words, if the medical evaluation says they are permitted to use their lap top to take notes on, I  need to ensure all our faculty is compliant with this.  This gets really complicated when each individual student has different needs.  I know it's tough for the teachers to remember, so that's where I come in.  I do a TON of talking with parents, holding parent-teacher conferences when grades are low, etc.  Even on days where I think things are going to be slow, I end up being busy.  The last part of my job: finals time.

About 30 of our upper school students are permitted to take their final exams in a "quiet testing environment."  A few of those are permitted to have scribes, a few are permitted to receive the exam orally, and a few just need some extended time.  It all depends on the individual student.  The stressful part is ORGANIZING it all.  Where will each student be?  Who is going to proctor it?  How do I let each student know where to be?  Who gets and how much extended time do they get?  Who is permitted to use a laptop?  How do I communicate this to the faculty? Etc etc.

I must admit I was nervous on how it would all go down.  I can GLADLY say, I am proctoring the LAST final exam of the semester as I type this and it went PERFECTLY.  NO problems.  I've only heard GREAT remarks about the organization of it all this semester.  Most teachers say "you are the most organized person I've ever met," to which i respond "how can I TEACH organization if I'm not organized myself?"

The last few days I haven't had time to even pee at work.  Today though, once these tests are done, the hardest question I'm going to have to answer is "What color do you want?"

After finals, I am going straight to my favorite nail salon and getting a pedicure.  I deserve it.  I'll read some trashy "People" magazine and will delight in Christmas break. 

Yes, I have a ton of company arriving TOMORROW and truly, we're not ready ... but this afternoon?  It's me, myself, and my toes.  For one hour, I won't be a busy working Mom, I won't be a wife that is married to an incredibly busy surgery resident, and I won't even worry about what Liliana is doing at school.

 For one hour, I'm going to be a girl without worries, well other than making sure the color I choose looks just right. : )

Friday, December 16, 2011

Making it SUNNY for him

Since we've moved to Little Rock, we've been in love with just about every single thing.  It turns out we had to find ONE thing we weren't crazy about right?

I mean, the trees are stunning, there is SO much more to do as a family and as a couple, the restaurants are nice, the daycare is stupendous, the housing market is totally affordable but fun, etc. etc. 

Well turns out, in order to have those gorgeous trees you need rain.  And it also turns out that rain, at this time of year, comes at a drizzly pace a few days every single week. 

Evan's hours are pretty miserable as it is, but when you leave the house at 4:30 am (pitch dark) and leave the hospital around 6:30 - 7:00 pm (pitch dark) you never see the sun.  And quite a few times, all he sees is rain and black. 

Over the last few days, I've noticed this has truly brought his spirits down.  I know he's sick of being in that hospital, and I know he's sick of not seeing daylight.  He's sick of just cold and dreary.  And the fact of the matter is that even during the day, it has been quite dreary.  But, at least in my huge massive office at work, I have these big windows where I SEE the dreariness.  Evan only sees the black sky. 

To make matters worse, since I have been feeling under the weather lately (turns out, I had pink eye and a cold! yuck!) he comes home to a wife that doesn't feel well and hasn't had much home-cooked food.  Usually, when he comes home I try to make the house as welcoming as possible. I usually have dinner either ready, or being made, I try to have all the  Christmas lights on, and sometimes I even have fun music playing in the background.  I want it to be his haven when he arrives.

But since last week opening my eyes was pretty painful, most of this didn't get done. Except the Christmas lights ... that I do the second I get home! ; )  Work has been really busy for me lately because we're smack in the middle of finals.  This means I had to write my final and grade my papers, but in addition, I had to organize how 30 students with accomodations were going to get their finals, their extended time, have people reading the tests or writing if needed, etc. 

Last night, as Evan flopped on the couch to start folding our Christmas letter, I could sense that he was really down in the dumps.  I brought it up and his words completely and utterly BROKE MY HEART:

"With me being gone so much, it just doesn't feel like Christmas."

To you, that probably isn't a big deal.  But in our house, this was like a woman saying "I don't care if I ever get another pair of shoes again!" 

Christmas is a big deal in the Lacefield home.  It is our favorite holiday as a family and we celebrate it and decorate with SO many smiles.  We are the opposite of bahumbug.  We send out Christmas cards every year, always have lights outside and inside, and decorate TOGETHER while drinking hot chocolate and watching Elf.  So the fact that it didn't feel like Christmas really showed me how truly down in the dumps he is!

I think he realized I was concerned because this morning, in his usual perfect husband ways, he sent me a text that said:

"Good morning!  I am going to try to be positive and happy.  I love you Cristina, YOU ARE my sunshine to make me happy."

And the sad thing about ALL of this, is that I don't have a way of fixing it!  It broke my heart when he said "you're my sunshine."  In other words, it doesn't matter if it's dreary outside, I have the sun in you.  But how do I make it sunny?

How do I make it feel like Christmas when he's working so much and seeing so many families in pain while at the hospital?

The good news is he works Saturday morning but is OFF Saturday night and Sunday all day.  Therefore, I have TWO days to show him Christmas.  Since I'm feeling much better lately, I will have more energy to convince him of this by:

(1) Singing Christmas songs
(2) Having Christmas songs on constantly
(3) Making my spice Christmas drink
(4) Make and decorate sugar cookies with Liliana
(5) Watching Love Actually
(5) Any other ideas that pop in to your head or mine?

I just can't have my wonderful husband feeling blue.  He is Liliana and I's rock!  I don't know how he does what he does ... working those hours, seeing so much pain and suffering during the day, and coming home and never complaining for a second of it.  We are so thankful for him and it is our turn to give in return!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Something to Look Forward To ...

Evan is on a really busy rotation this month.  In November, we got spoiled.  He had to be at the hospital at 7 most days and was usually home by 6. Sure we had our occasional 5 am calls and late nights, but he saw Liliana everyday but one that month.  That is a record for sure! 

Then December hit and BAM, back to the life we were accustomed to.

He didn't see Liliana a few days last week because he leaves EVERY SINGLE DAY at 4:30 and was getting home around 8.  During the week, Liliana goes to bed around 7:30 since I wake her up around 7 to head to work. 

On the days he doesn't see Liliana, my husband is a totally different person.  I try my absolute best to be positive for him.  I tell him all the new things that she's doing and take videos, but they're not the same.

Last week, Liliana was going through her teething bit and I must admit, it was a tough week at home.  I've been feeling under the weather with a really sore throat and painfully dry eyes.  Somehow, Liliana hasn't contracted this never-ending cold.  She has the world's best immune system I swear ... AND ... she wasn't breastfed, so take that people that made me feel bad about it!

So this weekend, I would be lying if I didn't say I was dreading the weekend.  Evan worked over 25 hours and was gone pretty much the entire time.  And I knew that dealing with a fussy baby while I was feeling sick was going to be really rough.

I tried to plan lots of things for Liliana and I to do.  For instance, we went to the Wonder Place (this BIG play space for kids 3 and under in Little Rock.  It is a heaven sent amazing place!), we went to a used toy store, we went to the mall, we bought new towels at TJMaxx, and we even stopped in at Target (no weekend would be complete without a Target run). 

And you know what?  We totally survived!  Liliana must have ended her teething stage around 10 o'clock on Saturday morning because the rest of the weekend she was her glorious normal happy self!  She didn't fuss or bother for 1 second, she was happily playing by herself when I needed a break, and she was just a complete and total breeze.  It's like she almost KNEW that Mommy didn't have 100% to give. 

To make things EVEN BETTER, when at the used toy store, we found EXACTLY what Santa was bringing Liliana.  We had bought it for $29 and here it was $6!!!!  I already returned the other one and Liliana obviously likes it just as much:

I live in a world of "I need to look forward to something."  And what is that?

This upcoming weekend, my husband isn't on call.  Sure, he'll probably have to go to the hospital (when does he not?) but he'll be home by noon AT THE LATEST both Saturday and Sunday.  We don't have much planned, intentionally.  We will relax.  We will watch movies.  We will sit in our new couches that we're going to pick up today (yipee!) and we will be a family.  And it will be fabulous.

Yes, I realize it's only Monday.  But sometimes, a girl just has to look forward to something.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What We've Been Up To

It has been nearly a week and a half since I've written on this blog.  WOW.  I know I don't write as often as I used to, but that's a long time for me.

It's not that I don't have plenty to write about.  It's just that I don't have the TIME to write it!

I have been under the weather lately: red dry eyes, SORE throat, and a stomach bug to boot.  It hasn't been pretty.  And the last two days, Liliana's molars started coming in. 

Let me tell you: those molars are NO joke.

Liliana is pretty much the world's best baby: She's sweet, sleeps like a champ and always has, is so incredibly smart, is potty-training herself, etc. etc.  BUT, she sucks at teething.  SUCKS at it.

Case in point: on Sunday we put her to sleep and an hour later heard her crying. Evan and I were really perplexed by this.  We haven't had an interrupted night for over a year so this is very abnormal.  Turns out, those molars were coming in and with a vengence.

Yesterday at daycare she didn't nap and was apparently much fussier than normal.  Last night, we struggled.  Evan was at the hospital until really late and with my not feeling so hot, it made for a rough evening.  I put her to bed ready to hear cries.

But none came.

And this morning, when I woke her up before work, she was right as rain.

Happy as a clam.

Cute as a button.

She was back to her normal self!  I am so glad!  I'm sure those molars aren't done causing her pain, but we seem to be done with that phase for now.

As if that didn't already make my day, look what I awoke to:

Our backyard looks GORGEOUS with snow on all the branches!

The drive to work was absoultely wonderful.  It snowed a lot in Lubbock, but it's not NEARLY as pretty as this.

Other than trying to get rid of the teeth pain, we decorated for Christmas some and while I need to take pictures of everything, I at least wanted to show a little Christmas preview.  We have TWO trees in the house this year: one with our red and green typical ornaments and then one with all the personal meaningful ornaments.  Here's our big "red and green" tree:

I really like our tree this year.  I'll take pictures with our camera instead of my phone soon, but I wanted to mainly show ... the presents under that tree.  Those are ALL for Liliana.  We bought ONE of them.  The rest are for from other people that adore her.  She already opened about 3 bags full in San Antonio when we went for Thanksgiving... those aren't even under the tree.  Spoiled you think? ; )

Here's the outside of the house!  Even though it was COLD this week, my hubby went out there and did this all while maintaining a positive attitude and smile.  He is so wonderful!  He knows just how much I love Christmas time and wanted to make the outside of the house look wonderful.  It really does.  It's the best looking one on the street! : )