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Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Loss of Daniel J Valadez

Three days ago my stepdad, Daniel Valadez passed away.

Dan and my mom have been divored for eleven years, but really they have been together since I was three years old. A divorce didn't really change their marriage; They still lived together, they still bickered, and they still loved eachother.

Their relationship was different, but no matter what transpired between my mom and Dan, they lived together the last twenty five years. They also raised my eighteen year old brother, Billy, together.

I spoke to Dan last Sunday and it was a sad call. He specifically told me, "I'm not dying or anything," so part of me assumed my mother had exaggerated the situation to me. Unfortunately, my mom's fear was correct. Dan and I talked and he cried and kept apologizing to me as I kept telling him that I am not upset with him for anything.

Dan was not my father biologically, but through marriage; My father, Steve Chiperno, is my father, but Dan was my dad, too. I didn't send him "step-dad" cards on Father's day and my kids do call him Grandpa. Dan was there with me for years while my father was in Alaska. Dan got to participate in my life in ways my father was never able to. For all of the time that my dad, Steve, could not be there I had my dad, Dan.

Growing up both of my parents had their vices and I don't think I will ever fully understand them. What I do understand is that I don't have an addiction to anything, and without ever having an addiction, I don't think I will ever fully understand what one feels like. Years ago, after having Stephen, I let go of any anger I had towards Dan and learned to change what I expected of him. I remembered all of the things I loved to do with Dan and all of our special "don't tell your mom", moments.

This week I remember our trips to taco bell and the years he spent coaching my teams at soccer. I remember his jokes and tricks and his chuckle and smile. I remember his calm talks with me and all of the nice things he has said to me since I became a mother.

The last five years Dan has been very ill; His quality of life changed, and it changed fast. For years Dan has not been able to enjoy food, he has not been able to stay awake long or often even walk up the stairs. I am very sad Dan is no longer with us, but I am thankful that he is not in pain any longer and that when he died his daughter, Tracey, and my mother and brother as well as cousins and his grandchildren were all with him. I know he was scared to leave, but I am glad that he can be in peace now and it comforts me to think he is looking down on us.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Now Parents of TWO!

I have been meaning to brag since the 18th of November; That is the day I gave birth to Miss Samantha Anne Moody!

My due date was officially November 17th and while I tried to have two babies on their due date, Scott & White hospital was out of beds and said I was only in "pre-labor," and so they sent me home. Fortunately, everything worked out better than I could have anticipated so! Josh has been in a master gunner course and the week Samantha was due also happened to be the week that the class was spending in the field. Just my luck, right?!

The instructors of the course originally said that no soldier could miss more than 8 hours of class, and factoring in the hour drive time to and from post, I thought I only had six hours with my husband. Low and behold, when I did call the instructors they got him out of the field as fast as they possibly could and just told him to call when our daughter was here!

Another wonderful surprise was Rhandi Stanford! She was supposed to be in College Station all day and Brian was out of town, so we thought there was absolutely no way she could make it. Rhandi came into my delivery room carrying flowers, a decorative sign for Samantha's nursery and her camera! Rhandi's presence was really the cherry on the sundae!

Samantha's birth went far better than I dreamed it would. By comparison of Stephen's birth, my pain was really low and I pushed for less than a fraction of the time I had before. It was still no walk in the park, but I have little room for complaint.

At 5:22pm November 18th, 2010 Samantha Anne greeted the world! Everyone in the room told us how beautiful and healthy she was. It took her a minute to begin to cry when she first came out, and Dr. Spears told us she came holding onto her umbilical cord. I love this shot Rhandi captured of my little girl!

In the delivery room I was sure to bring along Stephen's first photograph. I remember being confused the first time I saw him; I couldn't figure out why my son looked chinese! Samantha wasn't as swollen as Stephen had been, but their resemblance was undeniable.

Four days from now will mark Samantha's one month milestone! I can honestly say this has been the happiest month of my life!

Stephen's birth changed my life, but I was such a mess when I had him; I felt I needed to be at work every minute I could be. On top of having a newborn, I had court dates and "custody investigators". All of these things really ruined my experience; I was sad and overwhelmed as well as angry. Now, it makes me that much more thankful that I have a wonderful husband, a sassy four-year-old, and great friends and family in our lives. This newborn experience is nothing like it was the first time around; I don't mind late night bottles or stinky diapers. I am just crazy about my daughter. I can already tell you this precious little girl is growing up too fast! I want to remember every little thing about her.

Samantha, Mommy and Daddy are absolutely in love with you. Even your burps make us proud! You have have helped us complete our "Moody Chiperno" family and we are grateful for your presence with us. It is so good to hold you, Miss :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

End of the Road

We are finally in the home stretch with all of this baby business. We have at the most 24 days until baby Samantha is to greet us. It is scary and overwhelmingly exciting all at once!

The nursery is close to being complete; We are waiting on an end table from and tomorrow we need to steam clean the carpets. I also am on the hunt for a few knick knacks to decorate her shelves with, but that's no biggie.

The suitcase is being packed for the ER and I have checklists all over my office!

Big Brother Stevie B is talking about "my baby sister" all of the time. He really enjoys feeling the baby kick and always hopes to hear her and would rather his ear be pressed against my belly rather than his hand. I have also caught him wetting his finger several times in preparation of giving mommy's belly button a wet willy. Thank you again, daddy Josh for teaching him that! ;)

I am at the stage in the pregnancy where Dr Spears wants to see me weekly. My care at Scott & White FAR EXCEEDS any care I received in Alaska. In Alaska they never did weekly checks at this stage, they just told me to go to the ER when I thought I was in labor. They also did not do the Group B testing. While I am mortified of giving birth, at least I have some bit of comfort knowing that I have a supportive (although naive) husband and a wonderful, caring doctor. Last Friday I was told that I am thinning like I'm supposed to be and they want me to try to make out a plan for if Sam comes before the 16th, which is the date I plan to be induced on if she isn't here yet.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day of School

In all of the photos I have from last year of Stephen's first ever day of Head Start, he was SO sad; He was crying or making a horribly crabby face

Or, like this shot, hesitant... He decided before we even pulled up to the school that this was not for him!

I am proud to say that today was just the opposite!

He woke up and the first thing he asked was, "Are we going back to Chuckee Cheese's?" Since we had one last family hurrah there last night. I said, "Nope, we're going to go meet our new friends at school," and, to my amazement, he was up, out of bed, and brushing his teeth!

It was Stephen who remembered that he needed a blanket for naptime and wanted to pack his back pack all on his own. Man, this four year old age may be better than three!

.....Eh hem; Don't quote me on that.....!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stevie Turns 4

It seems like just yesterday that we lived in Alaska; Mommy worked all the time and you hung out with your Grandpa. I remember your hair almost looked like a toupe in the front and mommy thought it was so sweet I couldn't bring myself to cut it.

I was constantly dressing you up in silly outfits and costumes and taking what I think are the sweetest photos of you!

Daddy also fell instantly in love with you, Stephen. He came home from Iraq when you were just three months old and wouldn't put you down! You gave daddy some serious baby- fever!

That is one of the first two pictures you ever took together. You were both inspecting eachother and daddy acted like he might break you that first time holding you!

After our move to Texas you turned ONE! I couldn't believe how fast that first year went and I started to realize how much I missed working. I'd rather be home with you and enjoy watching you develop into the little character you are today.

Now, three days ago, you turned FOUR. Part of mommy is still in denial; You're my Stephen and I want you to stay three. Three was SO much better than two! :)

This year you're going to get prepared to Kindergarten. You're going to start kickball. You're able to talk with us and tell us stories; I am very proud of you and can't wait to see what you do with yourself this year!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My Army Rant

Please let me say that I completely understand that this job is what Josh signed up for and in marrying him, I accepted this. I get that it "pays our bills" and I cannot deny that the Army life has some benefits, BUT it has a LOT of portions about it that I hate; A lot that don't have to be this way and a lot of things generally go on that effect us in negative ways. Oh how naive I was when I said "I do"; Not that I would have changed my answer, but man, if there had been a REAL Army Wife's Handbook I would have been so much more prepared!

The deployments stink, but so far I have handled them with as much grace as I am capable of, but there are some aspects of my job as the Army wife that I simply HATE tolerating. Deployments themselves will be left out of this rant because we all know (or can imagine) how bad they suck and I'll do us all a favor and not cry about deployments this week. I'll save that for May.

First, we aren't paid any more when Josh works 8 hours versus 16 hours. Since we have been married, this is the first job in any unit that Josh has had where he leaves the house at 4:30am and doesn't come home after p/t, doesn't make it home for lunch, and he is "early" if he is home before 6:30. Now I understand that he has a job to do, but typically he isn't doing a job, he's sitting around waiting on someone else to do their job. Have you all heard the sarcastic phrase, "Hurry up and wait?" Well THAT should be the Army's motto.

Second, if you know you're going to send him into the field for a week at a time, could you at least have the decency to warn me perhaps a week in advance? Is that too much to ask? Heaven's forbid I make plans or try to do something during the limited amount of time my husband is supposed to be home in the evening.

Third, what's with the wives who wear their husband's rank? I would be embarrassed to take a position that I am only receiving because I sleep with (okay, married; I'm being a little ugly) someone who is in a position of authority. Also on that note, even if you are a commander's wife or something to that effect, you are under no obligation to take on a job of something such as an FRG coordinator, so please do us all the favor and if you're not committed to it, say "no thank you." Furthermore, there's no need to abuse this position and to threaten the wives with husbands of 'lesser rank'. I think the FRG could be stronger and more productive if the people who ran it were either in the Army or were paid civilians and had no personal attachment to any of the soldiers; When you put a wife you get egos and people do things to benefit their family and not necessarily the families of their soldiers.

Fourth, to the holy FRG; I don't understand your purpose. I have heard of great ones, but I don't believe we have been a part of one of those FRG's yet. You are supposed to have my contact information for things such as emergencies and pertinent information to pass on during deployments. If I wanted to make friends through the Army, then I would do that, but I don't have this desire for many of the reasons I am ranting about right now. Just like the telemarketing calls that I hate, I also hate SPAM, which is what I consider 99% of the FRG emails I have received to be. I don't understand the point in donating/raising money to go towards the FRG for that money to then go towards things like "mandatory fun day at the lake". How about I keep my money and if we want to go to the lake as a family we'll pay for ourselves. Isn't that smarter?

Fifth, anything referred to as "mandatory fun" really isn't fun. That's a rather deceiving title. Know what's really fun? Time off.

Sixth, I am constantly hearing the importance of family, and then it seems like the chain of command continually makes decisions that are unnecessarily contradicting of that phrase. For example, a required work day spent at the lake should not come before Stephen's preschool open house. Furthermore, I am pregnant and Texas is hot and the lakes here are pretty grungy. The LAST thing I want to do is go and sit in the heat first thing in the morning, every 15 minutes us a nasty port-o-potty, and sit around with strangers from Josh's work, and have any of us wade in water that will change the color of our suits. Shouldn't an event like this be optional? Shouldn't Josh be able to put Stephen's school first when he is home and there's nothing of importance that needs to be done that day for the Army?

Seventh, Josh has all of this leave that builds up because there are few opportunities to use it. A few weeks ago there was a block leave that was offered for a week, but on Thursday they scheduled Josh for a 24 hour shift so really he could only use 3 days off that week. Then two weeks after this, last week, he was offered another week off. If we had wanted to vacation and see family, not only would 7 days not be worth the money to spend on plane tickets, but the leave time wasn't approved for either time off block until 1-2 days before he was allowed to take it.

I really do respect my husband's job and most other jobs of other Army members. I do, though, wish that some of the basic bs would be cut out of the job. I hate that the Army can depend on my husband but we cannot. I never really know when or IF he'll be home and it's next to impossible to make a plan with any type of advance notice. I don't know that he will be able to get off work for the delivery of his first child. I feel like when he is here at this base and not deployed, we should have more stabilty.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Can't Buy My Love

I have been hesitant to use my blog since what happened with my family and I this past Christmas Eve. I feel like if my Aunt has wanted to see Stephen or hear about Stephen that this blog was not the way she was going to do so. Grandpa can chose to pass on stories or pictures mailed to him, but if the line of communication is closed, then so are my shutterfly mailings. I also thought that I would get to a point where I was less angry and that one day I would password lock this blog or use it for something else....Unfortunately, that part about being less mad didn't really happen.

About two weeks ago she finally contacted me. She seemed to want to say "let's move on from this," but offered no real appology and made it clear that she was only speaking for herself, not her husband. She also wanted to show me what I have to learn from all of this-- but appeared to miss what maybe could learn or do differently. She also said that this has gone on so long because we don't live closer, which really felt like another slap in the face. We have never lived close-- that had also never been a baring on our relationship.

I said everything I had wanted to say since Christmas Eve, and while I wasn't trying to go "bulldog", I am not about to tippy- toe. Just because I am younger in age does not mean that I am automatically at fault anymore. I felt like she tried to twist things and there were truck loads of excuses, but plain and simple: She's not really sorry and I'm not going to accept the "role" that I have been offered in my family.

Damn Italians; There's an old stereotype about the loud talking Italians bickering and scooping pasta and wildly waving their hands.... Let me be the first to tell you: It's a stereotype for a reason; That's MY family. The men rule and the women aren't entitled to opinions, thought they're known to talk and talk and talk. Men can do what they want, but a good wife needs to be the typical 50's wife and do as they're told.

That has never been my style and surely Josh didn't marry this fake wife that asks, "How High?" when he says, "Jump." Still, my family, who isn't known for sucessful and happy marriages, has expected me to kiss Josh's ass. And, for that matter, theirs. I mean, they are older....Respect your elders.....

I also want to note that I have always been the "black sheep" of the Chiperno family. Out of two boys and a girl, I was the only off-spring. I have a mother who was never part of the family, even when she was part of the family, and I have a step-brother and step-father, and I grew up across the states. I didn't grow up with fancy schools or housing and the strict catholic religion was not at all how I was raised. When I visited my Chiperno family during the Summer in New York, I was surrounded by older people, none of which had children or much experience with them, and if I spoke out I was going to be shown who was boss.

I never really grew out of that child role, though. I had a stigma that I just never grew out of. I could never be good enough or snotty enough or well versed enough. Everything I did was (which I will be the first to admit sometimes was) the wrong way. Everyone knew the way I should do everything and I could never win or be accepted as-is. Every darn thing I did gave someone the opportunity to say, "Well I told you not to do that," even if they hadn't told me not to do that.

Now, at 27, I am told that our relationship wasn't really that important because I live far away. I am told that she told everyone these fake stories of how everything happened because she was too embaressed to tell the truth. I am told that forgiveness is the path I need to take; But why should I chose to forgive if nothing has changed? If I can't get so much as an appology? Back before Stephen and Josh (and Sam!) I may not have had the self esteem and I may have doubted my actions and choices, but I don't now. On Christmas Eve I didn't do something wrong and what happened to me, my son, my husband, and my father is not okay. I wouldn't take that from a "friend" and I wouldn't let my mother do something like that-- why should I accept that my aunt and her husband did it? Because they're older therefor I should forgive?

Then it came down to what it always seems to come down to: Money. Inheritance. Gifts. It felt like yet another insult. If you cannot truly be sorry and honest about what happened, and we can't talk and we can't patch things, then why in the hell would you want to send a baby gift from time to time? What the hell for? There's that old famous saying, 'Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.' The message conveyed is that a gift should be appreciated for the thought and spirit behind it, not according to its value. Maybe it would have been the smart thing to do if I had said, "sure, send gifts still." I just couldn't say that, though. It boils my blood that after everything is said and done that no one will say they are sorry, but instead they would rather send a gift from time to time for my kids. You know, the same Stephen that was sent to a hotel at 10pm on Christmas Eve. The same Stephen who had no idea that Santa came and Christmas was over; That kid didn't need a Christmas, and I'm not going to say I'm sorry like I've told you a responsible adult should do all of those years, but instead from time to time I can send him a gift.

I feel like it was some attempt to buy me off and it's never been about the (while always appreciated) gifts. I won't act a certain way to make sure I'm written in a will. I also won't continue to be belittled and insulted by my friends OR family. I can forgive, but if you're not really sorry, then why should I?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welcoming Baby Samantha

As everyone should know, Josh and I are expecting our last baby, due to arrive this mid-November!

The doctors are telling us it's a 90% chance of being a girl and I am thrilled to be prepping to paint the nursery pink and Josh and Stephen are both handling the news well!

Everyone has already been asking what we are going to do with the nursery and what we "need". I have been meaning to re-use my blog and thought I may as well do so tonight. I will try to keep this current! So far this is what we have:

High Chair
Moses Basket
Pink Bumbo with tray
Several thick blankets and several security blankets
Stevie's baby books & Toys
Travel System Stroller (Bought used!)
Used white sleigh crib and mattress

Things we will be saving for:
Baby Bath and maybe a towel or two
Carseat; We have a used infant one with the travel system, but will prob need a 2nd
Curtains- but I'm waiting to chose ones once the PB bedding comes in
Photography shoot at Solado's Solas studio
Pottery Barn coco dot bumper, crib sheet, and crib skirt
Rug, either from PB on Ebay or a land of nod one
White Dresser from Furniture Row

*White jewlery box! Jewlery Box, white

Nursery Vision:

This is the pottery barn quilt that I won from ebay! It was so cheap I thought there was no way in heck I would win it! I'm leaning towards this set and right now all I have is that quilt. It's called the "Coco dot", and while it's on sale, it's a pottery barn sale, so it's still not cheap. I'm pretty dead-set on light pink walls, though that blue is pretty and compliments the set! MAYBE I'll do a wall with that blue- I think it gives the whole set a real punch!

I bought this pb fairy princess set before I knew that Stephen was a boy and am hoping dad mails it to me and it's still in good shape. I don't know that I will use the full set or not and just really need to see it in hand, but we may do this nursery instead:

I was thinking I had this set, but dad told me the quilt has blue in it, so I just have to wait and see....

The soon-to-be big brother. "Awe, Mom-- a girl?!"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Snow In Texas

Doesn't the little squirt look JUST like me?!

I am really really late on posting this blog, but my snow baby is too cute not to share!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Adults Only

Roe Anne and Randy invited us over Saturday for a our first Adult Only Mardi Gras party. It was a good time! We tried food, such as alligator, that I would never try otherwise! We were gifted beads as we walked in and chatted a bit. My favorite part, though, was the end of the night when we busted out "Just Dance" on the wii and the karaoke games!

Carla kicked some serious butt. She's welcome on my team anytime! I have never actually heard anyone sing "Eye of the Tiger" well before her!

My Sweet Valentine's

I am happy to say that this Valentine's Day was the best ever :)
Ours was even extended an additional day. Who needs Presiden't Day when you can just have a two-day Valentine's? We woke up this morning and visited the Day's home. The kiddos ran around outside and didn't seem to care that it was too cold out. They also made the cutest mailboxes to hold their cards and treats!

I did, however, have a failure. See this?

Yes, well, it's SUPPOSED to look like this:

Stephen got a little valentine from mommy and daddy. It can be transformed into a boat or a plane also. The kid has mad skills with those itty bitty legos, but daddy did help a bit!

Stevie entertained himself for quite a while. You had to see him with his cars. Apparently they all needed a nap!

My honey cooked my steak in the shape of a heart. Josh definately earned an honorable mention in my blog. The sweet boy some days!

School valentine party and mommy & daddy's card. I loved it!

Josh had two Valentine gifts this year because he deserves them. He was DYING for the coffee maker; We now have two (which is stupid, but whatever). The mug pictures are included because I usually get that mug with very similar messages. THE MUG is FAMOUS in my stories of my husband, but it was me who was annoying this morning.

This is Josh's OTHER present. Hopefully we'll get a little better at cooking with it :) It's his "Man" grille. Oh, Lord. *Rolls Eyes*