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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 :)