How very odd…

What a weird last part of the week it’s been!!! I don’t believe in anything other than God and His control and will over everything in life, but man, if I was a comso/horoscope kind of girl I’d definitely would have said that there was something off in the cosmos or some stars misaligned this week!!!

Thursday started off things by being weird. Amber was acting a little unusual and grouchy and took an extremely long nap, Bob had an off day at work in which they all got yelled at–those are always fun, Lara was supposed to come over for dinner but had a crazy weird day herself which ended up in her getting interrogated at the Cherry Point Gate as to why her windshield had a crack in it which caused her to miss dinner. Honestly who interrogates a 7 month along pregnant lady who has the most innocent face in the world and was just trying to go buy some diapers??!! On top of all that hulabaloo Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcet both died (as you are more than well aware of by now).

Friday I figured out the reason Amber had been acting strange was she was getting sick and by that night had a high temp. of 103. I called the nurses line (thanks to Lara for the number) and they said she didn’t have any other symptoms and as long as it didn’t get to 104 to just give her the normal cold/flu treatment at home.

All day yesterday you could tell Amber was sick, but she was still acting pretty normal during the morning. She took a long nap, and after she woke up from it she was very upset. She would cry unless I held her and she wouldn’t talk or eat or even drink much, just whimpered. I decided to re-take her temp. and it was 103.8. I thought I’d give her a bath to cool her down but when I was done it had gone up to 104. By this time she was really acting miserable so off to the emergency room we went.

After an hour of watching them repeat the same stuff about Michael Jackson’s death over and over and over again they finally got us in the back where they took Amber’s temp. again. This time it was 106.5!!!!!!!! Talk about freaking a mommy out!!!! They immediately took us back and after ruling out an ear infection they told us they’d have to run a bunch of tests. 4 hours, one iv, bag of blood, catheter, and two big doses of Tylenol and Motrin later we got sent home with the diagnosis of a viral infection. Better safe than sorry….but oh my poor baby!!!! I am absolutely freaked out by needles, especially iv/blood drawing ones…and yet it was 10 times worse to have them poking and hurting my baby than it ever was getting them in me! ๐Ÿ™

Luckily Amber’s doing MUCH better today! She took a good nap, has only had a low grade fever, ate soup and drank juice, and it sound asleep in bed right now. I think we’re on the road to recovery! Hopefully next week isn’t so very weird! (Although adding to the weirdness was Billy Mays ALSO being found dead….but I’m including that in this past weekend weirdness)

For the Dad’s

Since I did my “tribute” for Mother’s Day it’s only fair that I now give a shout out to the equally amazing father’s in my life!!!

First of all I’m very thankful for my wonderful husband. For a guy who’d never even held a little baby and being thrust into having to do everything for our tiny newborn after I’d undergone my emergency c-section he did such an amazing job it still makes me shake my head and be filled with thankfulness. I see so many of the positive qualities of my Dad and his Dad reflected in him. He does such a wonderful job providing for us and taking care of us and I’m so thankful to have him be the Daddy of our little girl!!!

I’m also very grateful for my own Dad. I have so many wonderful memories of hunting, fishing, camping, gardening, playing at the park, have him teach me to ride my bike…the list goes on and on. I’m so thankful for the faithful and hard worker he was(and still is) and how he’d go to work even when he was tired, or sick, or his back was hurting him. We had so many nice things growing up because of his willingness to work in a dangerous hard manual labor job. I get my temperament and my strong will from him, which means we would clash at times, but then forgive and forget a few minutes later. I was always proud of how big and strong he is and actually secretly enjoyed the fact that I had the kind of Dad who scared all the boys off. He even did the bit about showing his impressive display of guns and knives off in front of one of the ones he didn’t like–Haha!!!! It’s so much fun watching him with Amber now and he’s as wonderful a Grandpa as he was a Dad. The sweetest thing in the world is seeing my big strong Dad curled up on the couch with my baby watching Sesame Street!

I not only lucked out in the mother-in-law department but hit the jackpot in the father-in-law department as well. John and I hit it off from the moment I met him. (I got to meet him the same day I met Bob, he told me I was the 5th girl Bob had brought by that day and at the time I believed him!!! Haha!!!!) I grew up used to teasing and teasing back and we have a great time giving each other a hard time. He’s absolutely hilarious and full of wisdom and I just love him to death! Bob looks up to him and respects him more than anyone else and he is the one person who can always make Bob laugh after a rough day. I know that he was a wonderful father growing up and that Bob tries to be like him in that aspect.

My Grandpa Romero holds a very dear place in my heart. My memories of hunting with him are some of my very best. As I said before, almost all my holidays were spent with him and my Grandma and we usually went and visited once a week the whole time I was growing up. He always has a funny story to tell and always makes me laugh–even if it’s just by bickering with my Grandma!!! His salvation testimony is an amazing one and just one of the many reasons for my bedrock faith in God’s salvation and the amazing changes that come because of it. How grateful I am for those changes because I sincerely believe I could not have enjoyed knowing and loving my Grandpa all these years if he hadn’t become a Christian and had God change the destructive path he was going down. I’ve heard him say that same thing many, many times. I love him dearly and am so thankful to have him in my life, and hope and pray that I’ll be able to continue to for a long time to come.

The only one of my Grandparents that I never got to meet was my Mom’s Dad. He died when she was just 18 years old. I know she loved him very much and have always regretted not getting to meet him. I’m sure I would have had a wonderful relationship with him as well and that he would have made a wonderful Grandpa. I am thankful for my Grandpa Middlemas who married my Grandma after my Mom’s dad died. I’ve always known him as my Grandpa and although I haven’t gotten to know him as well as my other Grandparents he’s always treated me like his granddaughter and I always enjoy visiting with him when I’m back home.

These are the men in my life I’m proud to call my Dad’s. Thank you all for your strength and most of all for your love. I love you all so much!!!!!

Back to square one…

So as most of you know by now Amber has a skin problem called eczema. It first started when she was itty bitty, in between 1 month and 2 months old. It was just a little on her face and we took her in and they gave us some cream to clear it up and some special hypo-allergenic body wash to use on her. They also had us switch to Aveeno lotion and not use anything on her ever again that had any kind of scent in it. That all worked great and cleared stuff up for a long while.

Once she got a little older it started to come back on her wrists and ankles so they gave us some thick greasy lotion to use on her in addition to the aveeno. All of the above seemed to keep it really well under control until last Fall. Her eczema started getting worse and worse, and as I mentioned before once we got back here it started really flaring up and causing tons of problems, which has lead to many, many trips up to the naval health clinic and now to a trip this week to the allergist.

I have a friend who’s little girl is just a few months older than Amber and she has had even more problems than Amber has with eczema. I talked to Elizabeth to see what kind of things they were doing for Kayda so I could get some ideas of what might help Amber. Kayda turned out to be allergic to several foods and once they eliminated them from her diet her skin cleared up amazingly. The only consistent factor I could think of with Amber was during that time frame she started eating “real” food and I weaned her. So I was sure that she was allergic to dairy, and possibly other (food) things as well. Yesterday they did the “back poke” test on her for the food panel to see what she was allergic to. The good news is they didn’t find anything, the bad news is…they didn’t find anything! :S Just to verify the results they had me take Amber to get her blood drawn today so they could test it. Poor baby! She actually did sooooo great though! She was better for that than she is when she gets shots so that was a huge praise. It doesn’t sound like she does have any food allergies though. Which on one hand is GREAT! I was so worried and I just can’t imagine what a hassle it is for people who are allergic to things like dairy or eggs or both! But that means there are going to be no “easy fixes” for this.

We have an appointment with a dermatologist in July but I have a feeling he’s not going to be able to tell me anything I haven’t heard or tried before. I feel like I’ve pretty much done everything I’m supposed to be doing or tried anything worth trying at this point. It’s frustrating!! ๐Ÿ™ and I feel so bad for Amber because on one hand I don’t want to constantly be giving her medicine but on the other I can’t have her going around and breaking her skin open by scratching it so hard because it’s so itchy. I’ve also found out that this is probably why she has had such a hard time sleeping through the night, it makes their skin terribly horribly itchy especially at night, to the point of waking them up. ๐Ÿ™

By going through all of this I’ve actually found out that several people I know have eczema, that it’s actually pretty common, and usually quite treatable although there’s no “cure”. Also it’s supposed to get better as she gets older, in the meantime though it’s making life for all of us a little rough. But anyways, I know lots of you I’ve told bits and pieces of what’s gone on so thought I’d just write down the whole story to get it off my chest. She has actually been better lately, and as long as I put the steroid cream on her when she does break out and keep her very “greasy” she seems to be alright. It’s a lot of work but we’ll get through it and hopefully it’ll just get better over time…

It’s official!

So awhile ago I mentioned the fact that I was starting my very own scrap-for-hire business and that I’d let you know when I had everything all settled–well, it’s official! I’m now the proud owner of Artistic Albums by Nicole. I actually decided on a name and even started doing business eons ago, but never got around to blogging about it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I even have my own seperate business blog you can all check out:

http://www.artisticalbumsbynicole.blogspot.com/

So far I’m absolutely loving it! I’m so thankful that Heather talked me into doing this and plan on keeping it up indefinitely. It’s the perfect way for me to bring in a little bit of extra money while doing something I love and expanding my skills in it. Since this is now such a huge part of my life I thought I’d blog a little about digital scrapping and how I got into it in the first place.

I guess the best place to start out would be with scrapbooking in general. I first started (paper) scrapping in my senior year of high school. Since I was homeschooled I didn’t have a year book, but wanted a way to document my last year of high school. I decided to make a scrapbook of it as an alternative. My mom got me materials and a class as my birthday present that year and my love-affair with scrapbooking began. I made an awesome senior year album and then set scrapping away for a while.

Once I got married I knew that I just had to scrap all the awesome pictures I had. Luckily we were able to get an amazing photographer when she was just starting out and before she became “famous” (wwww.fotosbyjenni.com) and since I had a cd of the pictures it was super easy (and cheap) for me to get them all printed out and scrapped.

I also created a Coast Guard album for my husband and all his experiences in the Honor Guard. I really did love scrapping, but I got frustrated because it was so expensive and I just didn’t have the patience to do the pages up to the level I wanted them to be. Sitting for hours stitching and sanding and inking just wasn’t my idea of a good time. Once I got pregnant I knew I would want to scrapbook all of my future child’s babyhood. I picked up a few scrapbooking magazines to give me some fresh ideas. I kept gravitating to certain layouts in the magazine and was surprised when I realized that they were all done digitally. Even more surprising to me was that they all said they were made using Photoshop. I knew that you could edit photos in Photoshop, but had no idea you could digi-scrap with it, or how on earth that would even work. When I started a blog last summer I saw that my friend Jaimin had hers all decked out and adorable with a super cute background. I followed her link for the instructions on how to do it and was directed from there to several sites that had digital scrapbook papers that you could download and also use for blog backgrounds. Already intrigued at the idea of digital scrapping I looked all over these sites, specifically http://www.shabbyprincess.com/ , to learn more. I also found tutorials. When my in-laws told us that we could pick our b-day presents off of Dell.com and I saw Photo Shop Elements I knew exactly what I wanted. I got it, started downloading kits and checking out other sites and more tutorials…..and eventually that lead me to where I am now!!!!

So far I’ve gotten many more ppl interested in digital scrapping for themselves than I have customers, but you know what? I’m totally fine with that. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love showing people this amazing new hobby that’s so much fun without being hard or ridiculously expensive. If in the end my business end up in me “teaching” more people about the joys of digital scrapping than ever making a bunch of money off of it, I’ll still feel it was worth all my effort!!!

4 Years

Last Wednesday Bob and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. That sounds like such a long time to me!!! Of course I realize that it’s just the tip of the iceberg for the amount of time we will eventually be married (my mom-in-law referred to us as “newlyweds” lol, thought we’d passed that mark already!!! But I guess to someone who’s been married 25+ years we would still qualify) but it still feels like an accomplishment! Especially considering the day and age we live in. It is absolutely unbelievable and shockingly sad to me that at 23 years of age, I already have 5 friends, all around my age, who are already divorced. ๐Ÿ™ How on earth is that possible??!! I’m so thankful to have been raised in a Christian home where I was taught the true meaning of love and that for better or worse means just that. It doesn’t mean “for better….and definitely not worse because boy if it gets bad I’m outta here buddy!!!!” Of course, I know that for several of my friends they were put in situations that they felt divorce was the only option for the safety of them and their children. How incredibly sad! I’m so very thankful for my Christian husband who loves me and Amber with his whole heart and is willing to serve his country and provide for us. He brought me roses, a sweet card, and Hershey’s kisses in a heart shaped bowl for a gift–such a smart, sweet hubby!!! Then to celebrate we went on a date last night–first one since Amber was born! It was long overdue and I think we both had a wonderful time. We saw a movie, which I enjoyed more than Bob but I think it was because he was too tired to follow the crazy plot line from having woken up at 3 am for work that morning, and then went out to dinner at The Channel Marker. It’s a local seafood place that’s a little on the “ritzier” side. Both of our dinners were delicious and it was so nice to have a conversation with my sweetie without a 1 year old yelling the entire time because she wasn’t the center of attention! ๐Ÿ™‚ We’re so thankful to our wonderful friends Nate and Lara for babysitting for us so we could have such a great night!

So as you can tell, we had a wonderful anniversary this year, and I’m looking forward to at least 50 more : )

All dressed up for our date!!!

Softball tournament

This past weekend we kept busy by going to Bob’s sofball tournament. (thankfully this year it wasn’t on my birthday ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Originally he was only going to be a back up hitter but due to a couple of guys dropping out, and a few others getting hurt, he ended up playing quite a bit. He did great!! Especially considering they didn’t have any practices before the tournament since everyone else on the team just finished playing in the city league. Since Amber isn’t quite as flexible with when and where she takes her naps these days she and I had to come up seperately and miss the first game both days. We got to stay for the rest though and we both had fun, although I spent more time chasing her around than actually watching I’m afraid!! Sunday night we got to go have a bbq to celebrate the teams 3rd place finish. It had been a looong time since I’d been to something like that and it was really nice to visit with other Coasties and Coastie wives. Amber was pretty worn out and Bob was so sore he couldn’t move on Monday–but it was a good weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚

All the guys at work call Bob “Stretch” it’s so funny to hear them hollering that at him! LoL ๐Ÿ™‚

New Years Resolutions…

So my New Years Resolutions this year were to start working out, start doing my devos on a more consistent basis, and to always strive to be a better wife and mom. I think I’ve done pretty good on all of those so far, except the first one!!!!!! Our life has just been so crazy this year up to this point that it just didn’t happen. Now things have slowed down a ton though, and I’ve run out of excuses as to why I’m not doing it!!! So this week I’ve started working out with the exercise DVDs I bought a looooong time ago. I did it today and Monday–Yey!!!!!!!!!!! LoL, I know, but it is a big deal for me because I hate working out, well mostly I just lack the motivation and discipline needed for it–baby steps people!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve actually lost all my baby weight (and then some–wahoo!!!!) because nursing just worked out wonderfully for me ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ but now that Amber’s totally and completely weaned I know I can’t keep eating like I do and not working out and expect all that weight to stay off…let alone lose anymore. I’m relatively happy with the weight range I’m in right now…would like to see 5-10 more lbs come off, but as long as I get toned that’s really my biggest concern. Also Amber’s finally sleeping through the night now YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (for now, haha) so I felt like I didn’t have that as an excuse anymore either. Plus I’d really love to have more energy so I feel like I can halfway keep up with my super active little girl!!! So anyways…I just wanted to blog about it because I know I’ll do better if I feel like I’m “accountable” to someone–even if it is just all of you out there in cyberspace ๐Ÿ˜‰ So here’s to me getting healthy!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜€