Saturday, May 31, 2008


I've entered into my Yahoo Calendar all sorts of things that are offered in this area for the summer. As soon as we figure out what camps etc. that Gabe wants to participate in, I'll delete some of these things off of it. The local library has tons of things for the kids to do as well.

If any of you local gals want to see this calendar, just give me a buzz....

And I've already decided that we'll spend a week here and a week there (or more) in Louisiana at Phil's parents house. That way, I can visit with my family too and take Gabe around Louisiana and show him around the state (so that he can know what LA is all about). Phil's parents, and his brother have already offered help and places to stay. It will be nice for everyone involved to be able to spend time together. And Gabe is looking forward to ghost tours, antebellum home tours, swamp tours, etc.

I'm just trying to keep us busy and look at the bright side of life; maybe things won't be too bad after all.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Gotta LOVE the Army!

Because of an error in communication, we found out yesterday that Phillip was put on an advanced list for deployment. This list was made about a month ago. He will leave soon...VERY SOON. And so that to-do list that I mentioned in the post before this one, is gonna have to be completed quickly.

Please keep the Lopez family (Phillip especially), our friends who are going to the Sandbox with him, and myself, Gabe and Sarah in your thoughts and prayers. 12-15 months is way too long to be separated from the ones you love.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Here's what's going on at Casa de Lopez:

  • Gabe is going to graduate from kindergarten next Monday. He's growing up way too fast!
  • Sarah is on a growth spurt. She's eating and sleeping A LOT! She's growing way too fast too!
  • I'm in the midst of planning what to do this summer to keep us busy after Phillip leaves. I've got a list; I just hope that it helps time go by faster.
  • Did I mention already that I HATE deployments? I know that hate is a strong word, but yes sir, I HATE deployments!!!
  • We also have a list of things for Phillip and I to complete before he goes. We are slowly getting things done.
  • Since our vacation a couple of weeks ago, I'm having a really hard time finding the motivation to do anything. I have a bad case of the "don't wants".
  • After our last car trip, we've decided that a mini-van might be in our future. We have lots of stuff to haul and the kids will have friends for us to cart around too, I'm sure.
  • I think the kids and I are going to the Dallas area in late July to watch the incredible David Beckham play some soccer. Whoooo hoooooooo!!!
  • The only good thing about deployments is that the extra money that comes in helps to pay off debts and add to savings. I'll need to focus on doing just that and getting our house ready to sell, because when Phillip returns, we will be ready to move somewhere....just wish I knew where.
  • If anyone around my area knows the name and number of a good handy-man, would you please pass it on to me? I'll soon have a list of things for him to do too.
  • Methinks it's time to change the look of this blog again....Sarah is not included at the top header....stay tuned.
I guess that's it for now....
Later Ya'll.

Friday, May 23, 2008

What Now?

I ask myself, "What will be next?".

When we got home on Sunday, we had a message on the machine from some lady named Mary at the doctor's office Lab. I wondered why SHE would be calling instead of the doctor and why we would even need a doctor to call....we weren't waiting for any Lab results on anything.

I finally talk to her yesterday. Somehow, Sarah's PKU Test got lost in transit from the hospital to the State. When Phillip heard what the call was about, he was none too happy and neither was I. If you don't remember, those tests hurt....A LOT. Anyway, Mary asked me to bring her back in to re-test and so, we did that today and Sarah handled it like a champ. She didn't even flinch when she got poked on the foot, but got a little mad when we tried "milking" her little leg to get enough blood out of her to complete the test. Meanwhile, I had a box of tissue ready to catch my tears for just in case she DIDN'T handle things so well.

So this is the third thing we've had trouble with involving Ms. Sarah. First, it was the hospital forgetting the "H" on Sarah for the Birth Certificate, and so we had to go down to Austin to get that fixed...Second, we had to get her Social Security card changed after we got the proper spelling on her certificate changed (but first we needed a doctor's note or Baptismal Certificate to show proof of life....[Don't ask me why a Birth Certificate is not enough]), and now this.....

"What's next?", I ask ya.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

And now, we come to an end.

Gabe requested that we take pictures of oil rigs out in the Gulf for him. So while I was getting ready for dinner on Friday night, I saw through our cabin window that there were some out there. Phillip ran up to another deck to take some shots for him.

Sunset at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

People up above us watching as we enter the mouth of the river. It was around 7:30 in the evening when we got to that point.

I was surprised that it took close to 8 hours to make it from the Port of New Orleans to the mouth when we embarked. I'm not really sure how long it took for us to get back to the port that night. Let me tell you, those bends and curves in the river will definetly give you a pair of sea legs!


I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Oh, and good news...Sarah started sleeping through the night while we were gone! Yipppeeeeeeeeeee!!!

More of somewhere in the middle...

Below are photos taken at Chankanaab National Park in Cozumel. We decided to spend a little more money to have fun playing with a dolphin. You could actually pay A LOT more money and swim with them; we thought that spending that kind of money would not be wise. We learned how to give hand signals to get a kiss and vice versa, etc. etc.

Our dolphin, Tatich, fetched Phillip's sunglasses out of the water and brought them back to him.
I sat here while Phillip snorkeled for a while. The view and the water was beautiful! I could have stayed right there with a book forever.

After we left Chankanaab, we went back to the boat to change into dry clothes and then we shopped.

Below are pictures of us leaving the Port of Cozumel...

and the Mexican military circling the ship.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Somewhere in the middle...Part Two

The following are pictures taken at Chichen Itza, which is about 2 1/2 hours from Progresso one way and about the same amount of drive time from Cancun another way; basically, it's somewhere out in the middle of nowhere.

Back in the year 1997, about two weeks before I met Phillip, I visited Chichen Itza and was able to climb El Castillo (above). You can't climb it anymore, since a woman from California fell off and died a couple of years ago. Let me tell's very steep and it took me about 30 minutes to work up the nerve to climb back down on my bottom like toddlers sometimes do to get down stairs. I was sore for days after from all the walking and climbing I did that day. I was a bit relieved that I wouldn't have to climb it again (I knew Phillip would have wanted me to go with him), but a little disappointed at the same time; the view at the top is amazing!

It is now one of the new 7 Wonders of the World. I have better pictures of El Castillo, but I included this one because of the man in the right hand corner. I think it's kinda neat that he was carrying his stuff supported by his head. Hey, I am easily amused.

A skull on the mortuary.

I forgot how many people in Mexico are out selling stuff. It's ridiculous!

This is the ball court. The umpire would sit in the hut on top, and sometimes the King would sit there so he could listen to town gossip below. The ring you see was used like a basketball hoop.

This was our tour guide. His name was Ignatio, but likes to be called Nacho. He was very informative, and proud of his Mayan heritage; he had lots of cool stories to tell. And the little lady next to him was shorter than I am!


I honestly don't remember what this was, but I remember that the throne lookin' thing in the middle (at the top of the stairs) would hold a human heart sacrifice to the gods.

The underside of an awning on a building; one of the few places that you can see the original painting and colors used by the Mayans to decorate their buildings and temples.

There's lots I that I could tell you about the place if I could remember the whole story of it all. The Mayans were some pretty cool people. Oh and if you ever get bored and feel like researching something, look up the date December 21, 2012. According to the very complex Mayan calendar, the world will end on that day.

Somewhere in the middle...

A couple of my friends really have a natural talent for photo-
graphy, and this picture is nowhere near what they could have done with the type of equipment they own.

This happened on the morning that we got to Progresso, Mexico; my lens fogged up going from the air conditioned ship to the somewhat warm and humid outdoors.

Kinda neat, eh?

On the left is the ship that we were on, the Carnival Fantasy and to the right is it's sister ship, the Ecstasy, which sails out of Galveston, Texas on the same itinerary.

Oh, and if you are active military, you can get a great discount by calling the cruise line directly to make your reservation. We were able to choose any cabin that we wanted on any deck of the ship (within our price class). It might be something to think about for
R & R...

Monday, May 19, 2008

From the beginning...

On the Friday before we set sail, we packed up the car, drove to Flint, TX, spent the night at Angie's house (Phil's sister) and then took off for New Orleans later that morning. It was hard to say good-bye to the kids, but we knew they would be in good hands; Gabe had his cousins, Na-Nan, and Pa-Paw, & Ya-Ya to play with for the week...and Sarah would not have to beg for attention either.

Phil walking along the Moonwalk towards the French Quarter.

We were hoping to get some beignets, but Cafe du Monde was packed. We met up with Phillip's brother to spend the day with him and he took us around town so that we could see some of the damage that Hurricane Katrina did to the city. Wow! Phillip plans to finally right a blog entry on his own blog on that one (stay tuned, folks!). We got some really interesting pictures of the devastation. After the tour of the city, we stopped at several places for lunch, beer, coffee; in that order.

This guy is Forest Whitaker. I read in a magazine that he was in town filming a movie called Patriots. We were at a CC's Coffee House on Magazine Street with Phil's brother, Greg, when he walked up and took the table right next to us. I wasn't too sure if it was him; I'm not the movie buff that Phillip is, but I did see that he had scripts with him. I was about to pull a Jennifer (Love you lots, Mrs. Nesrsta!) and ask him if he was indeed, THE Forest Whitaker, when Greg made the comment that the reason why celebrities love New Orleans so much is because the locals don't bother them. we decided we'd sneak a photo or two of him instead. Note the coffee cup to the left (Good one, Phillip).

The perfect way to spend part of an Cooter Browns!

Okay, I'll only tell you this. Our lives completely changed after leaving this place a little less than seven years ago...and I wouldn't change a thing about it! Ha ha

Buy me ANYTHING from this jewelry store and I'll be your best least for a little while. Ha ha ha ha

If you can't tell by the links on this page, I love wikipedia! I'll post more pics of the trip tomorrow or maybe even later on today. Until then, ya'll have a good day!

Oh, and by the way...if anyone wants a great read, I suggest you check out the book 1 Dead in Attic by Chris Rose. It's a very interesting and entertaining book on life in New Orleans post-Katrina.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

We're Home!

We just got in. Did you miss me? Us?

We had a very nice time. I'll post a few pics later.

Remember when you were in school and you had a huge project to finish for the "A" grade that you wanted, but you were too overwhelmed with life and other studies to really concentrate on what you had to do to finish it? Well, sometimes it helped me to get away from that project for a while...take a break, and then go back and finish it with a new outlook. A new set of eyes.

That's what this vacation was for us. A much needed break. I speak for both Phillip and I.

I think that now, I can better tackle the next big projects at hand....the dreaded the Deployment and life in general.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Guess what our Moms are getting for Mother's Day...

Okay, so don't tell them. They're getting framed portraits of the kids together. I'm posting them now, because we're leaving this Friday to go out of town for a week and well....we're kinda excited about them. I might not get the chance to post anything else before we leave.

For Gabe, we took professional portraits at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Sarah turned the Big 3 this past weekend and Gabe just turned 6 years old, so we went down to Austin this weekend and had pictures made at Kiddie Kandids. I think they did a good job for studio pictures and the price that we paid. Don't you?

Maybe if my friend, Beth, has time in the near future, she can do some out-of-studio shots for me. (wink, wink)

Update on Sarah:

Those two little teeth hiding in her bottom gums still haven't popped through, but it doesn't seem to bother her. She is also going to sleep so much better in the evening (not much fighting it, if at all) and is sleeping in her crib across the house from our room, instead of in her bassinet in the corner of our room; guess I can take it down now. She is also talking quite a bit these days, and she has many interesting things to say according to her facial expressions. Her spitting up and acid reflux issue seems to be pretty much resolved; not much of that is going on these days, thank goodness. Just about everyone who sees her says something like "Look at those big blue eyes!" followed by "My, what big cheeks she has!". Basically, she's pink, plump, healthy and happy....and a major sweetheart.

Update on Gabe:

Gabe is enjoying being a big brother and still loves to help out with whatever he can. He's spending lots of time doing guy stuff with Dad these days, and even practices Dad's morning ritual of a sprinkle of cologne here and dab of armpit stuff there; he comes out and has me smell him (for approval and so I can tease him). According to what he tells me, I've figured out that he just might be the class know, the one guy in class that all the girls had crushes on. And yes, I'm bragging here. Gabe assures me that he DOES NOT want a girlfriend and he doesn't want one until he's in the sixth grade! He also reminds us on a regular basis that he is SIX YEARS OLD now. I love having him around...he's true entertainment. He has a great love of science and impresses us daily with his ability to spell words by sounding them out in his head. I've also decided that one project I'll start with him while Phillip is gone, is to introduce him to the great children's classic know, books like Huckleberry Finn, The Hobbit, etc.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Where did you learn to fly, kid?

"Flight Sim".

Sounds like a quote from a recent movie. Anyways, while the guys went to the Air Show in Temple, TX today, Sarah took a lesson from me in how to shop. (she's no good at locating the perfect purse yet, but I'll work with her)

I'm so glad that Gabe and his Daddy had some guy time; days like today are exactly what every little boy needs. Phillip said that the Dave Matthews look-alike that's sitting in front with Gabe even let him take the controls for a bit.....well, you know what I mean. And yes, he's learning quite well on Flight Sim. Hopefully, in a few years, his Daddy can really teach him how to fly!
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