Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pizza Pizza

Today was one of those crappy days. It started off crappy, and it's ending crappy.

See, Livie woke up this morning, crying. She had a fever, a cold, and was just generally very unhappy.

While children's ibuprofen seemed to take the edge off her malaise, she still wasn't 100%. By the time Daddy got home around 5 PM, the ibuprofen had worn off, and she was back to being a very unhappy 4-year-old.

Well, by this time, we'd called the pediatrician's office to see what we needed to do. The nurse had us come in right away. Good thing they were opened until 7 PM today, right?

Guess what? On our way out the door, I saw that I had a text message. It was from my mom, stating that the family's Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Caesar, had died. I was shocked!

But I didn't have time to dwell on it because we had to hurry up and get to the pediatrician's office - the lab closed at 6:45 PM, and we needed to get a urine sample from Livie.

When we got there and Livie's pediatrician came in to check her out, we found out Liv has an ear infection. No fun!

And then she had to pee in a cup - normally something she finds to be very funny - and fun. Not today.

She has a UTI.

No wonder she's been miserable today. 

So on the way back, I called my mom to see what was up with Caesar. But she wouldn't talk to me, due to sadness. I tried my dad, who ended up telling me what had happened.

Bad, sad news. Apparently Caesar had gone into shock today, and when they got him to the vet's office, the doc thought Caesar had some sort of internal bleed. And according to my dad, the vet said Caesar "wasn't salvageable" and was put down.

I was somehow able to cry silently, thereby avoiding Livie's probing questions. However, my tears clung to my eyelashes, making my vision blurry. Not a good thing when you're driving, especially at night. So I wiped my eyes, and continued on.

But we had to get to the pharmacy to get her antibiotics. I was gonna go through the drive-thru, but Liv wanted to go in. Of course, that meant I had to face the pharmacist face-to-face, with red, swollen, teary eyes which gave me away, regardless of how hard I tried to sound cheery.

Ah, well. Maybe he thought I had a cold.

Anyway, we got back, and I immediately ran down to the guest bathroom where I burst into tears, and listened to my sobs actually echoing in the bathroom.

The funny thing is that I suddenly thought of a quote from the movie Gladiator: "I knew a man who once said, 'Death smiles at us all.' . . . All a man can do is smile back." Okay, so what I actually thought was, "All a dog can do is smile back."

Isn't it surprising, sometimes, what the mind comes up with upon hearing sad news?

So now, it's about half an hour past Livie's bedtime, and she's downstairs watching a movie while I type away on the computer. I really need to get her to bed. The last thing she needs while sick is for me to allow her to stay up late.

She still doesn't know about Caesar, though. I have to think of a way to tell her, but I don't want to do it now, not before bedtime. Hopefully I can think of a way to tell her tomorrow. Or before we head back to my parents' house, that house that now lacks our dear 4-legged companion.

But, first thing's first. Gotta get her to bed.

And let's start the clock - you know, because "time heals all wounds" and all.

Now, here are a couple photos of dear Caesar, whom I sometimes called Pizza Pizza (you know, like those old Li'l Caesar's pizza commercials). Or sometimes I'd call him Old Man, because he'd turned into one as the years went on.

This was taken earlier this year. He was on the patio out in front of my parents' house.

Here is Livie as she poses with Caesar over Thanksgiving weekend 2008.
She sometimes called him Sar-Sar. He loved her, and loved sitting next to her chair as she ate meals, because we all know how little kids accidentally drop food on the floor as they eat, right?

Sleep tight, Caesar. I'm so glad you're not in pain any more. Now, go run off and frolic with Foxy. And eat all the treats you want.

However, I miss you, old man.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - Shopping

This week's Memory Lane Friday topic is "Shopping." How fitting for "Black Friday," right?!

I've been wavering back and forth trying to pin down the shopping experience I wanted to write about this week. While I know it's "Black Friday," I couldn't come up with a seasonal anecdote.

So I finally decided to write about my shopping trip to pick out my wedding dress. Okay, so this shopping trip happened in the springtime, but the actual wedding happened during the holiday season (mid-December).

This was back in May 2002. I was stationed in Tucson, AZ at the time, and Andrew was in Fayetteville, NC. Andrew and I were planning on doing a justice of the peace ceremony in early summer, so we could get the marriage certificate and get orders to the same Air Force base at the same time.

That had to happen by the end of June at the very latest, or I'd get orders for who-knows-where. And Andrew? Well, he'd have to stay at his base for another couple years. And who knows if we'd ever make it to the same place at the same time.

But we were still planning for our church wedding, which, as of February 2002, had already been reserved for December 14th at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.

So here I was, in Tucson, with my bridesmaids were scattered all over the U.S. (Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Nevada). My mom? She was in Iowa.

Wondering where to start, my maid of honor suggested David's Bridal. The closest one to me was in Phoenix - nearly a 2 hour drive northwest.

So I called the 800 number to find out where exactly they were located, and to schedule an appointment. There were actually TWO of them in Phoenix. I was glad I called because I would've had no idea which one was closer to me. And I was able to get a Saturday appointment, late morning, so I'd have time to head up there and not have to rush.

The day of the appointment, I called to get directions off the interstate. Then I headed out.

I was excited and a bit nervous about picking out "The Dress." But I was also a little sad, disappointed, because none of my bridesmaids would be with me. That didn't discourage me, however. I was determined to have fun, regardless.

When I got there, I was a bit overwhelmed, but the sales associate I'd be working with was very good at listening to the ideas I had, and then helping me find styles that I'd like. I explained that I'd be getting married in Chicago in December, so that helped her figure out what look I was going for, and what kinds of dresses to help me find.

The first time I went in the dressing room, though, I realized that I had needed my bridesmaids - at least one of them - because there's a certain bridal undergarment that the sales associate gave me, and - well - you really need help putting it on.

But I signaled to her to please come in and help me with it. Then it was on to trying on dresses.

There was one that I absolutely LOVED. It had this long train with lace, sequins, and faux pearls. But . . . and of course, there's a but . . . it had sleeves I did NOT care for and the shoulders were way too poofy for me, so I had to say no.

I tried others, explaining what I loved about each dress, and what I didn't quite like.

Finally, I tried one on and thought, This is it. Okay, so the train was not quite as long as the other one I'd loved, but I nevertheless loved all the details of this particular dress.

 Here's the one I picked. (This is from the wedding day photo session).
© Brad Baskin – 2002

We then picked out a veil that matched - it had little rhinestones and faux pearls, just like the dress. And then the shoes (just white satin).

And to top it off, since I'd be getting married in December in Chicago, I picked out a white satin cape with faux fur trim. Check out this link to see what it looked like. And I also got the matching faux fur hand muff. All the sales associates were so excited to be able to see the cape and muff on an actual person! See, they were in Phoenix, so why would a bride need a bridal cape there? Right?

Anyway, since I was heading to the Boston area in a few months, I opted not to get it altered there in Phoenix. The associate let me know the closest store where I could get it altered once Andrew and I moved to Boston for our new assignment. It was in the Natick, MA store, by the way (the poor directions and my getting lost on my way to my first alterations appointment are details for another story).

Oh, and on my way out, I bought my dad a baseball-style cap in black, with white embroidering stating "Father of the Bride"! It was cute. I think he still has it.
 Here are two more views of the dress. First, the train (my dad's doing "the hand off"):
© Brad Baskin – 2002

And another view of the front:
© Brad Baskin – 2002

Okay, okay, so here's one more photo of a couple of my bridesmaids doing up my bustling. This was so I could walk around easily during the reception. 
© Brad Baskin – 2002

So yes, I was a little sad that I didn't have my friends with me while shopping for "The Dress" - I felt their absence most while in the dressing room alone AND when I was out in front of the mirrors looking at my final choice. 

But I have to say it was a good adventure after all, and a nice way to remember my first trip to Phoenix.

Please click on the box below to read the rest of this week's Memory Lane Friday posts.
Memory Lane Friday is hosted by Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - A Memory You are Thankful For

This week's Memory Lane Friday topic is "A Memory You are Thankful For," just in time for Thanksgiving.

Anyway, I think that since we're looking forward to Thanksgiving, I will write about the last Thanksgiving I spent with both my grandparents in El Paso, TX.

Back in 2006, when Andrew and I were still on active duty, we were stationed in southern New Mexico. Since Andrew had come back from his deployment at the beginning of October, we were fortunate to have him with us for Thanksgiving '06.

Since my grandparents were only about a 70 minute drive south of us, we decided to celebrate the holiday with them in El Paso. My Uncle Hector would be there, too.

We were really looking forward to spending the holiday with my family, since my grandparents always enjoyed the company, and Oma's house . . . okay, her kitchen . . . was always such an inviting, cozy place to spend the holiday. Plus, Oma's stuffing is absolutely delicious. It is famous. Though I've had delicious stuffing in the past, I've never had stuffing better than Oma's. Maybe it's simply because it's my grandmother's stuffing, and the one we almost always had when I was growing up. But it's the one I think of when I imagine digging into a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal.

*In another post, I'll have to write about the year my mom tried a new stuffing recipe at Thanksgiving; maybe I'll write about it in a few days.*

Anyway, sometime before Thanksgiving 2006, a special advertising by the Officers' and Enlisted Clubs on base caught my eye.You could order a fully cooked, traditional Thanksgiving meal - from the roasted turkey, to the stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad, rolls, and your choice of a pie (either pumpkin or apple, if I remember correctly).

I don't remember how it worked exactly. You just had to call the club to pre-order the meal and give a credit card number. The order had to be in by a certain date, obviously, so that the Clubs' kitchens could order enough ingredients and have the time to prepare everything.

But as far as having enough food for the number of guests in your party, I don't remember the details . . . I think you just had to tell them the number of people you needed to serve and they'd ensure they'd package enough food in your order and charge accordingly? Something like that.

Then you could pick up the meal on Wednesday, or between a certain time period on Thursday (like, between 10:00 AM and noon or 1:00 PM or something, so everyone could be home with their families by Thanksgiving afternoon).

Well you can probably see why the advertisement caught my eye. 1.) I didn't want Oma to have all the stress of cooking a full Thanksgiving meal for all of us (there'd be 7 at her house for Thanksgiving dinner), and 2.) Livie would be 9-months-old at the time, so I knew I wouldn't be able to give 100% of my energy and attention to helping prepare the meal.

So I decided to order the meal for us (sometime at the beginning of November, I think), and I called Oma to tell her we'd be providing the whole meal. But I told her she could prepare her famous stuffing and any other side dishes she so desired (sweet potatoes, an additional salad and desserts, for example). I knew she'd feel like she HAD to prepare something, so a side dish or two would be plenty for her (especially since Hector would be there to help).

Okay, so I didn't exactly think of how to transport the whole meal to my grandparents' but somehow I knew we'd make it work. 

Fast forward a couple weeks to Wednesday of Thanksgiving week. When I ordered the meal, I said I'd pick it up on Wednesday afternoon after work. Andrew picked it up while I picked up Livie. Then we headed home to put it all in the fridge.

The next morning, we got up and got ready to head to El Paso. We had those insulated bags that keep foods either hot or cold for something like 3-4 hours at one time, and we had a couple coolers. We packed up the foods in the bags and coolers, packing lots of blue ice in each so the food would stay safe. Andrew got the food and our overnight bags into the car, and I got Livie ready to go. Packing and transportation of the food actually did work, much to my relief!

Then we were off.

When we got to my grandparents' house, all we had to do was heat up the food and then sit down to eat. While the oven was preheating, Andrew brought in the overnight bags, and I helped bring in the food, while Hector gladly entertained Livie.

The turkey and stuffing went into the oven to heat up. Mashed potatoes, gravy, and similar items went into the microwave to heat up.

Within minutes, the kitchen smelled just like Thanksgiving. It smelled like home. It WAS home.

We were all looking forward to eating. In the house were Oma, Sir Rafa, Hector, NanĂ¡, Andrew, Livie, and me.

We finally sat down to our meal (after about 30 minutes of prep). It was good. And I was able to tell Oma and Sir Rafa that I was able to eat an Officers' Club meal with them. (I'd once promised them I'd take them to the Officers' Club for a meal, but due to one reason or another, I wasn't able to do that. This was the next best thing.)
Here are a few of the photos captured on Thanksgiving 2006.

Daddy and Livie are in Oma's kitchen. We were waiting for dinner to heat up.
I was asking Livie "What's going on?" And she was doing the "I dunno!" pose. 

Okay, there's the little smile.
There are a couple goose magnets on Oma's fridge. Livie loved them, so when we left New Mexico, Oma sent one of them with us. We have it on our current fridge.

Oma's holding her great-granddaughter on Friday.

Sir Rafa and Hector were relaxing on Friday.
I'm thankful for having this photo; I miss both of them.

Daddy and Livie are in Oma's guest room; there was a double bed and a crib in here, so this is where the three of us stayed. Looks like Livie just got a bottle.
I'm not sure what's so funny, but Livie seems to be laughing hysterically.

Well, I'm certainly thankful for this Thanksgiving memory. It was the last Thanksgiving Andrew, Livie, Hector and I had together in El Paso with both my grandparents. It was the last Thanksgiving I spent with my grandfather before he passed away, and one of the last Thanksgiving dinners we spent with Hector.

And now I'm hungry for Thanksgiving dinner. I can't wait! 

Please click on the box to read the rest of this week's Memory Lane Friday posts.
Memory Lane Friday is hosted by Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs. 
Come back next week when the topic is "Shopping."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hey, I remember that hat!

Last year, my uncle Hector was in Iowa visiting over the holidays. He, Andrew, and I went to the mall one afternoon, a place I can't stand visiting this time of year, even if it is the really nice one (Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines). 

I can't remember why we ended up at the mall, but there we were and in we walked. Even though it was really crazy, as nearly all malls are during the holidays, we had fun spending some time together.

We happened to be on the second floor of Jordan Creek at one point and passed by the Whipp Trading Company kiosk. They've got these great, fuzzy, warm items for sale there - moccasins, slippers, hats, mittens, stuff like that. My brother Joe once got me the BEST mittens from there. I still have them; they are SO warm, by the way.

Anyway, my uncle had recently bought a "trooper hat" which we'd actually been calling a "Russian" hat - something like this Soviet Ushanka type hat (just click on the link to see the photo). He wanted something to keep him warm outside during an Albuquerque winter and he figured one of these "Russian" hats would do the trick, right?

Well, just days after buying his from somewhere else (I forget where), we were walking in the mall and see the Whipp Trading Company's "sheepskin trooper hats" looking super warm. While agreeing that this hat would keep him warm in the harshest Iowa winter, he decided he'd just go ahead and keep the hat he'd recently bought, because, well . . . Albuquerque's worst winter weather probably wouldn't be quite so bad as what Iowa dished out.

That, and he'd already cut the tag off the one he just bought.

I was thinking of that hat because last weekend, Andrew, Livie, and I passed the same Whipp Trading Company kiosk, and those same hats. It made me think of my uncle. And now that the sunlight is casting its weak golden light into long shadows, I was getting that old, familiar saudade feeling again. No better time to reminisce than when saudade hits, right?

Anyway, since I paraphrased a line from the movie Desperado earlier in this post, I thought I'd end with one of the movie's songs, one that my uncle liked singing along with - the opening song where Antonio Banderas is playing the guitar and singing.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - Something You Hated

This week's Memory Lane Friday topic is "Something You Hated."

And you know what? There was one thing that immediately popped into my mind from when I was still in grade school (sometime in the early to mid '80s).

Lentil soup.

I don't know what it was about lentil soup, but I couldn't stand it. I would cringe, make a face, feel queasy, when my mom would say we were having lentil soup for dinner. Ugh. I hated (and still hate) coconut. But for some reason, lentil soup was even WORSE than coconut. Blech.

I don't know if it was the "You WILL eat it - every single bite of it" and not the "Just try it" aspect that made me dislike it so much, or if it was the actual taste of the stuff.

But I was definitely filled with horror when I found out that was on the menu for dinner that night.

I think I used to try sneaking something else for dinner, whether it was a bowl of cereal, or a PB & J, or something - anything - different. I would definitely try to get something different.

One night, that didn't happen, though.

My dad had gotten home early that night, and was actually planning on sitting down to dinner with me and my siblings.

Of course, that put a wrench in my plans to sneakily get myself something else, right?

Well, when we were all at the table, served, I mumbled something like, "I'd rather eat dog food."

Guess who heard me?

Yep, my dad.

And guess what happened next?

He got mad, obviously. He got a bowl and led me to the enclosed porch where we kept our German Shepherd, Toby's food.

He had me scoop some of the dry kibble into the bowl and take it back to the kitchen.

I sat down with the bowl of kibble in front of me.

He was smiling, thinking that at this point, I'd go ahead and eat the lentil soup.

However, he didn't count on how stubborn I'd be.

Instead of reaching for my spoon and eating the lentil soup, I picked up a little piece of dog food, put it in my mouth, and started chewing.

Boy, was that gross! It was DISGUSTING!

Not realizing I'd actually go through with that, my dad stood there, flabbergasted.

Know what he did next?

After picking his jaw up off the floor, and finding his tongue, he threw up his hands and said something to the effect of, "I don't care. Eat whatever you want." (But I think it may have been laced with some bad words.)

I immediately went and brushed my teeth. Then I headed back to the kitchen for something completely different. A sandwich? A bowl of cereal? Leftovers from the day before? A bowl of lentil soup - FINALLY? I really don't remember.

Let's just say I couldn't believe how stubborn I was.

Now what do I think of lentil soup? I'll eat it, but I always remember of that evening if I do eat it.

Here's our dog, Toby, by the way.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A "Thank You" on Veterans' Day

This morning, Andrew, Livie, and I went to our local Hy-Vee grocery store for our free Veterans' Day breakfast. They have this "cafeteria" inside, and every Veterans' Day since we moved here, they have this free breakfast for veterans on November 11th.

Although we've been here for a couple years already, this is the first veterans' breakfast we attended.

I first want to say "Thank you" to Hy-Vee for providing this breakfast every year. And I want to also say an extra "Thanks!" because this morning, they gave us Livie's breakfast for free, too.

Secondly, I appreciate all the "Thank yous" I got from other diners. I feel overwhelmed by their gratitude, but I also feel other veterans deserve the thanks more than I, like I didn't do enough to earn the thanks. Sounds silly, but it simply feels to me like I didn't do enough.

I did, however, especially enjoy chatting with other veterans at my table, and their spouses, too. When we got to Hy-Vee around 7:30 this morning, it was PACKED! We first checked in, where Andrew and I got name tags (the rectangular sticker kind), where the check-in lady wrote our first names and branch of service, along with a red, white, and blue VETERAN sticker.

Livie got a name tag sticker, too.

She even wore her little Air Force jacket, which got her some fun comments and even a high-five. 

Here she is, posing in her Air Force jacket.

(These photos were taken a couple months ago.)

 We then got in line. When we got to the front, the server greeted us by name and served us. I got eggs and bacon, and Livie got pancakes and bacon. Andrew got something (eggs and bacon, maybe?) in a box.

Once we got our breakfast and sat down, Andrew sat with Livie while I got my coffee, a glass of ice water, utensils, napkins, etc. Then, when I was settled, Livie and I did our usual "Bye-bye, Daddy! See you at dinner, Daddy! We love you, Daddy!" before he took off for work.

So . . . since Andrew took his breakfast to-go, Livie and I were at our table by ourselves. That is, until another veteran (Army) and his wife joined us a few minutes later.

They were asking me about the Air Force, about my experiences, and seemed to have a lot of fun talking to a "new" veteran. The husband seemed to really enjoy telling me about his Army experiences.

Anyway, during those moments when we weren't talking - as we ate our breakfast - my mind wandered and I thought about certain members of my family . . . those who deserve the Veterans' Day "thanks" more than I do. I've been thinking about them all morning.

First of all, there's my grandfather, Sir Rafa, an Army veteran, who led by example and inspired me to join the military. He never hinted to me that I should go into the military . . . it was only after I'd made the decision, did he make his opinion known, simply telling me that I should pick Air Force (which I did).

He also told me stories from his Army days - the kind of stories with the lessons hidden in them, like: always make sure you take care of your feet (have dry socks, and change out of your wet socks as soon as you have the chance) . . . pay attention - listening will help you learn things . . . common sense is important . . . that kind of thing.

Sgt (E-5) R. Q. Torres (USA)
Thank you, Sir Rafa, for your selfless service. You joined the Army willingly, giving everything you had, even suffering serious injuries overseas in WW II before coming home. Sir Rafa, you always told me about all your experiences as though they were grand adventures to be remembered. My Grandfather, you are honored.

Then there's my dad, another Army veteran. I don't have a photo of him in uniform, but I do have one from just before he started his Army ROTC courses.

Approximately 17 years old, circa 1958.

My dad's Army stories had a different flavor than my grandfather's. Their experiences were vastly different. But, while his stories were fun and adventurous (like what he did while on an exercise, as they set up their bivouac), there were still lessons embedded (take a chance, follow what your gut tells you, etc), whether he realized it or not.

I ended up asking him to administer my commissioning oath when I graduated from OTS, because his service was also an influence on me.

19 Nov 1999
So to my dad, I send a "Thank you" on this Veterans' Day, for his service and for his administering my oath, the very same one he took when he was commissioned in the Army.

To the rest of the veterans in my family, a big "Thank you," too! The list: Uncle Chino (Sir Rafa's brother), Uncle Ralph, Uncle Hector, Andrew, and my father-in-law, Harry.

Uncle Chino (USA) is on the right. Sir Rafa and Andrew are obviously posing with him.

Here's my Great-Uncle Joe (USN), with Oma.

Here's my Uncle Hector (USA) - looks like he was an E-1 when this photo was taken.

Here's my Uncle Ralph (USA) - can't see what his rank is in this photo.

Here's Andrew's dad, retired SMSgt Heilmann (USAF).

And here's Andrew (USAF).

Anyway, this is my long-winded, well-deserved "Thank you" to the veterans in my family, as well as all veterans, everywhere.  And again, a "Thank you" to Hy-Vee.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Memory Lane Friday - No Theme

This week's Memory Lane Friday is another "No Theme" week. So what am I going to write about? Well, I sure had to think about it this week.

I ended up deciding to write about one of my favorite places, and the adventures I had there - the Southwest in general, and New Mexico in particular.

When Andrew and I were stationed in southern New Mexico, we tried to do a lot of fun things with Livie. And when Abuelita would visit, sometimes she would babysit so Andrew and I would do what Livie now calls "Mommy and Daddy adventures."

So one time, just before Livie's second birthday, Andrew and I decided to take her to White Sands National Monument.

I'd been there plenty of times, but neither Andrew nor Livie had been there. I was trying to tell Andrew that the sand was so white, it was like snow. He'd seen photos of it, but it's never the same as seeing it in person. So off we went.

Of course, Livie fell asleep during the 15-20 minute ride from our house. She slept when we pulled into the White Sands area, and stayed asleep while we slowly drove around enjoying the scenery.

At some point, I found a place to park so I could get out and take photos (like the one above). I found out it was really windy that day, so I figured that it was alright that Livie slept; I was afraid she'd get sand blown into her eyes, nose, or mouth.

I did get a photo of her with the stunningly white sands outside the window. It's so glaringly white, it almost looks like the after-effects of a blizzard, doesn't it?
She had one of those half-moon "pillows" so her head wouldn't bob around while she was asleep. We were just about ready to leave when she woke up and smiled at me.

Another fun memory of New Mexico was when we'd take trips to Mesilla. Click here to read about our favorite restaurant in Mesilla: Memory Lane Friday - A Restaurant.

And then there was the time my mom babysat Livie for about 24 hours, just after Andrew got home from his 120+ day deployment to the middle east. This was when Andrew and I went on the first of our "Mommy and Daddy adventures" - we'd headed to Santa Fe to spend the night in a great inn. Read about our experience by clicking here.

There was one other time in the Southwest that I remember fondly - the time I really appreciated having an extra set of helping hands.

Andrew, Livie, and I still lived in New Mexico, and were in El Paso at my grandparents' house for the weekend. It was right around the time we'd celebrated our 4th anniversary.

My uncle Hector was visiting at the same time. Andrew and I always enjoyed having lengthy conversations with him over cold bottles of beer - we'd talk about books, movies, history, grad school . . . you name it.

Plus, he was really good at entertaining baby Livie (about 10-months-old at the time). He could always get her to smile or laugh, always enjoying being on the floor with her, keeping her company.While Andrew was deployed, he was always willing to babysit Livie if I needed to run an errand or two.

This photo of Livie and Uncle Hector was taken over a 3-day weekend (Veterans' Day), when Andrew, Livie, and I visited my grandparents' house.

Well, during our mid-December visit, after realizing Andrew and I had just celebrated our anniversary, Hector offered to babysit baby Livie for the evening so Andrew and I could go out for dinner to celebrate.

When the time was right, I gave Livie a bath, got her pajamas on, nursed her, and put her down for the night. Then I made sure there were a couple bottles on hand (just in case). After handing the baby monitor to Hector and letting him know about the bottles plus the location of the diapers and wipes, Andrew and I headed out.

Andrew and I went to the Olive Garden near Cielo Vista Mall (in the parking lot, actually) in El Paso. I think I had the cheese ravioli. I don't know what Andrew had. And I had a margarita! It was all soooo good. I'm not sure it was the food or the fact that we had a couple hours alone to leisurely eat a meal, uninterrupted.

When we got back, Hector said Livie had slept soundly the whole time. I think he may have peeked at her once, and she was just fine.

It was such a nice treat that Hector had given us, those couple hours to enjoy a meal.

Please come back next week, when the topic will be "Something You Hated."

Don't forget to click on the button below to read the rest of this week's Memory Lane Friday posts.
Memory Lane Friday is sponsored by Two Bears Farm and the Three Cubs.
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