Friday, December 09, 2011

Early Christmas Gift

I received the best Christmas gift I can recall of my life this week. And it's still more than two weeks until the big day!

A little background... one of my all time favorite Christmas traditions is completely engrossing myself in Christmas music for the entire month of December. If I'm home, it's on. I just love the way it lifts up my mood and makes me feel warm and loving inside. Around here, my girls have started to love the tradition as well. So earlier this week, we are cozying up on the couch after I've picked up Natalie from school. We are all reading various things, listening to Christmas tunes and Natalie looks up at me and says:

"Mom, you know what's better than Christmas"

Being in a good mood, I start joking: "homework?"


"Cleaning your room?"

"No!" she laughs. Then looks me in the eye and says


Wow. It took my breath away and then I cried. And hugged her. And that... is the meaning of Christmas. Spreading pure joy.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I just got home from Natale's school where she received an award for showing Respect. This is the second year in a row Natalie has received this award and I am so proud of her! The school has a Character program where each month the kids learn about a different character (respect, gratitude, compassion, etc.). Every month, the teachers pick a student from their class who has best show the character trait for that month. So proud and happy for Natalie!

Enjoying the post ceremony treats. 

Thursday, June 09, 2011

So Proud.

Tomorrow is Natalie's last day of Kindergarten. This first official year of school went by so fast. She seemed so young and innocent back in September... I can't believe how much she has grown and matured this year. Her teacher, who was just awesome, made a memory book for each child, which has samples of their writing and drawing and photos from the beginning of the year until now. It is priceless. A clear picture of exactly how much learning has gone on this year.

And... we are so proud, Natalie got the award for most improved reading! I don't know what her level was at the beginning of the year, but she ended Kindergarten reading at the end of 1st grade level. Looks like she's going to be a bookworm just like her mom and grandma!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thursday, May 05, 2011

just a smidge

As mother's day approaches, I find myself thinking about my own childhood and my mom. And how in some ways I am so similar, and others so different. Then I find myself looking at Natalie and trying to figure out how she is like my mom... and I'm reminded of the word she picked up from Grandma on our visit last summer.


I love this word. It is so cute and descriptive. I remember we were sitting at my moms kitchen table, which strangely enough sits on carpet, and my mom saying "just a smidge" about something. I don't remember if it was about spreading butter on bread, or having a second helping, but I do remember her saying it. Why? Because for months after, Natalie would request "just a smidge more of milk" or oatmeal. Or just a smidge more of syrup. Or just a "smidge" more of anything. But the smidge stuck. And every time she says it, it makes me smile. It's like this little connection Natalie and my mom have, and that makes me happy.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Yee Haw!

When I was a little girl, we used to spend a week at Rankin Ranch every year. It's an ideal place to spend a family vacation. As kids, we'd ride horses, swim, put on a talent show, have dessert every day, go on nature hikes and get to play with all the other kids there. I absolutely loved it growing up. Now as a parent, I can see why my folks liked it so much too. You totally get to unwind with your family. There is a kids club with a counselor so your kids can have fun while you go on an adult horse ride, or lounge by the pool, or enjoy the nightly happy hour.

There are no telephones, TV, or any communication with the outside world. Just quality family time. Oh the stories I could tell... the family jokes, the kids we met, the families my parents have gotten to know over the years.

My parents still go every year, and they took the whole family back about five years ago, when Natalie was an infant. They are going with my brother and his family this year, and I'm looking forward to when both girls are old enough to ride horses so we can join them. Until then, they are practicing! See below...

Giddy up!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Feng Shui July 2011

I found this interesting and given our current housing situation/decisions to make, we could use a bit of luck at the moment. Dean really got me into Feng Shui when we first met, so here goes:

July 2011 Calendar

This year, July has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. This happens once every 823 years. This is called money bags. So, forward this to your friends and money will arrive within 4 days. Based on Chinese Feng Shui the one who does not forward.....will be without money. Not taking any chance!

Here's to a good July to all!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Katherine's "Story"

Awhile back I bought the 3-6 year old version of "The Dinner Game" to play while eating dinner at the table. It's basically a series of cards that have an activity ranging from I spy type games, to story telling to question and answers. It's a great way to start conversations and always fun to hear what the kids come up with.

We ebb and flow with this... and lately we've been playing it a lot. It's fun, but it can also draw out dinner forever, which is tough on weeknights. Natalie absolutely loves it, begs to play. So of course we use the "if you eat all your broccoli, you can play 3 cards" and she actually will willingly eat almost anything to get a card. Really! Katherine is starting to get into it too, and here is her story she had to tell tonight. I put several items in a bag and each person had to pull one out and make up a story about it. Here is Katherine's:

and the story continuing with Natalie's "help".

Not that you can tell from the story, but the item Katherine pulled out was a little kaleidoscope.

If you're interested, here it is:
There is also another one for older kids, which I'll probably get in a couple years.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Looks like Natalie has been thinking about her cousins lately. So sweet.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Being of Irish descent... we tend to go all out on St. Patrick's Day. A couple years ago we threw a huge St. Patrick's Day party at our place with kids and parents in tow. Everyone had a blast. It reminded me of the great 4th of July parties we used to go to at the Stollers every year. As a kid we'd run around playing with a bunch of kids, swimming and eating the red, white and blue ice cream. I'm sure the adults enjoyed a special beverage or two, there was croquet and just a ton of fun. So I wanted to recreate a family fun party for everyone... juice boxes for the kids and beers for the parents!

We got thrown out of the circuit while I was pregnant and then surviving the infant stage, but I think we'll have to bring it back next year. I'm a big believer in hosting an annual party, where friends continue to come year after year. I used to do this in San Francisco for my friends and I want to continue the tradition, family style now that we have kids. So clear your calendars for next year!

While we aren't throwing the green party this year, we are still celebrating. We started our day out with these:

Last night, Dean helped Natalie make her Leprechan trap for school. I think they did a great job! Kudos to daddy bringing out the crafty side.

And today Natalie was all ready for her St. Patrick's Day extravaganza at school. I must say, she is adorable, that one.

And when she gets home, I'm going to surprise the girls with homemade green shamrock shakes. What's not to love about that?

A Happy St. Patrick's Day to all!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Okay, so it really was yesterday... I'm a day late as usual. Natalie's kindergarten class has been reading Dr. Seuss books for the past week, making Cat in the Hat hats and the like so I decided to give green eggs and ham a try. Natalie was on to me right away "mom, this looks like spinach". So instead of answering, I said it's the same green eggs that Sam I Am eats, try it. She did and liked it. Katherine however, refused to even take a bite (like most things these days, SIGH) so she had the usual substitue: tofu w/ cinnamon sprinkled on top.

And this is the hat Natalie wore to school as well. A fun day for a great writer!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Welcome 2011!

Okay, this really isn't my new year's post, though it should be. I do intend to blog more this year, as I've realized I have already forgotten so much of Natalie's early years, when I re-read this blog. I don't want to forget Katherine's too, so I must record. I'm am going to attempt to post weekly at a minimum, and hopefully even more than that. Stay tuned!

Today's big event of note... Katherine pee'd on the potty for the first time!! She was doing a "naked dash" as the girls love to before showering... this is a run around the house naked right before they jump into the shower. They love this and laugh, scream and giggle the whole time. I love it too. I love the way they think it's so fun, running around naked and just revel in the freedom of it. I know this innocence is fleeting and I try to foster and enjoy every moment of it while it lasts.

So, after said "naked dash", Katherine said she wanted to sit on the potty. We have a cute little kid one on the floor that she's been sitting on for the past month while Natalie is on the potty. But tonight was the first night she actually went. We made a HUGE deal of it, clapping and cheering, and I told her she could wear princess underpants as soon as she did a whole day of peeing on the potty. So we'll see where that goes. I hadn't planned on potty training yet, as honestly, I hated potty training Natalie. We went through two failures and a near third, before she was successful. And mostly it was due to my impatience. While I eagerly look forward to Katherine being potty trained, I dread the training itself. But, looks like I need to get ready, so I am hoping the second time around, with more realistic expectations it will go much better. But for now, I'm celebrating the first time and very proud of my little gal.