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    2013 retrospective

    December 31st, 2013

    I’m really struggling to assess 2013. I find myself really regretting this year being over… but maybe not so much because it was such a great year, but because I’m finding myself opening the door to 2014 with a lot of trepidation. As I’m getting older the unknown behind the next corner is getting to me. Some of it is good. Some of it won’t be. It’s the latter that makes me anxious.

    The events of Oct. 28th rattled me perhaps much more than I’ve been able to admit. While it didn’t happen to MY family, it hit in my extended “chosen” family, and it’s been making me re-evaluate a lot. Who am I as a mother? What have I accomplished? What is out there that I still want to do? Just HOW MUCH do my children and husband mean to me? The idea of loss in my mind is tearing up a whole in my heart so big that I just can’t even handle facing that, and I fear 2014 because I don’t know what it will bring.

    Yet I look back on 2013 with so much positive:
    – G made huge strides in how much he’s grown and matured. HUGE! Graduating from therapy was a big milestone for me
    – S2 is such a little boy now, and builds like a maniac, while still loving and hugging like the best friend you’d want in life
    – G is doing so, SO well in pre-k at his new school
    – Zoe came into our lives with all her love for us
    – New jobs for both S and I
    – Our parents have been in good health
    – My little sister is getting married- Gma Piper passed away, and while this in of itself is NOT a positive event, her full life and all her loving family make me very thankful. I fully adopted Gma Piper as my grandmother too, and feel blessed to have gotten to know her too

    You gotta admit: it’s a little hard to leave that behind.

    So I guess with some trepidation, c’mon 2014.

    I leave you with photos of our last family session w/ Corinne McCombs. She did a pretty great job given that I made her work in full sun in the morning.

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    A new milestones: drop-off playdates

    December 29th, 2013

    G met up with his friend M from pre-school today. S called me a bit into their playdate to tell me G is going to have dinner at M’s house… alone, and they’ll drop him off afterward. Cool beans! Even though I had food in the crock-pot, S and I decided to go out for dinner, because dinner out with one kid is a bit easier than two ;p

    It kinda hit me, that we’re getting closer and closer every day to a whole new set of milestones: like drop off playdates. G already went out for dinner without us. So I guess this wasn’t too far off. I’m getting ready for sleep-overs.


    Hat and mittens

    December 28th, 2013

    S2 loves being “cozy”. Today he went to school in a short sleeved shirt. But have no fear: he was wearing a hat and mittens.

    The other day, he was so excited about his cozy duds that he even allowed me to photograph him wearing them. I haven’t done a quick photoshoot with him in our living room since he turned two and I tormented him monthly with the stickered onesies. Ah, the good old days!

    Oh — that last one? That apparently is what happens when I ask him to look at the butterfly inside my camera. It usually gets kids to look at my lens — not delve into an investigation of the shutter ๐Ÿ™‚

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    The case of the potty stickers

    December 27th, 2013

    S bought these special stickers to put on the inside of our toilets. Let’s just say that G’s aim leaves something to be desired… and I don’t advise walking barefoot into the kids’ bathroom in the middle of the night/early morning. Yeah!
    So S found these little fly stickers, and ordered them. They arrived. All the way from the UK.

    S2 is an early riser. He’s the first to wake 90% of the time, and is really, really excited to rummage through daddy’s desk. He is also really, really in love with stickers. While G couldn’t care less, S2 would wear a sticker suit if given the opportunity to.

    You’re seeing where this is going, yes? S walked up to his desk today to see that the pricey, imported fly stickers were gone. ALL of them. And by gone, I meant, stuck to just about everything that little S2 can get his hands on. Magazines, books, desk.
    I had to walk away, because I was laughing. S hates it when I laugh under situations where he’s angry. However, in stressful situation it’s what I do: I laugh. It’s a shitty thing, because people feel like I’m a condescending b****, but it’s an actual response, so there you go. And well, to some degree that WAS funny.

    So now… no more fly stickers. But if you’d like to pee on a magazine w/ a sticker on it to improve your aim, it’s all ready!!!

    PS. I should introduce S to the Hryn Cherio theory. They’re cheaper to come by ๐Ÿ™‚


    Christmas recap

    December 27th, 2013

    It’s been a good Christmas!

    My dad spent it with us, which made me happy — looking at these photos as I worked on them and the expression on his face watching the boys enjoy their morning? That was priceless for me too. My mom has been in Bulgaria for the past 6 months, making this another Christmas she hasn’t been with us. It makes me sad, but I’m glad that Skype can bridge the gap a little bit… and at least this way not only could she watch the boys that morning, but also MY grandmother too — something I wouldn’t have if she wasn’t there.

    We had two Skype sessions going on, in the two sides of the room: one with my mom/gma, and one with S’ family.

    I wish, wish, wish, my camera could capture the sheer joy from S2 opening his loot. The smiles are great, but you just can’t see the jumping up and down at each surprise. He’s such a happy kid. I wish he never looses that joy over the simple things.

    This has been our second year of categorizing gifts for the kids. Last year a friend told me about getting 4 gifts for each kid: something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. It’s been awesome! And, honestly, has made shopping much easier. I don’t have to wrack my brain over things to buy as much. Each one of them has a list of things they want. S and I each take an item, and distribute the remaining list to families. G (from us) got a Hot Wheels arcade game he’s been obsession over. S2 got a batman costume. My costume loving guy. I wonder if he’ll go in theater some day? For “need”, each kid got a sleeping bag. It’s about time. I see slumber parties in our future this upcoming year. For “wear” they got fuzzy socks. The boys LOVE them some fuzzy socks. To “read” G got a comic novel: Jedi Academy. He likes funny comic novels and it’s been something he and I share at bedtime. S2 got a 5 min stories about Spiderman book. He’s really into superheroes, and has been admiring the 5 min Marvel Superheroes book G got for his birthday. Now he has a book of his own and he’s been a happy clam. Other loot they received included: a goal post for G, Lego for S2 (he’s the builder in our family), a pogo stick, remote control cars, fun shirts, a magazine subscription… and well, I’m forgetting it all. Let’s just say they aren’t left feeling like something was forgotten ๐Ÿ™‚

    Zoe found a new soul-mate in my dad. And my dad was puddy in her paws. Yeah, he’s a softie when it comes to animals, and they can tell he’s an easy mark (I mean good guy). He got her a gift too: a mouse chaser, that she also has been enjoying.

    As all things must go, as much as the kids loved their toys, they enjoyed the boxes they came in equally as much. The huge box G’s favorite gift arrived in became a motor boat. Actually, I think a yacht, because S2 was eager to serve snacks on it (read: take all of the stuff out of the play kitchen and bring it into the “boat”)

    Oh — I’d like to thank Amazon for sponsoring our wrapping paper yet again this year. I’ve stopped buying wrapping paper. Most of the packages we receive contain brown paper that is actually perfect for wrapping. It’s perforated (so scissors are no longer a required tool), easy to tape up and recyclable. Drawing on top is optional ๐Ÿ™‚ Yeah, yeah, there’s no fun Santa or reindeer design on it, but I can cure that with fun gift labels, which I’ve created a template for

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    Rose Elf came back to hang out this year. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with her this year. I’ve enjoyed coming up with things for her to do, and seeing the kids look for her every day. But hate because 1) we’ve had to come up w/ something different every day, and 2) actually had to MOVE her before the kids see her. You have no idea how many times we moved her in the morning in an “Oh SHIT!!!” moment. Next year, I gotta remember to come up with ideas before the holidays actually start.
    When she left, she wrote a letter to the boys.

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    My bucket list

    December 27th, 2013

    A few days ago I went to lunch with a couple of work friends. A asked “If you could take a sabbatical for a whole year, and money was all taken care of, what personal projects would you accomplish during that time?” They talked about their deep desires about filming documentaries. I said two things:

    1) Learn how to ride a horse
    2) Learn how to be a pretty awesome ballroom dancer

    The rest of the story with those guys isn’t as interesting any more, but it’s made me think of my bucket list. What’s on it that I want to achieve? So here goes. This will be an evolving list. A lot of it has to do with places I want to see, and worlds I want to experience:

    – Climb the pyramid at Machu Picchu
    – Have a lazy afternoon at a beach resort on the Maldives
    – Learn to ride a horse so that a gallop, on my own, won’t freak me out- Ride on the Oriental Express
    – Touch the Giza Pyramid
    – Enjoy a night salsa dancing where I can hold my own
    – See the Northern Lights
    – Become a decent tennis player
    – Submit a photograph to world-wide photography competition

    8 items. I’m not greedy ;p

    Added on:
    – Take a painting class,


    The holiday show

    December 26th, 2013

    G’s holiday performance happened last week. I gotta say, it was pretty impressive. All the kids had lines in the show, everyone sang. They had assigned spots and “costumes”. Oh… and they were required to all wear nice holiday clothes. This is from the child that refuses to wear ANY shirt with buttons. But he put up with it. Seriously I was amazed. We were working with him on that for a few days leading up. S even had to go out and get him a shirt (since he won’t wear them, why own one?)

    He stood by his newest best bud, M. They did really, really great!

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    Cookies & Santa

    December 26th, 2013

    My friend M hosts a Santa party every year. Her dad has been dressing up as the jolly dude for years, and now that she has a little girl, the party comes back to her each year. I love spending time with my friends, even in the presence of a red suit. G really wants to believe in Santa. He hears about him at school. It’s hard to keep it away. He’s not really buying my version of the story much either, though.

    At the party, G mostly hid underneath the coffee table by “Santa”. He photo bombed probably 90% of all the other kids’ pics. But he wouldn’t talk to the guy. Later he said, he didn’t want to tell Santa what he wanted: he wanted to show him. He was actually worried on the days leading up to Christmas that he never got a chance to ask him for his Hot Wheels arcade game. Our promises that S and I were his Santas were met with great skepticism. At least the cookies were a hit ๐Ÿ™‚

    S2 had a blast though! When asked what he wanted he replied “A dirty sock!” Luckily for him, it’s something easy to come by.

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    Yellow leaves

    December 26th, 2013

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    I’m looking for my rubber!

    December 16th, 2013

    Ah! Nothing more enjoyable than listening to your three yr old messing up his bed while announcing ‘I’m looking for my rubber!’ over and over.
    I should tell him he means his rubber band, but it’s much funnier this way