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    Christmas 2015 Recap

    December 27th, 2015

    We had a quiet Christmas at home. My sister and L came up to visit and stayed a few days.

    The “want/need/wear/read” approach to gift giving is still showing me it’s awesomeness. It’s seriously a lot easier to do 4 gifts for the kids and not have to stress a whole bunch of toys. And I feel like what they got is very measured. Doesn’t prevent them from being spoiled by the rest of the family, but I don’t feel like I’m stressing for toy storage either.

    S2 pretty much has spent the days following building his new Lego sets. I think he’s done with the primary instruction builds and is now onto making his own creations with the same pieces. This is my favorite part of his Lego play.

    We used the GoPro this year to track our mayhem, but I haven’t even looked at that footage yet. I’ll enrich this post when I do.

    Christmas breakfast was cinnamon rolls straight up from a package. Turns out little man loved those and has asked for them again today. This is amusing since he looked at them innitially, turned up his nose declaring he doesn’t like them, and then a minute later was biting in like a vampire. Not sure what turned him around, but at least now I have an example of “some food he tried saying he doesn’t like when in fact he really does”.

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    I’m pretty stoked with how my ribbon work came out this year. I tried something new, and it paid off.

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    Christmas recap

    December 26th, 2014

    I feel like this whole month has been a Christmas celebration. Both boys had performances at their schools, Rose came to visit, I felt like I’ve been shopping for a month, and of course, Christmas day itself. It’s been a good holiday! I am still seeking a way for the boys to appreciate this time “more”… or rather in a different way. They appreciate the gifts, that’s for sure, but it’s not what I want them to love about Christmas on the whole.

    My parents came to visit for Christmas. I love it when they do. It just feels more special for me to have them here, and I like that the boys get a chance to do this holiday with a set of grandparents. It’s hard with S’ family on the East Coast, so at least they join us on Skype. I have a dream that one year we’ll get to have all grandparents here with us over Christmas with the boys. Bonus points if the aunts/uncles and cousins join too ;p

    This is less of a wordy post, and more of a follow along with the pictures post. It’s just a whole bunch of smaller stories, so here goes:

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    I was able to get the boys to sit in front of the tree for a photo. Of course I had to tell them it was a photo for Rose, to include in her invitation, but hey — it’s a cute photo of them together.

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    G found our hot dog ornament

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    I love seeing this collection of ornaments grow. We have an ornament for each year S and I have been married. Ok cheating a little, since I only started making these 4 years ago, but I did back-fill the first 6 years. Our tree is very photo oriented, and I feel that the history of our family is well represented this way.

    I thought this year our tree could use some sparkle.

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    G writing a letter to Rose, telling her they’re ready for her to come. Feel free to click on the letter to read it in all it’s glory.

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    I hosted our ornament exchange this year. Afterwards, I took the girls to Eucalyptus St. in San Carlos. We hung with Santa.

    This is the Santa trap: the boys made these couch pillow forts, with the intention to hide in them on Christmas Eve so they can catch Santa in the act. My question back to them: “Why do you think Santa is coming here tonight?”

    Dad and G, just hanging.

    This bread deserves a photo — it’s made by one of my mom’s best friends. She is a phenomenal baker and this is hands down the best tutmanik I’ve eaten anywhere.

    Rose… hanging out

    S2 wanted to sit in Santa’s lap. And apparently poke his eye out.

    This is G’s holiday performance. Yep, the video is upside down. Sorry! I don’t have the energy to figure out how to rotate it… so just turn your head around, OK? ;p

    At S2’s performance:

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    They have an elf too.

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    This kid…

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    So angelic looking…

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    So… plotting

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    So… not the angel

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    Really NOT the angel 🙂

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    With Ms. A

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    Watch him sing

    Now see our Christmas morning. The boys got dressed independently into orange Strider shirts. It was not intentional, but hey — they stood out for sure for photos 🙂 We didn’t open gifts until about 9:30 that morning. The boys got in trouble the night before, and I told them that for each time they gave us grief about bed-time, I’d push present opening back half an hour. Our clock starts at 8am for gifts, and after two infractions they settled down. S wasn’t along with this program, but for better or worse, Skype’s issues made him have to delay it even further. I’m shocked, SHOCKED they didn’t mutiny and attack the dining room anyway.

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    Welcome to the Bunny Farm

    April 23rd, 2011

    Ensuring that both my sons have equal reason to seek therapy 🙂

    Happy Easter everyone!!!


    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    February 14th, 2011

    Have a sweet Valentine’s Day! (G sure did)

    Baby cuddles, coos and kisses make for an excellent Valentine’s Day


    Sharing Christmas ’round the world

    December 25th, 2010

    This year’s European snow blizzard left my mom stranded in Bulgaria. I’m happy that she gets to spend this holiday with her mom, but also a bit sad since we had planned for her to join us here. However, Skype was our friend today and brought both S’ and my (missing) family closer for even just a little while.

    Our day started surprisingly late. G didn’t wake up until 7:30am. Given that yesterday was a 6:00am wake-up call, I had expected today’s to be the same. I should be thankful, though, since next year, G will likely be knocking down our door at 5:00am to open gifts. Late last night, after my stomach bug had finally ran it’s course, I finished putting out the rest of G’s toys, specifically the big ones that I had not enough paper-wrapping skills in the world to manage. Until now, the rest of the gifts had been under our tree and G paid absolutely no attention to them. However, as he walked into the dining room this morning and saw his shopping cart and easel, his eyes lit up and immediately asked to “open it!” Then all was lost. Daddy was still brushing teeth upstairs. My mom was trying to get connected to Skype, and here I was with an impatient toddler trying to keep him away from new toys. It’s like keeping peasants from the invasion of the Bastille.

    G’s main role today was to hand out boxes. He did an excellent job. Until now, he’s had no interest in wrapped packages. I think as of today that will change.

    S2 on the other hand, spent the morning session of activities 1) eating; 2) pooping; 3) supervising the gift distribution. In that order.

    Mom and Grandma. 6,500 miles away, but still with us today.

    The tree: pre-gift opening devastation

    G and his Daddy

    “Where’s my loot?”

    Holding up gifts for Gamma to see

    Winner of the “Most annoying toy!” category this year. Also, winner of “Batteries will magically run out overnight” category toy too. I need to take video of this for you to understand why. Cute otherwise.

    G, showing off his new tool-set to Grammie.

    Christmas is hard work. S2 conked out for a heroic 4hr nap.

    A week ago, we took the boys on a walk around one of the streets in the neighborhood, known to decorate for the holidays. I hope we’ll get to do this every year. G is excited about the lights, so we thought it’d be fun. And it was. Every house on the street was decorated. Some far exceeding Christmas lights quotas. Apparently, decorating for the holidays is listed in the purchase docs if you buy a home here. Talk about pressure, huh?

    Look at this crazyness!

    Merry Christmas!


    A Santa tale

    December 18th, 2010

    I suppose this will be the last year that I won’t be interrogated about Santa by the kids. I still stand by my goal to not lie about Santa being a jolly elf that delivers presents one night a year. At the same time, I’m trying to be sensitive to my friend’s desire to “perpetuate the Santa magic” and not have G and S2 be the ones to ruin Santa for them. I’ve spent some time this year getting my story straight on 1) Who is Santa?, 2) Is he real? and 3) Why does he hang out at the mall?

    Here’s what I have for now. Length and detail of below story may vary to match the attention span of asking child.

    A long time ago, in Greece, there lived a man whose name was Nicholas. Nicholas came from a very wealthy family. He was very kind and caring, and he liked to help people.
    In the same town Nicholas lived in, there also lived another man who was really, really poor. Nicholas, secretly gave him money to help his family out. Over time, Nicholas’ deeds turned him into a saint in the eyes of people. Many began to call him Saint Nicholas (Saint Nick). Because of different languages, other people call him Santa Claus, or Santa, for short. What Nicholas did, was so special, and so nice, that every year, around Christmas, people dress up as Santa Claus and give gifts. Nicholas’ spirit of generosity and kindness is alive and the gifts we receive on Christmas day are through that spirit.

    There is, of course, a problem with my Santa plan. S, for example, is so fatigued of two-year old tantrums, that he would very much like to instill the fear of Santa (or more specifically the fear of not getting any loot on Christmas day). All so that he could milk out a few weeks of good behavior. I kind of think that if G knows it’s us that are getting him said gifts, then it would behoove him to be nice to us. Plus, at this point, I don’t really think he cares much for gifts, so Santa or no Santa the tantrums will continue.

    Anyway, that’s my Santa tale. Let’s see how it holds up.

    Meanwhile, today, we took the boys on their Santa deliveries. This will likely be the last year I pick for G. I’m hoping next year he’ll decide what he wants to donate. This year, however, on G’s behalf Toys for Tots is receiving a Melissa & Doug fruit crate. He received this for his birthday this year and has loved it. I’m hoping that another child will enjoy this set as much as G has. I was actually a little worried how today’s drop-off would go. I pulled out the unopened toy to show to G side by side to his set. I was worried that if I pulled it out at the Fire Dept. he’d freak out and think we were giving away his set. So now, here there were, side by side, two fruit crates, and G insisted that both were his and that “My need it!” (aka he needed) the second, new set. But it went well. G dropped off S2’s donations in the bin, and then dumped the fruit crate in there too without any protest.

    Speaking of S2. He donated Gum Drop pacifiers. Being a whole 6w old doesn’t really give me a great depth of “toys” he enjoys, so the pacis it was. S2 slept on the job, but I didn’t expect any different from him on this trip.

    I’m excited and happy about how today went! I’m really hopeful that in a few years, G and S2 will be really excited about gift drop-offs too and also picking out the toys they want to gift to needy families.

    Here’s this year’s video of our drop-off. It’s jittery and you stare at G’s feet awhile, I know, but it’s not easy to hold a toddler and a camera and walk at the same time.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q0pl6UDMVU]


    A Kodak moment

    November 25th, 2010

    I lived a perfect Kodak moment this morning. You know one of those periods of time that you just wish you could pause life and record everything about that moment, to relive later, because it feels so good?

    It was nothing special, and yet everything I had ever wanted in a few brief minutes. It was 7:30, and I had ALL my boys in bed with me. S was snoozing on my left. A well deserved snooze after he pulled a heroic 5hr baby holding session last night. S2 was draped over my arm nursing. Neko was at the foot of the bed, cat-napping over S’ sweatshirt, and G was on my right holding his cloth tape measure and was “fishing for kitties”. Fishing for kitties entails throwing one of the tape measure towards Neko, and waiting for the kitty to pounce on it. Neko obliged. G was happy.

    Life was just perfect in that moment, and I realized how content and complete I felt. If I had ever imagined what my family would be like, this was it. What an amazing way to be reminded of what to be thankful for today of all days.

    Happy Turkey Day!


    Happy Halloween!

    November 3rd, 2010

    I meant to post these on Monday, but S2 decided to upstage me 🙂

    Just think: next year, we’ll have 2 monkeys prancing around.

    Trick or treating

    Making spooky pop-corn hands

    Daddy’s serious, scary and… uhmn… constipated face 🙂


    Happy New 2010!

    December 31st, 2009

    From all of us, to all of you,


    ‘Twas the day before Christmas…

    December 24th, 2009

    … and all through our town
    everyone was content
    when Santa G came around

    We took G this afternoon to drop off our toy donation. Our local fire department collects for Toys for Tots. They’re always in need for toys for little kids, so using G as a guide we delivered some of his favorites.

    One of the firemen was outside of the station (deep frying a turkey of all things). G saw him and his funny Santa hat and lost it. It took us awhile to calm him down and after-wards he constantly kept looking over his shoulder to make sure the guy in the yellow jacket and funny red hat was far, far away.

    I’m really glad we did this and am really looking forward to doing it again next year.

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    Merry Christmas everyone!