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Showing posts from December, 2007

My Year End Review

It's all the buzz in the media right now, year end reviews, best of and worst of lists. So, I thought I would give one last reflection on this past year and see exactly where my tangent takes me and what comes spewing out of my brain. I am going to free flow with no particular goals in mind, so come along on the journey with me.

AAh, January 07', take me back to my postpartum fog. F-O-G! I spent the majority of the month adjusting to life with my two darling daughters. Interestingly enough Sj tested her boundaries and independence more and more daily, while GL seemed to be my new appendage. What a stark contrast. Obviously, one year later has left me in a place of happy reflection, happy to be one year out, and happy to see so many beautiful moments between the girls.

I feel content in saying, maturity brings different phases in my personal relationships, which was really brought to the forefront for me this year. Having clarity to see relationships for exactly what they are AND…

Year In Pictures

I am glad no one is paying me the big bucks to be a photo editor. In the age of digital media, I have more snapshots that I can manage, no less decide which may be deemed favorite. So, I am throwing out the notion of favorite and I have chosen a photo from each month, that I think is pretty darn special. Here's my year in pictures:

School Choice

The town we reside in is the home to not one school district, but three. My neck of the woods is within the Boulder Valley School District boundaries. There is an elementary school basically in my backyard, but there's a catch to that convenience. BVSD has a program called open enrollment. That is where my stress begins!

In a nutshell, open enrollment is a program that allows parents to enroll their children in a school of their choice, not just enroll in your neighborhood school. To be quite honest, I haven't spent any time at my neighborhood school, but I do know the population and it's transient nature. I truly feel like Sj would do fine at our neighborhood school, but I know she could be exposed to many unique learning experiences at another BVSD school.

How could I say no to a Waldorf Inspired School or a Montessori School or a Math & Music Focus School? Yes, many options, almost too many.

So, where does this leave me? Visiting a boatload of schools. Most of the scho…

Today's Menu Is...

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When a chill is in the air and lounging becomes a mandatory part of the day, food takes center stage in our house. While eating, our conversation always seems to turn to what we'll be serving for the next meal in a few hours. Funny how that happens. Today, we tried out a couple of new recipes, and I am so delighted we did.
Baked Apple Pancake, yes dessert for breakfast. The recipe used three eggs, so the protein helped me convince myself that I wasn't totally overindulging at 8 am. The recipe came from my favorite baking book, Mom's Big Book of Baking by Lauren Chattman. I first discovered this book at the library a few years ago and when I had a hard time letting it go back to the library, I decided I needed to purchase it for my cookbook collection. There are countless recipes in it that are no fail crowd pleasers every single time.
Lighter Sesame Chicken!

I offered to cook dinner tonight. J has been doing the majority, umm more like 95%, of the cooking this week. I was l…

As The New Year Approaches

Yesterday, we joked in conversation, reflecting on the new year approaching, 2008. Wow, 08! How can it possibly almost be Twenty-Ten? I actually look forward to 2010, so we can move on from the Two Thousand lingo. I prefer saying Twenty-Twelve over Two Thousand and Twelve. I guess it's the 20th century bringing itself back upon me. Maybe I am being presumptuous in my hopes, it will probably take a few years of practice. So I am assuming by Two Thousand and Thirteen, we'll cut to the chase and just say Twenty Thirteen.

Beyond those little things that can leave me hung up in conversation, I always embrace the changing of the calendar year. Looking back, I like to reflect upon where I was one year ago, and most often be grateful for the place I have arrived today. We can only hope that new place will offer up one year wiser to go with the change in my age. Sometimes age and wisdom are not synonymous, but if I am on the right path, they will be.

I have already given passing thought…

Dining Out in Boulder

Our town doesn't necessarily offer us the dining options we often are craving. Close by we have a few ethnic gems, but the quality of food I often crave is a quick drive to Boulder. Typically about 95% of the time we are dining out with our children. Gosh, that's sad! But the reality of the situation is that we don't have a standby sitter, so we are at the mercy of family in town or friends being overly gracious.

So, where do we choose to eat in Boulder when we have the kids in tow?

Considering the aforementioned circumstances, our dining hours are generally breakfast or lunch. I don't care to do the restaurant hustle and bustle during peak hours with cranky, I just want to go to bed kids.

Breakfast Boulder style can most easily be found at Turley's at 28th & Pearl. Although the service can differ tremendously on any given visit. I love the alternative natural meat options and the notion that I am putting healthier prepared foods into my body.

With that said, Luci…

Snowy Colorado Christmas

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I believe there is a general consensus in various parts of the country that Colorado is a super cold and snowy place. For those of us that are lucky enough to actually reside here, we know it can dump, but typically within a day or two the snow melts from our splendid proximity to the sun. It takes a whopping of a storm to find a snow plow gracing my street. Around these parts, we just let the solar energy get the job done.

Today, we made Colorado proud. It snowed for hours. A white blanket of pure fluff graced the brown grass, making everything appropriately picturesque. The newscasters were rambling off the odds of it actually snowing on Christmas Day and sure enough the odds were against us.

Our family was delighted with the fresh powder. We bundled up after our belly warming early dinner of pot roast and veggies. Little Miss GL giggled with delight when I put the scarf around her neck during our walk when the wind picked up. Sj and I raced down our block at the end of our walk to ma…

Christmas MeMe

Yes, you've seen this email and you're welcome I didn't forward it to you. I saved mine for today and I am also going to consider this my monthly, What Makes Me Different Post, a day early.

Enjoy:

Wrapping paper or gift bags? both? I always wrap Christmas gifts, the girls each have their own paper from Santa, although sometimes he needs to borrow ours.

Tree--Real or Artificial? Always real until this year. Pre-lit with adorable pine cones, totally lured me to the other side. And the parched trees of Colorado dropping needles by the second, drives me bonkers.

When do you put your Christmas tree up? Depends on the year. This year, umm, the other day. Last year, the day after Thanksgiving. Our tree tradition, no tradition. We'll see next year, now that we have a re-usable tree, fancy that.

When do you take the tree down? Gosh Don't say take it down already, I just got it up! I'll be over it by next weekend, just before January 1st.

Like egg nog? Horizon Organic Low Fat…

One Hour and Fifteen Minutes Later

When you wait until the Saturday before Christmas to visit Santa at a pretty popular shopping mall, you find lines, crowds, and a big long wait. Being a mom well versed in mall off-hours, I could not believe the zoo we encountered. Oh well, we'll be there on a Tuesday morning the first week of December next year.

Unfortunately it was not worth the wait for little miss GL, she had no idea what she was in for. An old man with a big scratchy beard, not exactly the mesmerizing Teletubbies. Although, Sj was ready to throw in the towel half way through, she made it. It was worth it for her. She took a few moments to recite her well versed list to him. I hope he doesn't disappoint her.

I Don't Sneak A Peak

I'm not really sure what has happened to me. I suppose you could say I was infamous for trying to figure out gifts, acting like a 4 year old, wanting to open gifts, the night before my birthday or Christmas. Maybe I'd peak at our bank statements or give a box a rattle. I would assess a present by size and weight and try to see how close I could come to guessing it's contents.

But, it's not so much like that for me anymore. I've grown to have gift patience. Gosh, it really is no fun having tidbits of information about a gift before it's even opened. Now, I relish the moment, and linger in the surprise.

I will even go so far as to say,I enjoy buying gifts more than receiving gifts. I love when I happen upon something unexpected that I know is going to bring a smile. Well, then sometimes I second guess if my perception of the wonderful gift will be as happily received. But, it was well intended, a notion that I think is lost in the majority of today's gift givin…

Welcome Winter

Oh, sun you are so far away today! Tomorrow you'll be closer and before I know it, I'll be digging out my capris again. I'm not sure how welcoming I am of winter this year. The girls have been battling a virus/cold that has reared it's ugly head like no other. Yes, I have to remind myself we get sick year round, but for some strange reason, it's worse for my neurosis in the winter. I see the potential for microscopic invaders around every corner.

My new mantras are "Don't touch that!" or "Wash your hands!" and even "Get your hands away from your mouth, NOW!"......

It doesn't seem to be helping.

Other than all things viral that come with winter, I do love the chill in the air. Seeing my breath in the morning when I am outside getting the paper, it's fun in moderation. Sj and I always play around in the car as it warms up, with our dragon appearing breath. Then after a few weeks, yep I'm over it.

So sun, come back soon, grac…

Mom Email Phenomenon

When I am under slept, I make strange and unusual connections. Really, in the case of my latest discovery it's silly and I am not really sure why the pattern stuck out like a sore thumb to me. Maybe it's my prior cultural anthropological tendencies screaming to be put back into use. I do have the piece of paper proving that the University of Colorado has conferred the degree, Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. Seeing the patterns, connecting the dots, it's all innate to my being, so was the natural draw to Anthropology.

Here's my latest case study. Publishers, take a number. While comparing email lists to rosters during my volunteer duties as MOMs Club secretary, I found it quite interesting the choice of email addresses. In the past, I have felt the pressure to create a unique email address, one that would be representative of me, but user friendly. I hold three email accounts, one linked to all things blog, one personal account I've used for years, and a hotmail a…

It's C O O K I E Swap Time...

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Pressure, unusual pressure, to be Betty Crocker. Or even worse, to emulate Martha Stewart, with out a team of professionals to have my back. I am hosting a cookie swap. It's a pretty basic cookie swap in the spectrum of over-regulated and policed traditions. If you have a moment, google cookie swap and see how completely insane some women get about their cookie swaps.

Here's the guideline:
There are 11 total participants, so bring 10 individual bags of cookies to give out with the recipe for each.
Package 4-6 homemade cookies in each bag.
Bring an additional 1 dozen cookies to share, so we can sample them at the swap.
Leave with a boatload of delicious cookies!

We didn't even discuss what type of cookies people were bringing. In my opinion, if we had duplicates, we could eat both and see which one we liked better. Turns out, there weren't any duplicates and I can say there wasn't a cookie I didn't like. How democratic of me. But seriously, ten different varieties of …

Factotum

One of my favorite authors, Charles Bukowski, wrote a novel titled Factotum. The main character Henry Chinaski, lives his life working one odd job to another. Most of the time, he'll stick around a job for a few weeks, collect his pay if he's lucky and quit or get fired.

Sometimes I get a good laugh thinking of the jobs I got paid to do over the years. Gosh, have I worked an odd job or two, and typically for longer than a few weeks.

My first taste of, cash in hand, came when I was a babysitter starting from about the age of 12. That path stuck with me for a number of years and when I moved to Colorado, it even grew into the profession I once called nanny. I never really cared about giving up Friday nights when I was a teenager, I looked forward to spending my hard earned cash at the mall on a Saturday night instead. Now, I wish I could find a good solid babysitter, to look after my girls, while I enjoyed some free time, or a Friday night out with my hubby.

My college years proved…

Is Holiday Stress a Tradition?

It's all the rage, Holiday Stress. Overbooking, overdoing, making the world's longest to-do lists, all things that have to get done-now or better yet, yesterday. Why, I ask? It all came to me during a conversation today that holiday stress is what you make of it. My goodness, I knew December 25th would arrive sooner than later. We all know. I ordered presents online a bit earlier, so I didn't have to worry about shipping time. I browsed catalogs and some local toy stores, feeling out unique gifts, trying my darndest to avoid the ill-fated made in china.

It's funny, I can sit and joke about holiday stress, when I don't even have a Christmas Tree up in my home. Yep, it's December 15th, and nope, no tree. I've introduced a new obstacle in acquiring a tree, I've decided we need to go artificial. The fake trees, with the pine cones, are just so cute. I won't even go into where the trees are made and how they've been know to contain lead. Yes, better …

Sleep Blogging

Whenever I am a bit tossy-turny in my bed before falling asleep, I always seem to come up with brilliant blog ideas. Now, I don't have a pen and paper by my bedside, I have a co-sleeper, and at GL's age a pen in close proximity is just down right dangerous. I somehow always convince myself I will remember when I awake in the morning, sit down at my computer, and write away.

Even in this moment, I question the brilliantness of my thoughts. Are they brilliant because I am half asleep or would they make a good post?

Maybe i'll slip a mini-golf pencil in my pillow case, for an emergency moment of clarity. If I can follow through with random jottings in the middle of the night, I may just be onto something.

Because I'm a Girl of the 70's

Today's my birthday, so I am taking a break from my thought provoking posts (that was a joke). Technically this commercial was from 1980, but it doesn't get any better than this!


Now, I am going to humor you with an email I received a few years ago. I saved it because it makes me smile and it's so darn true. If you were a girl of the 70's enjoy.

YOU WERE A LITTLE GIRL IN THE 70'S IF...

You wore a rainbow shirt that was half-sleeves, and the rainbow went
up one sleeve, across your chest, and down the other.

You made baby chocolate cakes in your Easy Bake Oven and washed them down with snow cones from your Snoopy Snow Cone Machine.

You had that Fisher Price Doctor's Kit with a stethoscope that actually worked.

You owned a bicycle with a banana seat and a plastic basket with flowers on it.

You learned to skate with actual skates (not roller blades) that had metal wheels.

You thought Gopher from Love Boat was cute(Admit it!).

You had nightmares after watching Fantasy Island…

Holiday Fluff: Give It a Try!

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What The Holidays Mean to You
For you, the holidays are about generosity. You give as much as you possibly can to friends, family, and charity.

You celebrate the holidays in a minimalist style. You are likely to only give one great present and decorate your house with a few special items.

During the holidays, you like to feel cozy and comfortable. You're happy to stay inside with a roaring fire and a warm drink.

You think the holidays should be comforting and relaxing. You don't like the holiday rush... you just like the simple pleasure of the holidays.

Your best holiday memories are of childhood foods and traditions. You secretly still wish you believed in Santa Claus.What Do the Holidays Mean to You?

Yep, it's all true, I admit it.



Your Holiday Stress Level is Moderate



The holidays sometimes stress you out, but mostly because they wear you down.

Take it easy! You can have a fun holiday without running yourself ragged.

What's Your Holiday Stress Level?
hmmm, moderate, not sure …

Where's The Spirit?

Going to California this weekend is a great excuse for not having any of my holiday decorating done. But in all honesty, it should have been done before we left. My poor decorations are in the guest room closet, wondering why they haven't been called to duty. Each day that passes, I start to feel like the holiday cheer is flying out the window. What makes me feel even worse, is the blanket of snow on the ground and it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas everywhere but in my home.

I mentioned to Sj yesterday, maybe Santa will put the presents under the floor lamp. How lame is that?

Here's the truth of the matter. J is in charge of the Christmas tree buying in our family. He's done it for years. The one year I went along, I dragged the family to eight different lots and hardware stores, looking for the perfect tree. Funny enough that year, we bought some dwarf 4ft tall tree that just wasn't our style. J knows our style. Hopefully he can get the memo that is defini…

to be HOME

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Traveling is good for my soul. Although I experience much trepidation mentally leading up to the airplane travel, in the end it's all very much worth it. We joked about our full SmartCarts for a long weekend away. J felt as if he was handling the baggage for one of his film shoots. We had our two car seats, two pieces of luggage, a carry on with just electronics, and then a carry on each for three of us, containing mandatory plane distractions. I am not even sure if my memory can dig deep enough to recall those occasions when J and I would travel for the same time period with a small carry on, no checked luggage. It's all part of the experience now, all part of the adventure.



Although we were only away for four days and nights, I thoroughly enjoy watching Sj and now GL, playing with all their toys when we returned home. I think an hour went by when I didn't even hear any alarming noises, it was pure reacquainting play and gosh, may I even add, appreciating our things that…

Food Glorious Foodie

Life is really tough when you have too many choice restaurants to eat at and not enough time (and after a few days, appetite) to fit them all in. My hubby prides himself in being a Chowhound afficionado. J drops Jonathan Gold's name in a conversation, like he was a good friend. Jonathan Gold, for those of you who don't know, is a food critic for the LA Weekly and it turns out his opinions are as good as gold. Of course, I am going to share three of my favorite foodie experiences, so I can remember them, and it may just explain why my jeans aren't fitting so well these days.

Our first night in town, we were a bit wiped from the travel, and famished. It just so happens our hotel was 1/2 a block away from a pretty decent restaurant called iCugini. Being steps from the beach of course we had to indulge in some seafood. We started with an Insalata Granzeola, which had blue crab meat from atleast three crabs, Trenette pasta dish with some of the best pesto I have ever tasted, Ozz…

DISNEY Magic

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I could barely sleep last night, I was full of such anticipation for our secret excursion today. The weatherman was forecasting terrible storms. Just last night some of J's local buddies were trying to convince him to bag the trip to Disney, because the forecasts were that extreme. We knew we had to go, rain, hail, wind gusts, or shine, we had to experience the magic. When I pulled the curtains back this morning, I held my breath, and let out a loud cheer when I saw clear skies!

By this morning, the girls had already settled into the reality of freeway travel in California. GL magically closed her eyes moments after our Cadillac hit the 10. We really did luck out in our forty mile drive to Anaheim, the home of Disneyland. I think we made it there in under 40 minutes. In Los Angeles, that is of urban-legend proportions.

Finally, as we entered the park complex, we told Sj, the name of the street we turned on. I can't remember the exact name, it was Disneyland Parkway or someth…

A Room With A View

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Our arrival into Santa Monica last night was graced with a dense fog. The fog stretched from the beach past the Promenade a few blocks east. The wet air was a refreshing departure from our normal moisture-sucking Colorado air. When we finally made it to our hotel room, on the 6th floor, I felt as if we were in a cloud when I looked out the window. The weather conditions seem to be so crazy everywhere, I could only imagine we were in for it the next few days. Luckily, it turns out I was wrong, the weather was mildly chilly for LA norms, but wonderful for us coming from Colorado. And, the feeling of being in a cloud quickly subsided in the morning, when I pulled back the curtain and saw this:Living in Colorado, I am unfailingly enamored with an ocean view. It doesn't matter how many times I have seen the blue sky melt into the ocean, it's always magical, always. Yes, smile indeed.

We made our way down to the beach, to set the girls free in the largest sandbox of all. GL, made th…

and They're OFF....

Packing, cleaning, wiping snotty noses, eating (which reminds me I haven't eaten yet), and unplugging have been on the "To Do" list. I wonder what my level of neurosis is when traveling and preparing for a trip. Does anyone else out there, make multiple lists, check them off..Like unplug all the electrical devices while you out of town? Is that silly for just a few days? I don't know..I do it anyway. I feel like a weirdo.

Can I just twinkle my nose and arrive at my destination? Realistically no, but before I know it, the car will be loaded and we'll be singing songs, driving out east to our beloved Denver International Airport.

I'll be back soon, with my restaurant and shopping reviews of Santa Monica. And, in case you are wondering I have managed to keep my big mouth shut about DisneyLand, it's still a secret, I think this deserves some sort of reward, it's a miracle!

GL's First Birthday in Photos

Beautiful
How could I possibly choose just ONE favorite photo from today.....

ONE Year Later!!

My mind has been working over time, again. As I celebrated my daughter's first birthday today, I thought, there really should be something in this for me. I know, I know, honestly I relished in the moment, reflecting on the year's passing, and all the milestones we have been through. I feel so grateful to be one year out from birth, from newborn-ness, and so much closer to better communication and independence. I can't seem to put down the video camera these days. I just want to capture every little moment, the phases of development, everyday something new and fabulous is happening. Right now it's steps and language. They don't get much bigger than that. Splendid.

But, back to the there should be something in this for me. I envision a gift for me, for the greater good of our family, the You've Made It Another Year, gift. If I were to choose, that gift would be a single night's stay in a hotel, alone. Well, not just a hotel, a nice hotel with beautiful line…

Our Birthday Tradition: Streamer Fairy

The "Streamer Fairy" entered our lives, just a couple of years ago, around Sj's second birthday. It's a tradition that was born out of pure fun and magic, which I feel should be the basis for any birthday, young or old! It doesn't require much time and it brings out such joyous anticipation and excitement in our daughter.

The tradition began, when I decorated our house with streamers and balloons the night before Sj's birthday, while she was sleeping. When she woke up in the morning, she found the downstairs decked out in streamer glory! I have to admit, typically the eve of a birthday is spent putting together toys, or preparing a cake, so choose your level of decorating wisely! We always have a little chat before bed, discussing if the Streamer Fairy would remember her again this year! Yippee, she did! As soon as the sun was up, I think Sj's anticipation was that of Santa proportions. The Streamer Fairy may be in contention with Santa, I love it!

It's…

16 years later..

Making the most of this special day, my lovely GL, decided to help me start celebrating at the wee hours of the morning. The poor babe has a snotty nose, more like a spigot, draining thick sludge. It's affecting her desire to eat solid foods which in turn kicks in her night nursing cravings. I can't turn her down, for my string bean needs as many calories as I can pack into her. Which basically means, I have been up all night, sometimes every hour for the last few nights, nursing my dear back to health.

This morning, I was given the opportunity to stay in bed until 8 am. Shortly after 8, a frittata, toast, a clementine, and a chai all on a tray, was presented to me in bed. It was even topped off with a kiss. I thought that was strange considering I haven't been the most fun to be around the past few days. I've been a bit more zombie like. I enjoyed my breakfast while watching Nigella Lawson prepared some 5,000 calorie Christmas Feast.

As the morning progressed, I was sit…

Birth of a Mermaid

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A photo essay, from Sj's painting session, with narration from the artist herself:




This is Ariel and I love her. Ariel loves the sea , sebastian, and flounder.

















I'm adding the hair. It's red and I love how it's long and flowing. She's under the sea because her hair gets soft and beautiful.




















It's the loveliest picture I ever maded. And I didn't know I made Ariel, and now I did, so I love it. We didn't know it was going to turn out so beautiful. It's not very scary, it's beautiful. It's like unusual princess, I love it. So, I love it.