Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year! Welcome 2014! and a healthy dose of Entlistungsfreude

We're back! Spain was fantastic and folks, I tell you, traveling with a barely 3 year old and a 7 month old is absolutely doable and even enjoyable. But that is a post all it's own and will get discussed in detail as I inundate you all with photos and stories in the next few weeks.

Today is for the annual resolution post. Sort of a tribute to my Entlistungsfreude, the German word for the pleasure that comes from crossing things off lists. Germans have a word for everything :)

Here's how I shaped up on last year's goals.


1) Finish the cap around the fountain wall in the backyard. It is seriously an afternoon project that I haven't done for oh, 7 months. Fail! I have all the materials purchased and was set to do it in October but it was still 104 degrees out and I figured I'd do it in cooler weather. Then *Poof* my energy went to other things.

2) Finish remodeling our masterbath. It's amazing how few days it takes for destruction to become the normal state of things and thus easily ignored. I ripped out the floor tile yesterday and the plain concrete hasn't even bothered me. Unfortunately, if it doesn't actively bother you, it can get pushed off. Done!

3) Give birth to a healthy baby boy and survive the six months after. Maybe I should choose something different since this isn't really a goal, but considering the majority of my year will be in pursuit of this one task, I want to feel like I can check at least something off next year. Done!

4) Have once Saturday a month without an activity scheduled. This one may not happen because of various commitments, but I still want to shoot for it. The overall goal is to have more unscheduled time. I've found it is harder to randomly help people out when I have something scheduled every day. Having to rush to be places takes a toll on my psyche. I swear I only have creative energy on a Saturday afternoon after the house is clean. Projects aren't just about time, but about energy. Art requires a mental energy I can't always muster after J has gone to bed. Sort of? We were definitely better but I didn't chart it or anything so I can't give a firm check mark. We will continue to work on it.

5) Potty train J. I never knew a BM could be so exciting until J did it on the big potty. Yep, that is my life now. Although since the new babe is coming, I think August sounds like a great month to ditch diapers. Until then we will continue what I call Potty Exploration. But since I'm not in direct control of this whole process, I should probably leave it off the goal list. DONE! Dry nights too!

6) Finish my paper crane installation. 586 and counting. Fail! I think I added to it though.

7) Do yoga twice a month. For such a convert to yoga, you would think I'd make more time for it. Sort of. I have met that one for the last few months.

8) Update the scrapbook to 2011 (at least). If I don't get it done now, it may never get done. Let's hope 2012 gets done too. Mostly! I have J's book and the family one updated to 2012 AND M's baby book is already done up to October. There are still 08-09 to do from our college days though so I'm not giving this a completely done.

9) Make 30 freezer meals. I just got a new cookbook from a thoughtful friend so I can probably make this happen. Planning meals ahead is not my strong suit so this seems like a happy way to combine "cook more real dinners" and "prepare for the baby" DONE and DONE! Was this seriously a year ago that I got my cookbook? I feel like this is a new thing I'm into.

10) Go on a trip somewhere new. I'm thinking it is time to visit some little AZ towns. Bisbee? Jerome? I'm open to ideas. Of course I've never been to the Caribbean either... DONE! Spain and Gibraltar absolutely count :)

Now for 2014. These don't seem like resolutions as much plans, but oh well!

1) Buy a minivan. We don't even need one yet since we only have 2 kids, but I have felt limited by not having more seat belts in my car. I've wanted to go and rescue some of my friends and just take their kids for the day, but haven't had room. Same problem when I need to pick up 25 poinsettias for a church party and don't want to find a sitter to do so. Or borrow a truck to carry 7 foot lengths of PVC pipe.  It's much more fun going on adventures with friends when we can ride in the same car with our kids. I am ready to let go of image and embrace the practicality. Car shopping is exhausting though and I just want someone else to do it for me. 

2) Visit Lil Sis. I miss her and I love how much she misses my kids. Hopefully the travel budget will recover quickly enough to do it this year.

3) Paint a new family portrait. We need one with M in it :) I also need to figure out what to do with the old one.

4) Get Lasik. I tried this year, but they said I have to be done nursing for 6 months. Let 2014 be the last I wear contacts!

5) Visit 3 new parks. I always drive past some with cool equipment but always go to the one closest to my house. Time to branch out.

6) Bring back the monthly goal list. Husband actually suggested this one. We accomplished more when we had our little monthly check boxes.

7) Go on a little getaway with the Husband. Our mini baby moon last year was so amazing we asked ourselves why we don't do a little staycation more often. 

8) Do a full family activity every other month. Most of my adventure outings happen with friends and their kids on weekdays. I want to do more things with Husband and the kids this year so we can experience more together.

9) Commit to Sunday night planning sessions. We are still working out the best way to do this, but we started experimenting and life went smoother when we reviewed the upcoming week and got on the same page schedule wise. We tried adapting Agile (a software development approach) and found the post-its didn't work well, but the scrum meeting did. Knowing what the other wanted to accomplish helped us support each other better.  I hope to make it a sort of institution and habit this year.

10) Go to sleep earlier! Vague, I know, but I still have to figure out what time will work best. 

What are your aspirations for the next year?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Nutcracker

J's older friend Emilee was having a performance of The Nutcracker. Her studio is hard core and had some very talented dancers in their multi-generational cast. J and I had a little mommy daughter date and got all dressed up to go. I was particularly excited because I have never seen it. I know, who hasn't seen the Nutcracker? I go my whole life without any ballet and in one year go to two.

The tickets were reasonable so I told myself we could leave whenever J needed to, the show started around bed time after all. Ends up my 2 year old enjoyed the whole thing and kept asking when the next princess would come out. When she got a little antsy, she'd look at the program, otherwise known as he "nutcracker book." Then we'd go back to choosing a favorite princess and trying to keep her excited comments to a whisper instead of a loud exclamation. Thankfully there were lots of opportunities to clap enthusiastically, the way only a 2 year old can. After intermission it was a bit harder to sit still. They had ornaments on sale in the lobby before the show and J picked out a purple sparkly one that I was able to pull out as needed. 

The last 10 minutes were a little dicey since the pas de deux only had one princess, but we made it. We even went out and got ice cream as the perfect end to a fun night of staying up waaaaay past bedtime. She liked the whole experience so much I'm afraid a tutu might be in our future.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Aunt Mona's Christmas Party

After such fun at the Halloween Party, we were delighted to attend the Christmas festivities she had planned.

Marge brought some great crafts for the kids to make. The first was a book mark with lots of pretty stickers.

Evan and Gage
 They also drew numbers and got to pick from the prize table.

J picked two ornaments, I think because she thought they were candy. She seemed a little disappointed when she took them apart and found styrofoam. I still remember when Big Sis chose a rocking horse music box when we did the same thing as kids. Man, I wanted that thing.

They also decorated ice cream cones to look like Christmas trees. I'm pretty sure it was one spoonful frosting for the mouth, one for the tree. Same with the candy.

Then they had fun singing carols.

Then they had fun pretending to be old men with candy canes.

 It is so fun to see my kid having the same experiences I did with her great-great aunt. On a side note, how come my grandma's sister is my great aunt instead of my grand aunt?

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Got to start them young right?

Totally grew that too.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Salt Dough Fun

Now that I have a kid big enough to enjoy some holiday activities, we've been trying out some internet ideas. We used this idea I found a few years ago via Supermom Moments.

And since I was getting my Christmas creativity on, I figured more than one toddler should capitalize on it and we invited Penny over.

 Penny has older sisters and knows that you aren't supposed to mix different colors of play dough. J asked why not and I had surrendered to the mess and chaos at that point. Penny was delighted.

Where did M go?

There he is!

Friday, December 20, 2013


Where is M?

There he is!

This child finds the most interesting places to hang out.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


M rather enjoyed his first bubble experience.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Trimming the Tree

I wasn't even going to decorate for Christmas since we were only going to enjoy them for 2 weeks, but J became obsessed with Christmas trees in November when the stores started putting them on display. SO I caved and put up the stuff.

It was worth it as soon as she opened the boxes.

"A Christmas house!"

Said with one under each arm "I love these!"

"These are my blocks." (A nativity scene that has doubled as building blocks and dolls depending on the moment)

"These are my Christmas boots."

She was great at putting up ornaments. She even directed me to decorate all sides of the tree, even the back :)

She happily rearranged them for days. Mercifully, M didn't impale himself on any of the dropped hooks.

He was fairly entranced as well. It even distracted him from his enjoyment of the broken lamp.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

J's (Somewhat Epic) 3rd Bday Party

I had planned on not doing anything for J's bday since we were headed to Spain, but the girl would pretend to have birthday parties for the last 2 months, presumably after attending various family birthday parties in the last couple months. She would duck into the cozy coupe out back and wave goodbye as she said, "Bye Mom! See Ya! I'm going to my birthday party!" How can an elaborate party obsessed mom not throw a party after hearing that every day for weeks?

And so this ridiculous was born.

She chose Strawberry Shortcake after waffling between the that and Jake the Pirates. My vote was for a kitty party since I won a face painting giveaway on facebook from my friend's company. Kitty faces on all the kids and I could put ears on the party hats! But no, my feline dreams were crushed by a remake of a favorite childhood cartoon. Here was the invite, a product of expensive paper cutting machines and probably messed up priorities in my life.

My favorite part was the drinks. I call this Shirley Temple with cotton candy "The J----" after a Gilmore episode when Luke tastes the drink known as "the Rory" and says, "It's tastes like I'm drinking a My Little Pony."

The cotton candy made the coolest fizz if by chance it fell into the drink. We also hid bags of cotton candy and had a sort of Easter Egg hunt. It's fun having friends with professional machines, willing to make a bunch ahead of time for me.

We also had them color for a bit. Thankfully the internet is happy to provide perfect coloring pages.

During all of this, my friend Snow White was painting faces. She is amazing! Check out her facebook page here and book her for your next event! Here is what she did at our party

Then it was pinata time. I am too cheap to buy a pinata so in a moment of craziness, cut the edges off a box and made one. I acknowledge I have a problem and need more creative outlets. Next time, I won't use an amazon box that requires multiple stabbings by an adult to open it. There were no bloody noses so I consider it a success. all the same.

Then it was time for cupcakes and ice cream!


I made an cie cream and angel food cake for the adults.

It was possibly the mellowest crowd ever. I mean, normally just my kids and my sister's make it feel like a mad house, but somehow everyone was really chill, despite copious amounts of spun sugar. I had fun and even surrendered my camera more a bit to distribute ice cream.

By this time it was getting chilly and we headed in to open presents. I refuse to let a December birthday by overshadowed by Christmas (hence the over-the-top party), but I find no need to cart presents to Spain after she gets spoiled like this.

I love the painted faces!

At this point the kids were crowding so much I gave up trying to take pictures and focused on this sweet girl.

But then squeals of delight had my edge in past the kiddos. A doctor kit! She played with her cousin's one for 2 hours straight one evening so this was perfect for her. Last night she asked to sleep with it.

And then her Auntie spoiled her absolutely rotten with this wealth of choking hazards. The problem is, I love to play with it too so it is probably going to get the addition of all the other fruit dolls eventually.

Thank you to all who came and helped out. And a shout out to my fantastic husband who doesn't even complain about the time and money I put into these parties, helps set up and clean up, and watches the baby while I have a good time. He's a keeper :)

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