Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 A Year in Review

First off- I didn't do my New Year's Resolutions whatsoever!! ha ha ha No Spanish! No emergency kit! No recipes from Food and Wine! (although I did try internet recipes) And no new photos in frames! It's a good thing I figured out other things to do, but wow. What a way to not accomplish a few goals.

Ok, so here's what DID happen in 2011. Rather than separate it out month-to-month I'll just take it in big categories.

Frannie- finished kindergarten in June. Her teacher was Mrs. Byers and her friends were mostly Zoie, Heather and Nicole. She also finished her gymnastics class and I decided to try her in piano over the summer. I have this thing with extra-curricular activities that I want the kids to express some amount of joy and willingness to do the thing- whatever it may be- because it takes me time to schlep them there (which means Adam and Natalie get schlepped too) and money to pay for it. So I'm not super-keen on continuing an activity that I have to bribe participation in. And gymnastics required the bribe of a Del Taco .49 burrito. Anyways, so I decided to put gymnastics on hold for the summer and I started her in piano classes with a teacher who lives next door to Nataki. Her name is Linda and she's super sweet and a good teacher. Frannie has since finished her first level 1A book and is working on the next one. It's a joy to me to hear her practice and play and I hope this is one activity that she'll continue to grow with. I never did re-sign her up for gymnastics or anything else in the Fall. Mostly because she started first grade and it is a longer school day and we wanted her to adjust to that. I figured piano was enough. I do have the desire for her to learn some sort of dance just because there is so much value to learning body control and movement, but for some reason it's just not the right time. I'm starting to think about homeschool dance. Shoot. I took lessons all those years. Why don't I teach my own kids to dance?

As far as other interests she loves to ride her bike (and now skateboard) and play with Legos and build things in general. She loves crafting and cooking. Basically, Francesca is a DO-er. Give the girl something to do hands-on and she's a happy camper, and that includes chores and organizing games with Adam and Natalie.

As I mentioned, in the fall she started first grade and so far it's been magical for her. The girl loves school. She loves her friends. She loves her teacher. She asks to go to school on the weekends. She asks to do more homework. And darnit, that's the way it should be. Shouldn't the little ones just LOVE school? Yes, I think so. So I'm happy that she's enjoying herself and that it's been a good year so far. Her reading and math skills are improving, and she's basically just where she should be. Her teacher is Mrs. Hansen, and her best friend at school this year is Heather.
At home she's a great big sister and helper to me.

Adam- I've seen big changes in Adam this year. And I feel that even in the last month I've seen him grow and change a lot. First, he got taller and he got bigger feet! His feet are now bigger than Frannie's which irks her no doubt, but I can tell he feels like a Big Boy because of it. In fact he told me today when I called him my "little boy" that he's not a little boy, he's a big boy. Well, ok, you can be mommy's big boy. I used to worry that he'd be so shy and not make friends well. Wrong. He makes friends with other little boys just fine. He's got an active imagination with all of his trains and cars and even though he can be an introvert, it's not a socially handicapping kind of quietness. It's pretty cute because I can see the quiet smirk or whatever it is and know that inside he's really into whatever is happening.
On Tuesdays I take both he and Natalie to the mommy n' me preschool class and he loves that. They both do. I think he's doing well with his "kindergarten readiness" because before I know it, it'll be fall and he'll be off to school.
Both he and Frannie asked for skateboards from Santa Claus, probably because of this video that Jason showed the kids. It is Adam's favorite youtube thing to watch by far.

The funny thing about skateboarding is that Adam is a "two feet on the ground" kind of kid. So it actually isn't something he's taking to just yet, although he definitely likes the idea of it. Frannie on the other hand is on that thing every day.
Other than preschool we don't do any special activities other than park days on Wednesdays and Thursdays but that is really all he needs. During the weekdays Adam and Natalie play together and fight constantly as is typical for kids. All of the kids have a good close relationship actually and that's nice.

Natalie- She's 2 1/2 and a feisty one. She's cute and smart and stubborn and has a VERY LOUD SCREAM! Oh dear. She's a really good talker and here are some of her most commonly heard phrases:
"I not paying with you eny-MO!" "Pbbb!" (That last part is her tongue out spitting at me.)
"I not gone to pay with you eber a-GIN!"
"Sees my sisso. He's my AM." (She's my sister. He's my Adam.)
"I want ba-ba cup!" (So we get her off the bottle, but she still needs to have a sippy cup of milk to go to sleep or for comfort.)
"Where's my bie?" She still loves that pink blankey and needs to suckle on it for comfort. We can NEVER lose that thing! She'd cry and cry and cry!

She did potty-train this year so that's good. She got #2 down really fast but it took all summer of me working on it with her to get #1. But she got it! So other than "I gotta go pee pee!" I also hear her saying "I need my pie-see!" (my privacy).

This year has seen one destructive act after another from Vasaline spread all over her body, to minty toothpaste, to massive yogurt smears, to drawing on walls and breaking the car cd player and our television by shoving weird stuff in it.  I sort of think she's getting better now (although I hesitate to make that declaration too confidently.)
All of this is ok though because Natalie is a very good cuddler and she's funny and cute.

Jason- Jason has fully embraced his biking and fitness hobby. He continues to post at bicyclefriends and he loves riding every weekend and riding with the kids too. He taught Natalie how to ride which he was super proud of. He also won a few races this year. He competed several times in the KnobbyTime mountain bike races held at Bonelli and he won a few 3rd and 2nd place finishes. He's made a lot of friends through the cycling community and bikes are his favorite thing to talk about! He continues to work for Canidae and does a great job for them. Jason is a super-duper Dad and I appreciate how he always helps with the kids and around the house.

Jamie- As for me, I love being here with the kids and taking care of them and life around the house. Maybe I'm tired because it is 11:50 on New Year's Eve and I'm feeling done with writing this, but I'd rather not write a big huge fat paragraph about myself! Suffice to say, things are much the same with me and I'm enjoying life.

and the photo that didn't make it to the Christmas card...
Happy, Screamy, Sulky- and Silly in the back
Here we are on our way to seeing the Metrolink Holiday Train.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Frannie- "Adam! Stop shooting all the time! I don't want you shooting me anymore!"
Adam softly..."But I'm a boy. I have to shoot."
Frannie- "Well then go shoot somewhere else! Girls don't like to be shot at!"

Adam was talking to me one day and said something about when he has a son. So I tell him, "You know, before you have a son you have to grow up and have a wife first." Adam says something unintelligible that sounds like "fat wife".
So I say, "You want to have a fat wife?"
He says, "No, I want a straight one." "And she should play tennis."

Natalie says to me as she's suckling on her pink blankey: "I not a baby eny-MO!"
"You're not Mommy's baby?"
"Ok Nattie, you're not a baby." (I don't care what she says, she's still my baby!)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Today was a perfect day

I wrote this post back in March 2011 
I just wrote my status update on Facebook that "Today goes down in the books as a perfect day." And it does.

Today was one of those days that from start to finish had an elegant flow of contentment and joy and productivity. It was an average day in many respects, but noteworthy in that everything good that can happen in one of my average days, did indeed happen.

On days like today, I love being a stay-at-home-mom and think that this is the best job anyone could have.

In the morning I made the kids egg burritos for breakfast and helped Frannie get ready for school. I did her hair as I always do and packed her a lunch. When I got home from taking her to school I began to tackle my kitchen and it was nice to just pat pat through the house doing my little morning chores. The kids were playing together so nicely this morning, no yelling, screaming or whining. Just the sounds of pretend choo choos and talking and whatever else they were doing. It had to be the most gorgeous day I've seen in a long time so the sun was coming in bright through the shutters and the breeze was coming in through the slider. It was just a beautiful day. I did have a pile of dishes overflowing in my sink, but since the kids were playing so nicely, I was able to have a relaxed conversation with a friend as I was doing my work.

Natalie went down for a nap at 11am. I made myself a tortilla wrap sandwich for lunch. Adam got PB&J. . I started the wash for our master bedroom sheets, comforter, pillow cases, etc... I've had two new king-sized pillows stashed in the closet for awhile, so today we not only got freshly cleaned bedding, but new pillows to enjoy as well. At 12:20 we left on our walk to pick Frannie up from school. The sun was just the right amount of heat and it was one of those days when I really did breath deeply and look up at the trees and enjoy the moment. I love watching Adam peddling away so well on his bicycle. I push Nattie in the stroller and always stop to pick a long strand of fox-tail grass for her to hold. Lately I've been arriving at Frannie's classroom a little bit early so I can help the teacher with any odds and ends like taking stuff off of bulletin boards or putting things up. Today, I put up new spring decorations on the classroom door.

When we got home, Fran had her snack and then Omar came over to play, so from that point on the kids were mostly outside in the front yard until dinnertime. They were in and out of course, (Frannie was inside for awhile watching her favorite Gilligan's Island and doodling a book "My Frend the Fairy") but the fact that they were mostly occupied and happy meant that I could continue with my pat patting through the house as I finished laundry and picking up. I started dinner at 3:00 and fried up some taquitos with last night's left-over pork roast, and made some guacamole and black beans. We ate at 4:30.

At 6pm I called everyone back inside for baths. Everyone got his/her hair washed. Clean jammies. At 7:30 all were in bed and I spent my evening watching American Idol (which is the best season in a long time if you ask me) and crocheting my blanket that is taking forever to finish.

And that, is a perfect day. (Oh! AND I started making my sourdough bread today. It's going to rise through the night.)