Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday, December 31
{365/365} Today is New Years Eve, 2009. Today we will eat "junkie food" and play Guitar Hero. Today we will say good-bye to an entire decade and I'll say hello to my 40th year. Today it will snow. Today we will watch the "ball" drop and have a champagne toast. Today we hope for good health and happiness for 2010 and today I'll pray that in 2010 Liam finds his "words." again. For me today is bittersweet because I finish a project that's been a labor of love for 365 days. "Project 365" concludes today and I leave it with undying gratitude. It's been sort of life changing for me, allowing me to focus on everyday life and not just letting it to pass me by. Although I've been scrapping for years, this one project has changed my perspective and I'm proud I was able to see it through to the end. Today I'll say goodbye to 365 but I'll look at life in a different way. To those that have taken the journey with me, I thank you for your support. I know I took the "journaling" very seriously and had so much to say. For me, it was an important part of the process. Moving forward, I have new ideas up my sleeve and plan to resume a project again in May. Until then...goodbye 365 and thank you for such an insightful and exciting 2009!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday, December 30
{364/365} This is my life. I have a beautiful, intelligent, creative and dramatic eight year old. I have a delicious, curious, smart...and Autistic, twenty-nine month old. My epileptic and neurotic "fur baby" of nine years, has two metal knees and enjoys licking walls and jumping at shadows. My husband of 13 years (and who I've known for 19), is overworked in the television business and longing to spend more time at home. My house is "lived in" and that's how it goes. The laundry is clean but often remains in baskets. The garage is full of useless stuff that will eventually be thrown away. We have stacks of CD's and DVD's in our bedroom which were displaced when our cabinets started housing therapy toys. My scrap room/office is often a mess with several unfinished projects and bits of paper lurking everywhere. On my desk under a clear protector it reads, "I'm creative, you can't expect me to be neat too.". Emily's room is pink, Liam's is blue and if I had any strength at all, I would paint my scrap room pear green. I'm tired. My life took off in a different direction than expected and I'm still trying to gain control. I desperately need to lose weight and that saddens me each and every day. Such a daunting task. I try so hard to get it all done...class mom, girl scout leader, newsletter writer, scrapper, mom, housekeeper, daughter, sister, wife, "chef," "doctor," "lawyer," on and on...but my multi-tasking skills are lacking these days. I do the best I can. My goal for the upcoming year is to try and take things one day at a time. To make a bit more time for myself. To keep it all together. Despite the challenges, no matter what, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm very lucky and I'm grateful for what I have, each and every day. :)
Tuesday, December 29
{363/365} During Hanukkah this year we were supposed to get together with Mike and Britt for a little celebration. Unfortunately, Britt was really sick and we had to go on with the Chinese food and lakes without them. :( Rescheduling isn't always easy but luckily both of them had the week off! So, after two hours of therapy for Liam and an extremely emotional doctors appointment for Emily (which involved a "finger prick") they came over for a post-Hanukkah celebration. Although there were no latkes, we did open gifts and dined on Chinese food. We had a great night which ended with me showing Mike the "Munchos" entry on my 365! I was thrilled to get such a great photo as I wind down this year long project.
Monday, December 28
{362/365} Frank has been working with Michael for over ten years and Mike's family owns both a restaurant and a wine store in Manhattan. Last year for the holidays, Michael gave us a gift certificate for the restaurant which we knew would be a challenge to use. It's not that we don't want to go, but arranging such a thing is never easy! This year Michael gave us a gift certificate to the wine store and I finally decided that we had to work this out! Tonight Frank and I had a "date," while my mom stayed home with the kids. We had an amazing meal at i Trulli which included pumpkin ravioli for me and braised short rib for Frank. We then went across the street to Vino to purchase some wine. To end the evening we stopped into "Mustang Harry's" where a few of our old friends from our college radio days (WONY) were hanging out! How fantastic it was to have a great meal, drink a little wine, schmooze with old friends and feel like an adult for a change. I do love my kids but I certainly would like to do this more often. :)
Sunday, December 27
{361/365} In addition to seeing my kids happy on Christmas morning, I have to admit, emptying out Riley's stocking is also a highlight of my day! Each year I get her new bones, squeak toys and for her 9th Christmas, I got my pretty, girly pooch a new pink collar with a matching leash! Tonight Frank and Emily went to Frank's Aunt's house (for a second Christmas dinner), while I hung out at home with Liam and Riley. Miss Riley had a grand old time playing on her back, surrounded by all of her holiday goodies.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Saturday, December 26
{360/365} I love the day after Christmas. We get to wind down and the kids get to play all day long. The house is always a mess and everyone is a bit hyper but we have no where to go and that's the way we like it! After Emily and Daddy made the Jamba Juice and we played a few games of Sorry Sliders...after Liam played a symphony on his new Little Einstein Piano and spilled a bunch of crayons out of his dump truck...I captured a sweet moment with Emily and Liam. Nope, this wasn't one of their new gifts, it was a video on my iPhone that made the two of them so happy. I wasn't offended in the least because for me, looking at them so content, is the best gift of all. :)
Friday, December 25
{259/365} Merry Christmas! The magical day began at 9am, luckily we have excited yet sleepy kids who don't wake us up at the crack of dawn. Santa was nice enough to leave Emily the Jamba Juice maker and Jewelry Design DS she was desperate for and Liam received his Little Einstein piano and Plex microphone. In addition to the Santa gifts, Emily was in shock when she got the iPod Nano and pink dock/dual alarm clock that she didn't even know she wanted! The look on her face was priceless when she found out we loaded it up with a ton of songs including both Glee CDs, HSM 2 and 3, Mamma Mia AND All the Single Ladies! LOL We ended the morning with Frank's delicious Emeril Breakfast Bread Pudding and by 1pm headed out to Frank's family in Staten Island. As always it was a really busy day and once it's over we can hardly believe it ever happened!
Thursday, December 24
{358/365} Christmas Eve and all is calm. This year Emily wrote her note (a bit late as usual but somehow she always gets what she wants) and a note from her brother as well. We leave out the cookies, milk and carrots each year to show Santa how much we care. To be perfectly honest, I thought Santa could use some coffee with that milk. I mean, he starts off on that sleigh so darn early and travels non-stop. Milk is nice, but I think caffeine could really do the trick. (Actually he could probably use a little eggnog but I don't want to promote drinking and driving). Thanks in advance Santa, we are looking forward to seeing what goodies are left under the tree...
Wednesday, December 23
{357/365} It's hard enough to lose a loved one during the holidays, but losing my dad only five days before his 57th birthday was like rubbing salt into a wound. :( I decided years ago, rather than mourn his death on this day, I would celebrate his life. As I always do, I went through my box of memories, looking at old notes and smiling as I took a whiff of Old Spice. I also decided to look through my "family memory" scrapbook that I put together in 2007. It took me years to get through it without breaking down but when I was finished, I made three copies (one for myself and one for each brother), each containing memories about our grandparents, parents, our house growing up, our dog, etc. Now I can look at this page with a smile on my face to go with the tears in my eyes. How lucky I was to have such a funny, intelligent and loving man as my father. We may have lost him seven years ago, but his memory will never fade away.
Tuesday, December 22
{356/365} I have such fond memories of making cookies as a kid. Our favorite was a simple sugar cookie dough with a "secret ingredient"...sour cream! We would pull out all of the cutters and sprinkles and have a grand old time decorating! We also had a fantastic cookie press that was beyond old but worked like a charm. (Sadly, it broke a few years back and we have yet to find another). Tonight Grandma Eileen came over to keep the cookie tradition going. Out came the pans, cutters and sugar and the fun began. It was Liam's first time decorating and he had a ball! Emily was in heaven as she made her sugary works of art, sneaking sprinkles along the way. A great time was had by all and we can't wait to do it again next year.
Monday, December 21
{355/365} When December rolls around, it's time for baking! Each year I make a bunch of my "staple" cookies, the same cookies we made as kids. Corn Flake Macaroons, Split Levels, Round Ball Cookies, Coconut Delights and Sour Cream Sugar Cookies. (Those are the kind you cut with cookie cutters and the sour cream adds a bit of something that's just so delicious)! I also like to try something new. Last year I made a lemon square while this year it was orange oatmeal cookies. I don't have as much time as used to so my Mom makes the most time consuming (Split Levels)... and I am so grateful! All of this baking is so involved, and I often wonder why I do it... but then I think, what would the holidays be without the cookies!!
Sunday, December 20
{354/365} I'm quickly realizing that just because a toy has a lot of colors or sounds or giant bells and whistles, it doesn't necessarily mean it's the most exciting toy for our kids. I remember having "Lincoln Logs" as a child and building away with such simple materials. As I wondered through Toys-R-Us last week, weaving through the aisles of "bells and whistles", I came upon a section of "Animalz". These are sweet little Eco-friendly, sustainable, recycled, hand-made, wooden toy animals that are the cutest darn things I have EVER seen! Liam took to them instantly, even giving his monkey a ride on the lions back! Being the obsessive, compulsive person that I am, I have no doubt that I will purchase several more of these farm/jungle creatures for Liam to enjoy.
Saturday, December 19
{353/365} On December 19, 2002 my 13 month old was quietly asleep in her crib while Frank watched TV and I scrapped Emily's first year. My brother Mike called around 10:30pm and that call would turn out to be the worst call I've ever received. My dad collapsed on the dance floor at this company holiday party...shortly after I was told that he couldn't be revived. That was dad, the rock of our family...was gone. There are still no words to describe the horror of that day or the literal numbness that I felt for a year afterward. How life would never be the same, the changes that have taken place in our family and that constant little empty feeling that still remains. On this day however, I chose a photo of my babies...a representation of all the good things in life. Each year on the Saturday before Christmas, the local fire department comes around with Santa on their truck, handing out candy canes to all of the wide eyed kids. THIS is what life is all about and on the worst of days when my mind wanders to the sadness of December 19th, I try to replace that image with the faces of the three sweetest little angels a mommy could have. :)
Friday, December 18
{352/365} Tonight is the last night of Hanukkah and I got more of a gift than I bargained for. The night started off just fine, Emily and Liam received their gifts and we had our holiday "closing ceremony." ;) At 9pm I started to work on some cookie dough, tucking it away in the fridge to roll out next week. By 10:30 my little night owls were in bed and started to clean up the giant mess I had made. I used the Cuisinart for the dough, leaving the sharp blade in the cabinet. Unfortunately, I wasn't smart enough to secure the blade because when I reached in to put things away, out came the blade, hidden by some other items. The good news is that my pinkie is still in tact...the bad news? OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That darn blade slid across my entire finger sending me into a silent panic. I quickly wrapped up my hand, not wanting to see what I had done. My first thought, "if I have to go to the emergency room, who would watch my kids?"...I simply wouldn't go! Frank was an hour away but mom and her boyfriend Bob just happened to have been out late. As I waited for them to arrive, I held up my wrapped left hand while cleaning with my could they come over to this mess?? ;) Luckily I was not in need of stitches and while I'm very grateful for that, it does NOT take away the heebie jeebie factor! Not a fun night but I did learn my lesson...always keep you Cuisinart blade in a visible and secure location!

Thursday, December 17

{351/365} Liam was too young to really understand the concept of "presents" last year. This year was different. It started with the Santa box. At first, he just didn't understand the concept but after a few days when we would say..."it's time for the Santa box" he would just come running! As far as Hanukkah, the first night he seemed excited, little did he know there were seven nights ahead of him. By night number three, I would yell "present time", he would run over to the TV, shut it off and literally leap into his chair at the table. Oh the look on his face! Tonight he chose a small Elmo from the box (that's Emily's Kooky Pen) and opened up a case full of Cars cars (from the movie). It's night number seven and we got the best smile EVER!
Wednesday, December 16
{350/365} Today Emily made gingerbread house number two! Each year her teacher goes all out, allowing her students to make fantastic houses. Each child has a box, graham crackers, white frosting "glue" and an INSANE amount of candy to work with! Although it was quite a chaotic sight, the children could not have had more fun. Gumdrops, M&M's, sprinkles, coconut, Skittles and other various pieces of candy were EVERYWHERE and each child was building with one hand and eating with the other. We had such a fun day and I got a big kick out of seeing all of the unique creations. I'll admit, when I woke up this morning I was in no mood for the chaos, but once I left the party I was so glad to have been there.
Tuesday, December 15
{349/365} You know how they say a kid only needs a box as a gift and he'll be happy? I think that still rings true. I wanted to get Liam a few really good sensory type learning toys, so I spent days reviewing all that Learning Express has to offer. Will this one be too difficult or would he be too bored with that one? On and on I went, finally settling on a cool set of interlocking blocks that I thought would be just perfect for him. The plastic came off the top tonight and instead of analyzing all of the contents or starting to build a tower, my little guy had something more fun in mind. The photo says it all. :)
Monday, December 14
{348/365} Emily was begging to make a gingerbread house this year. I often wonder if she actually likes making the house, or she likes eating all of the candy? Probably BOTH! When I went shopping I decided to buy two houses so we can make both a Christmas house AND a Hanukkah house. I never attempted such a thing but I couldn't pass up a good challenge. While Em was at school I put both houses together and decorated my Hanukkah house, complete with a menorah in the window and a dreidel chimney. She was so excited when she got home and couldn't wait to get started on her creation. I loved watching her work and I must admit, I ate my fair share of candy too. ;)
Sunday, December 13
{347/365} Ever since Emily opened "Glee Volume 1" last week, it 's been all Glee all of the time around here! "Defying Gravity", "Dancing With Myself" and "Sweet Caroline" are among her favorites. Last Sunday Emily put up a flyer that read..."Glee Dance! 5 stars. Tonight!" Yes, we were fortunate enough to take in dinner AND a show last week while Emily entertained us with interpretive Glee dances. I must have walked by this sign a million times and didn't realize until today that it was STILL UP! It also occurred to me that the kid actually gave herself 5 that's confidence for you! Looking forward to the next show when she gets Volume 2. ;)
Saturday, December 12
{346/365} About a year ago, Emily mentioned that she wanted to play the guitar. The thing is, she's not the type to want to actually learn OR practice, she literally wants to "play." I didn't think it was worth the expense of getting one at the time. This year however it dawned on me...I don't have to get her an electric guitar, I'll just buy her Guitar Hero for Hanukkah! She can sing AND play and I won't feel as if an instrument has gone to waste. Today Em and Frank had a fantastic time rockin' out to Band Hero..."Walking On Sunshine" was the popular song of the day. :)
Friday, December 11
{345/365} Emily looks REALLY happy in this photo...why? Hanukkah begins tonight! She's been talking about it since her birthday in November and the night is finally here. We spent the earlier part of the evening at our schools "pizza with Santa" (which is sort of funny) and now it's time for deli, latkes and gifts. A few minutes after I took this photo both kids got giant bean bag chairs (Emily has been begging for one) and Guitar Hero as well as a ton of gifts from my Mom (who joined us for the festivities and catered the event-LOL). It was a long but fun night and we're looking forward to 7 more celebrations to come!
Thursday, December 10
{344/365} When Emily was born we bought a set of infant monitors. Although our rooms were right next to each other, I was always afraid I would be too tired to wake up. When Liam was born, my brother and sister-in-law bought us the video monitors which is really cool. It came in handy since we expanded the house that summer and we were now one floor above both kids. Although Emily is eight, I still have both monitors just in case she needs me in the middle of the night. I have found however that Emily likes to use it to her advantage. On several Saturday mornings while I tried to sleep in, I would hear loudly, "I wonder if Mom is up yet??" This morning was my favorite..."attention mommy...I'm having a clothing dilemma and I don't know what to wear to school. Please come down soon and help me." I have to admit, when I bought those monitors eight years ago I had no idea what I was in for. ;)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wednesday, December 9
{343/365} In 1993, Frank and I moved into Manhattan. We lived in a very small one bedroom on the Upper East Side and certainly couldn't fit a Christmas tree in that tiny place. So, along with a Menorah, my Mom bought us a miniature Christmas tree. That year we purchased some small, tacky, drug store ornaments that we dated and loved. :) When we moved into a larger apartment around 1995 (I use the term "larger" loosely) we could fit a bigger tree. On it we placed two years worth of drug store ornaments and in addition we bought an equally tacky star for the top. We fondly named it the "Cha Cha" star. It was colorful and would blink and was a tacky mess...but we LOVED it! We used that star up until last Christmas when the darn thing died on us. :( After all of these years, Cha Cha was gone! I had no idea how to replace it until I came upon a sight for sore eyes in Target. Cha Cha's twin! The exact same style with a bit less "cha" since it only has white, blinking lights. That's OK, the tacky tradition lives on and we'll be proud to see our tree cha cha once again! :)
Tuesday, December 8
{342/365} The December holidays are here and the wall is changing. It's not quite organized just yet but this is how it looks so far. I've had a lot of fun looking for seasonal items this year and lucking out at Target! I was able to purchase the Peace sign as well as my cute metal Santa, snowman, owl and hanging reindeer. I also found an adorable "days 'till Christmas" figure where you change the little numbers each day. I purchased a second, painted it and now I also have a "days 'till Hanukkah" figure! My favorite however is the Christmas tree to the left with all of the hanging plaques. This was made by my friend Kristen and sold with Lusya at one of their craft fairs. I love it and just couldn't resist buying it because it's oh, so...scrapbooky!
Monday, December 7
{341/365} Today while shopping for candy and gingerbread houses I came across a bag of Munchos at the store. I haven't seen these chips in YEARS and I had to buy them! Just looking at them makes me laugh because they remind me of my childhood and my brothers. Tucked away in a box full of memories is a note written by my brother Mike. On October 14, 1984 (I was 14, Jay was 12 and Mike just turned 11) a note was quickly sent under my bedroom door. In Mike's handwriting it says..."Jodi, we are punisht and we are hungry. Please bring food. Love, Mike. P.S Bring munchos, drink, tape (what did he mean by tape??) and anything else you can find. P.P.S Jason says write back. P.P.S.S We are punisht because we couldn't get the leave thing (he means "leaf" thing) back where it is suposed to be and dad punisht us." Well, I have no idea what really happened to get them punished BUT I do know this is just about the cutest note ever and I'm glad I saved it! Needless to say, I don't remember if I did get them the Munchos and drink...but I'd like to think I did because I was the best big sister in the whole wide world. ;)
Sunday, December 6
{340/365} The weather in the North East has been so mild, it's hard to believe it's the month of December! That said, before we could take our deck umbrella inside, the snow began falling leaving a bit more than we expected. While this is nothing major, the first snow always has me wondering what Mother Nature has in store for us this winter. I love a good snow day and unlike most people, I always cross my fingers that we get a few each year! My town is big on sending kids to school icy roads or not, but I don't play that game. I will jump at the chance to avoid driving in such weather and keep my daughter home! Two weeks before the season is official and I can't wait to see what happens! (BTW if you are following this blog, that red pot in the center of the table is the one that refused to grow Emily's chives!!!)
Saturday, December 5
{339/365} I'm officially one of those Moms that has to sneak the good stuff into my son's food to get him to eat. I didn't realize how nice it was when Liam had about 10 items he would choose we are down to about five. I do try and give him food from Whole Foods or Trader Joes, knowing they usually don't contain a lot of junk. He makes the "blech" face when something looks too annoying is THAT? Meanwhile, he does enjoy a good muffin so I finally cracked open my "Deceptively Delicious" cookbook and chose the "Applesauce Muffins" (with hidden carrot puree). I cut them up so he would think they were your average, everyday muffin and somehow it worked! It looks like I'll be checking out that book more often and hopefully expanding Liam's culinary horizons. ;)
Friday, December 4
{338/365} This summer Emily wanted to "grow something" but all I know how to grow are indoor herbs. When we went shopping for outdoor plants for the deck, Emily chose a nice red planter and the only herb seeds they had left...chivies. We planted these seeds in a pot and watered the darn thing when needed and not one move did it make! The plants I purchased thrived (I was proud of myself) but the red planter was just as sad as the look on Emily's face. So, while at Ikea last month we found these cool little planters. Each came with a seed packet (we bought one parsley, one chive and one basil) and some tightly packed, dry soil. A couple of weeks ago we finally got to "planting" our seeds and look at that...they are growing! The new triumphant look on Emily's face is priceless and she's very excited to watch our indoor "garden" grow!
Thursday, December 3rd
{337/365} I'm not sure if it's obvious, but Emily really wanted the Glee soundtrack. ;) Being a former "show choir" girl myself, I took a liking to the show the first time I saw it. It wasn't until mid-season when Kurt lip-synced "All the Single Ladies," that Emily realized the show was worth watching. While I realize the subject matter is of a more mature nature, Emily's interest really lies in the music and who is singing what song. I get a kick out of the remakes and hearing some AMAZING singers! So, for purely selfish reasons I popped the Glee soundtracks into the Santa grab bag boxes knowing Emily would choose them fairly quickly. ;) I was right and in the past hour we've already listened to the Rachel/Kurt version of "Defying Gravity" seven times. I suspect she'll go for seven more...
Wednesday, December 2nd
{336/365} For some reason, one of my favorite things about Christmas is filling up the stockings. Again, since I'm Jewish I had no idea this was something Santa was supposed to do, so I sort of messed that up years ago. Regardless, I start gathering small gifts/candy/cute things for a few months and just toss them in the stocking bag for December. This year I realized that I bought way too much so I came up with a fun idea. In addition to the advent box, I put together Santa grab bag boxes. Each has a hole in the top (which will be covered with a flap of felt) so you can reach in but not see what you are getting. The boxes contain small gifts for each child...lip glosses, headbands, tiny frames, magnets, two larger gifts (the Glee soundtracks), etc. for Emily and small cars, wooden animals, holiday Weebles, etc. for Liam. One look at these tonight and both kids were just GIDDY with excitement!! It looks like this is something we'll do again next year. I'll have to start shopping for small gifts now...;)
Tuesday, December 1
{335/365} Being a Jewish girl, I knew little about Christmas customs while growing up. Each year I would see "Christmasy" cardboard boxes in the stores, not realizing they counted down (with chocolate), the days leading up to Christmas Day. A few years ago I found a more complex advent box in a catalogue and I just couldn't resist buying it. It looked like fun so I thought It was time to start that well known tradition in our home. Each day is assigned a drawer and in each drawer is a small ornament that is hung on a mini Christmas tree (which you store inside the box). Much to Emily's delight, the boxes are large enough to hold a piece of candy or small gift to be revealed along with the ornament each night. Tonight it all begins and although the ornaments are random, we do start decorating our mini tree with red beads each year. Em proudly hangs the beads knowing that this is the start of the most exciting and magical month of the year. :)
Monday, November 30
{334/365} The last day of November can only mean one thing...December is almost here. While I know I should be excited and looking forward to the "magic" of the season, the only vision dancing in my head is the insanity of trying to get everything done! Setting up the advent box, Hanukkah on the 11th, making dozens of cookies, class parties, gingerbread houses, decorating the tree, buying and wrapping all of the gifts, trying to act jolly while anticipated the day my dad died and his birthday a few days later and then there is Christmas Day...whew! I have also decided to make a bunch of gifts, each day working on just a portion of it's semi-intricate design. I'm making twelve so far, each one similar in design yet different in content. The recipients are well worth the effort which is why I hope I can actually pull this off. :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sunday, November 29
{333/365} I enrolled Emily in Gymboree in the spring of 2002 (when she was about 6 months old). My goal in doing this was not only to have a fun place to bring her, but to hopefully meet some other moms with kids the same age. That winter I met my friend Betsy and her daughter Halle and would eventually become friends with three other Moms...Tracy, Catherine and Pam and their kids, Maeve, Isabella and Samantha. Our "Princesses" have stuck together throughout the years and although we don't get together too often, we are still in touch. This is especially true around this time of year when four of our five girls celebrate their birthdays. Each Sunday after Thanksgiving is Isabella's party, this year was a Princess themed celebration at her home. While Emily is sporting quite a sarcastic smile (she said she's "over the whole princess thing" ), she still had fun with Halle...eating, chatting, complaining and wearing matching dresses. ;)
Saturday, November 28
{332/365} The Saturday after Thanksgiving is usually a nice, quiet day. We spend some time cleaning, organizing and winding down from the insanity of the previous few days. Today we decided to do what we've been doing for several months now...have our Saturday night movie night....just a bit earlier in the afternoon. As always, Emily has her giant bowl of popcorn and Liam his Goldfish crackers in a snack trap. As I was walking over to join them on the couch, I caught this image with my camera phone. It's just a very small moment in time but what an amazingly sweet moment it was.
Friday, November 27
{331/365} Today was a strange day. Each year we essentially celebrate Thanksgiving twice. Once on Thanksgiving Day with my family, Jay and Steph and my Mom and then "leftover" Thanksgiving day with the Rosens and my brother Mike and sister-in-law Britt the next day. We started this tradition years ago, loving the fact that it gave us an excuse to get together. Similar to Mother's Day weekend, we switch off houses each year to celebrate the holiday. This year however, most of the Rosen's couldn't be there, leaving us with a much smaller celebration. Despite the downsized crowd, we still had leftovers and we still had fun! Most importantly, my kids were able to spend quality time with Jay and Steph before they fly home tomorrow afternoon.
Thursday, November 26
{330/365} Today is Thanksgiving Day and in theory I should have taken a photo of the entire family eating. Instead, I chose this photo of Emily dressed like a cat. When her Aunt Stephy is in town, Emily tends to sequester her in her room to do all sorts of crafts or creative projects. This holiday was an exception since Emily decided to put on a "show." Out marched the pair, Steph wearing a pink hair towel (I have no idea why), carrying a toy piano. Emily emerged with whiskers on her face and a song with the name "Kitty Cat" written on a piece of paper. The pair proceeded to entertain us, Em the lead singer and Steph her piano player. Who knew we would get dinner AND a show for the Thanksgiving holiday?
Wednesday, November 25
{329/365} Each year on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, my brother Jason and Sister-In-Law Stephanie come up from Florida. It's been a while since they last saw the kids and Liam has come such a long way over the months. Would he impress them with his amazing eye contact or how he points out many of the letters of the alphabet? Maybe he would show them his mad skills when it comes to putting together difficult puzzles or the fact that he can "hoot" like an owl? No, Liam chose to demonstrate his ability to fit his small toddler size 8 foot into Uncle Jay's giant size 13 sneaker! I do have to give the kid props though...he was able to walk all the way into the kitchen and not fall on his little face. Bravo Liam! ;)
Tuesday, November 24
{328/365} I remember one Hanukkah when I was about 9 (I think) and it was time to open presents. How excited I was as I ripped the odd shaped gift open, only to find a...globe. A globe?? Did I ask for a globe? Did I want a globe? Why would you torture me like that? Unfortunately, the voices talking inside my head moved to my mouth and a giant complaint flowed out. My father, who rarely got angry at me (he saved that for my brothers), calmly sent me to my room for being ungrateful...which I was. I hated that globe but somehow it stayed with me throughout the years. It remained at my Moms house only to be returned to me with other childhood items when I turned 30. I stored the metal monster on a high shelf in Emily's room (having no where else to put it) and today she decided it was "cool!" It's basically a collectors item now since many of the countries have changed. Despite resenting this gift for so long, I got a big kick out of watching Emily play with it. I think my Dad is laughing...
Monday, November 23
{327/365} A ton of food on the counter could only mean one thing...Thanksgiving is just around the corner! We make nothing extravagant but it's all delicious and basically the same thing every year. Green bean casserole (can't have the holiday without it), my mother-in-laws broccoli casserole, home made mashed potatoes, spinach dip and this year I'm adding spinach croquettes! For no reason at all I also decided I would make egg creams, more Passover than Thanksgiving but why not? My Mom brings the rest so our feast is complete. Looking forward to spending a couple of days with family and friends. :)
Sunday, November 22
{326/365} Emily was so excited about her new locker, she started putting stuff in it while it was still in the living room! She just wanted to "try it out". ;) This locker is actually meant to go vertically but we realized we could take off the top and they could go side-by-side. On the left side is Emily's "school" stuff like notebooks and well, basically anything she wants! The right side is full of her craft sets and artsy things. Now that she has what she wanted, my only hope is that she manages to keep her room clean!
Saturday, November 21
{325/365} Each year my Aunt Fern asks what Emily wants for her birthday. Usually it's a toy of some sort, but this year it was different...she wanted a "locker." Needless to say, when I mentioned this, Fern was a bit confused. A locker? I then explained that one day Emily wanted to "play school" and placed one of my laundry baskets upright to be used as a school locker. She hung some things and placed books inside. Eventually I needed my laundry basket back so I mentioned that I would look for a locker. We found one at Ikea yesterday and Frank and his "assistants" put it together!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Friday, November 20
{224/365} Each week before Thanksgiving, Emily's school has three half days for conferences. The Wednesday before they have bagels for snack, the Thursday before is their "healthy breakfast" with a buffet of breakfast items and the Friday just a half day. So, like any good Mom would do, I kept her home to go shopping. ;) She has been BEGGING to go to Ikea, mainly because she likes to have their chocolate cake and jump on the beds. My goal was to buy her the storage locker she wanted for her birthday. We roamed around for a couple of hours and by the time she would have been home from school, beds had been jumped on, cake had been eaten and a locker was purchased. I should feel guilty...but I don't. ;)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thursday, November 19
{223/365} My brother Jason and I are 22 months apart and my brother Mike was born 16 months after Jason. I'm not sure how my Mom survived three kids so close in age, I can't imagine it was ever easy! That said, we were able to play together and keep each other company and we were almost always in the same school together. At one point I knew that if I was lucky enough to (finally) have another baby, my kids would be far apart in age. That upset me as I thought of my childhood and the relationship I had with my brothers. I never thought in a million years having kids so far apart would work out. I was wrong. Today Emily had a half day and we did some shopping at Target. I was able to get a wagon and Emily pushed Liam! How lucky I am to have these two and have an amazing helper like Emily. :)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wednesday, November 18
{222/365} Tonight was Emily's second "art show" since she started art class. Basically they open the art school and you can pop around from class to class looking at all of the projects. Emily took "Drawing, Painting and Printing" again and just loved it. I have to admit, she made some really cool projects and learned some exciting techniques. She really adored going to art school and I love her enthusiasm. While there we signed her up for the winter session where she will venture out and take a sculpture/plaster/clay related class. It looks like fun but if she doesn't like it I promised she can go back to painting in the spring.
Tuesday, November 17
{321/365} I can't remember when it happened, but I do know where Emily started using a straw for the first time. For quite a while Grandma Eileen was on a mission to teach her to drink from a straw until one day while eating lunch at the happened! For Liam it's been a challenge mainly because he is learning to use a whistle at the same time (apparently all of this "oral" stuff is preparing him for speech therapy). We have cups with straws, sippy cups with straws and even a special teddy bear cup with a straw. Each day we try and each day we fail...until today. Today Liam grabbed his teddy bear and sipped his water like a champ! Unbelievably, he grabbed his "slide" whistle and blew into that too...all on the same day. We are getting there! Way to go Liam!!
Monday, November 16
{320/365} About three months ago Emily started wearing headbands. She was always a barrette girl, but after a trip to "Justice" one day, she saw how cool headbands can be. So, we bought a few cool bands, a white one with a peace sign and some pink with little rhinestones, etc. It only took a week before the white one disappeared at school. Many tears were shed that day and Emily had to endure the "it's just a thing, it can be replaced" lecture...but I understood. On Friday Em came home with a story about her pink headband and how she lost it and how she put up signs and how she waited and how the gym teacher found it and how happy she was (and YES, she spoke in a run-on sentence)!! ;) It wasn't until this morning while cleaning out her backpack that I put it all together. She did in fact post "lost headband" signs in the school and it DID work! A creative solution that certainly paid off in the end. :)
Sunday, November 15
{319/365} In 2003 I heard of a new Broadway show, Wicked. I knew little about the show aside from the fact that Stephen Schwartz wrote the music...and that was enough for me. I bought tickets during previews (for my Mom's birthday), taking a chance that a show about the "early years" of Glinda and the Wicked Witch would be worthy of the high ticket price. I'm certainly a "seasoned" theatre goer and about 10 minutes into it, listening to the voices of Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth, I knew the show would be successful. I was blown away! As I left with a giant smile on my face (and knowing full well I would have to take my husband to see this amazing show), I decided to get my then three year old a "Wicked" shirt, way too big for her tiny body. For years I longed for the day I could take Emily. The day when she could appreciate the coolenss of this show. Today was that day! Not only did she fit into that shirt perfectly (no longer sold so I suppose it's a collectors item), she was completely blown away...just like her Mom. :)
Saturday, November 14
{318/365} Turning eight means getting a lot of creative and glamorous gifts for your birthday. Emily can't get enough lipstick, gloss and nail polish! One of the gifts she received was an electric nail glitterer (no kidding) where you place some sticky stuff on your nail, put your finger in this strange contraption and BAM, glitter nails! We are going into the city tomorrow and to prepare, Emily decided she needed a beauty treatment. Silver nails it is! I love that she's such a girly, girl and I get a kick out of seeing the excitement on her face. She was more than happy to take this photo and show off her new glamor treatment. :)
Friday, November 13
{317/365} Today was one of those chilly, rainy days where you can't wait to get home. Like every other day I parked at Emily's school ready for the long wait until pick up. Thirty minutes which are usually uneventful...until today. As I sat waiting, suddenly I looked to the left at a scene that would have made Alfred Hitchcock shutter...birds...a zillion birds...flew down onto the school field. I have NEVER seen anything like this in my life! They flew and landed for about 15 minutes, leaving before the kids would exit the building. It was quite a sight and a day I was grateful to have a camera handy!
Thursday, November 12
{316/365} The "Snuggie." A blanket with arm holes and probably one of the silliest products invented. That said, the moment that commercial hit the air waves Emily couldn't stop talking about it. She wanted one in the worst way, blue being her first choice and leopard print her second. When my Mom asked what Emily wanted for her birthday, I told her the one gift that would make her a hero...and it did! Yes, here is Emily with her favorite birthday gift. As silly as it is, she looks REALLY comfortable!