Friday, December 25, 2009

merry christmas

so i can't figure out how to post a video here.  i've been trying for two days and i have just about given up.  but it's cute and it explains why i haven't been around for a while.  i will keep working on it and get back to you. 

but in the meantime i wanted to pop in and wish everyone a wonderful christmas. hope it was full of fun moments, surprises and lots of good food.  see you all soon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

have you ever . . .

had a day where you felt like everything went wrong?  you know you run around trying to get things done and you can't quite cross anything off your list.  or you spend so much time trying to make a decision and then walk out empty handed.  or you buy something on the internet and then go into target and find it $30 cheaper.  or realize when you get home that you forgot to drop off the angel tree present at your daughter's school and it's been in the car all day.  or realize that you didn't fill your prescription and you are in desperate need of some pain relief.  or it's raining outside, all of the kids have been picked up from school and you remember that you were supposed to go to the store and get something for dinner.

well i am having one of those WEEKS.  it literally feels like the world is spinning around me and i need to get off the ride.  there are two weeks until christmas but only one week until the house is full of kids.  i have things to do, cookies to bake, presents to wrap.  i am a mess.  next week is full of class parties, holiday concerts and as much present buying as is possible and i really need to schedule a manicure somewhere in there.

and my hands aren't helping.  i went to an orthopedic specialist yesterday and he thinks it carpal tunnel or trigger finger.  my x-rays came out fine.  the question now is why?  hopefully one of the 12 viles of blood they took out yesterday will reveal the problem.  i have a nerve test next week and then i meet with dr. again on christmas eve to see if they have any answers.  in the meantime, i am wearing hand braces on both of my hands at night and taking advil to help with the discomfort.  he prescribed an anti-inflammatory but as i stated earlier it's still on the to-do list.

anyone else having a hard time?  i'm trying to keep it together but right now i just want to crawl into bed and sleep until new years day.

had to share this photo that i took this morning.  sofia was the snack girl and i brought tamales to share the posada tradition.  i also brought these clementines and i loved that they had christmas stickers. i am trying to get out of this funk and enjoy the holiday.

Friday, December 4, 2009

december daily - day 3

here is the page for yesterday.  i just finished it.  yes, we are throwing a holiday party on saturday.  we decided on a white christmas theme and asked our guests to come in white.  the menu is centered around white food, cheeses, tarts, ravioli, chicken, white wine, you get the point. 

today we had colonial day at school for jordan. each of the parents chose a station to host and we had to prepare and bring what was needed for the activity.  there was candle making, johnny cakes, quill pen writing, lanterns, even a classroom with a mean, old teacher (sorry michelle).  bobby chose games and i did quilt making.  bobby's group played horseshoes, had a three legged race, and made whirly gigs.  we made quilt squares and hand stitched leaves on them.

i was surprised at how much the kids enjoyed it, even the boys.  they caught on so fast and really made them look special.  we did have one little accident, a bleeder.  but he was ok.  we had lunch and then saw a presentation on the printing press.  they also had ben franklin visit the kids and talk about life in colonial america. 

everyone dressed up.  we opted to piece together costumes with stuff we had at home. luckily i still had jord's vest from when he presented a book report on ben franklin.  we added a long sleeved white shirt from old navy, a pair of sweats and bobby's socks and his tennis shoes.  sometimes comfort wins out over authenticity.

i felt more like an altar boy than a colonial woman but it worked for the occasion.  here i am with the school mistress, miss whipsemall.

i'm so glad we get to do this again . . . and again.  maybe we will invest in costumes for next time.  thanks sue for all of your supplies and help. 

have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

december daily - day 2

here is my page from yesterday.  the school does this really cool boutique.  a few of the moms, not me, go shopping throughout the year and gather gifts to supply the boutique.  we filled out a list and sent money for them to buy something for me and bobby, sofia and each other.  there is an adult to help them, but for the most part they choose what they want to give.  in the past we have gotten mugs, pens, bracelets, stuffed animals.  last year andrew got me these pretty heart earrings.  but the first year jordan gave me an ornament that said i was a special 'grandmother'?!  seriously, where was the adult on that one?!

i love seeing them carry their packages home and put them under the tree.  and they are so anxious to reveal what is in them.  one of my favorite things this season.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

december daily - day 1

I know i should have done a page with bobby's birthday but i loved this picture of sofia so i went with it.  i'll add b's birthday later.

and here is the cake.

pretty cool huh?  ice on the mountains, a waterfall, rapids and rocks. this is me

and this is bobby

it was good, butter cake recipe.  we've never had it before.  he did an awesome job.  but he has challenged me to make the next one better.  i accept the challenge!  we enjoyed our pizzas, drank some wine and ate cake.  it' hard having weekday birthday celebrations when the kids have school the next day.  everyone was tired this morning.

  it was a good celebration.  happy birthday b.  we love you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

here we go

can you believe it's december already?  seriously, where did the year go?  time is going by so fast and i haven't had a chance to catch up yet.  remember that post from bobby?  and the rest of my gratitude posts.  unfortunately, it's only going to get crazier. 

but . . . i am doing my december daily again this year.  i've completed it 2 years now and it is a book that i love looking back on.  it reminds me to keep it simple and focus on those little moments that make this month so special.  i am inspired by ali, of course, and molly.  i'll try and post my pages here when i can.  here's the page i did as my opening.  it sums up the month that awaits us.

today is also the first of four birthdays we are celebrating in our family this month.  my mom and dad and nephew all have birthdays in december.  but today it's all about bobby.  he is off at work today and hopefully someone is taking him to lunch and getting him a big cake.  tonight my family and bob and d are coming for dinner.  i am making 8 pizzas, and a salad.  he wanted to bake his own cake yesterday and wow, what a cake.  i'll share pictures later but let's just say there was food coloring, lots of chocolate frosting and lego figures involved.  i fell asleep before he was done and this morning i looked at it and was amazed at what he had created.  and if it tastes good i will hand over the spatula to the new ace of cakes.

so today we celebrate the first day of the last month of the 2009, the countdown to christmas, a birthday for a special guy and a peaceful day, cause it's about to get CRAZY!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

thankful: 11/18

for not losing my patience today when sofia refused to get out of the car, refused to put on her shoes and refused to get up off the parking lot floor when we took the kids to ccd tonight.  but i am really thankful that when we got home she apologized, hugged me and gave me a kiss without any prompting.  ahh, patience really does work.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

thankful: 11/17

for eating out nights that benefit the preschool.  first because it means i don't have to cook.  but i love when they put these events together and we get to eat with our friends and teachers and the school gets something in return.  tonight it was at the habit, a hamburger joint in our area.  and it was a reunion of old weekday friends and new cha friends.  we are thankful for the wonderful people we have met along the way.

Monday, November 16, 2009

thankful: 11/14-16

we had a lot to be thankful for over the weekend.

visiting angela and mike's new home.  it is REALLY nice.  my favorite part is the kitchen.  it will be a fun place to cook and celebrate.

visiting our old town.  we were in burbank early for some car repair and had breakfast at one of our favorite spots.  taking the kids back to burbank is always fun.  they get to see where bobby grew up and the city where jordan was born.

creative preschool teachers.  sofia's classroom was transformed into a forest today.  trees, sawdust, a tent, campfire and even styrofoam marshmallows.  it was so fun to bring snack in today and see the kids listening to a story and singing campfire songs.  i love this school too!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

thankful: 11/13

thankful for parent teacher conferences.  i have 3 of them today.  yes, even sofia has one.  hoping to learn something interesting about each of them.  i know in the end i will feel reassured that my kids are smart, well adjusted, good people.  can i ask for more?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

thankful: 11/12

for alternative medicine or whatever works for you.  i had accupuncture today for my hands, and shoulders.  it's a long story but between the accupuncture and many, many massages it will get better. i found the process interesting but not magical.  i definitely feel better and hope that tomorrow will be even better.  but if this doesn't work it's off to a hand surgeon and i will be thankful for that too.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


loving this idea.  and since my word for the year is gratitude i thought this would be the perfect time and place to share what i am grateful for today. 

1.  my daughter who sits through any meeting i drag her too.  and she gives me the perfect excuse to leave when things are getting drawn out.

2. my kids' report cards.  they came home today and we could not be more proud of them.

3. last night's thanksgiving dinner.  i have made a tradition of making a thanksgiving dinner before thanksgiving.  (and by making i mean stove top, boxed mashed potatoes, canned cranberries and a jar of gravy. hey, i'm not superwoman.  but i did roast a 3 pound turkey breast for 2 hours and i made a pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, so that has to count for something.) that way when it is the real thanksgiving we, i, don't feel like i have to eat everything because we only get it once a year.  and there are leftovers too, which means turkey paninis for dinner tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

life and planning

this is a random post of things happening around here.

we are  . . .

still playing with legos.  i don't think they will every get old around here.  considering bobby still loves them we won't be getting rid of them anytime soon.  i just wish i could be this talented.  i can make a very tall tower.

being silly.  but is that a surprise?  we have parent teacher conferences this week and i can't wait to hear what his teachers have to say.  i've been told that he is quite the funny man in class.  i love that they appreciate that about him but are also ready to calm him down when needed.  


standing on our head.  i should really look into gymnastic class for her.  she loves twirling and tumbling and can almost do a handstand by herself.  don't worry grandmas, we are there to catch her, most of the time.

she also loves wearing her tap shoes around the house.  click, clack all day long. 

her teacher conference is this week too.  kind of funny.

getting ready for christmas.  bobby and i had some free time on sunday thanks to grandma and grandpa tom.  we couldn't decide on a movie, he wanted district 9, i wanted this is it and precious wasn't playing close to home.  so we had coffee and started planning our christmas.  we made lists, looked at gift ideas online and even, sort of, decided we want to have a little christmas party.  it feels good to be on our way to an organized holiday season.  we even decided on our christmas cards.  yah for that.

i'm still working on grandparent's day but i am also getting started on my december daily album.  this will be my third year making a daily album all about our christmas season.  i love pulling out these books every year and looking at all of things that we are involved with.  but the most special thing of all is taking a few minutes everyday to think about the everyday that makes this time so special.  i feel like because of this i enjoy and cherish the season even more.

think about taking a few moments each day during december to think about, write or photograph something that makes christmas special to you.  i think you will be surprised at what you can capture.  and if you want to be inspired look here.

have a good week.

Monday, November 2, 2009

a sick but happy halloween

yes we were sick.  who knows if it was the swine flu or not.  The kids missed a few days of school.  i didn't have time to be sick.  i was helping with the halloween carnival.  so i waited until friday afternoon to get it.  and i'm really trying to get over it but it's not going well.

so we had the carnival at school on friday and it was a success, even if we didn't win the raffle for the apple laptop.  the boys couldn't come until later because they were on 24 hour fever free watch.  but they made it in time for lunch and a few carnival games.  unfortunately this is the only picture i have of sofia in her costume.  she came down with a fever on saturday and was too sick to join in the festivities.

bobby worked so hard on those costumes and the kids loved them.  pretty cool, huh?

we went to kernville on friday afternoon.  we had been told that it was so much fun, really small town, community feel.  and it was.  unfortunately i was sick and then sofia got sick.  but the boys were able to go trick or treating and enjoy the night.  they got a lot of comments about their costumes.  we had a barbecue and passed out halloween candy.  it was pretty cool.  check out the cute pumpkins they carved.

sunday morning we came home because jordan had his last swim meet.  he was tired, getting over being sick and really not in the mood to swim, but he managed to win three trophies in the three races he was in.  this guys is a superstar.  the coach asked him to join the club team which would involve year round swimming.  he's thinking about it.  maybe after basketball.

so everyone went to school today.  i am trying to stay awake.  and i have another event this month.  i am chairing our annual grandparent's day at school.  the invitations went out last week and i have a committee meeting tomorrow to get organized.  looking forward to thanksgiving this year and of course i am thinking about christmas.  see there is no time to be sick.

hope everyone had a happy halloween.

Friday, October 23, 2009

In case you didn't know

  • she is now going by the name victoria. not sure why, but we are going with it. today when i picked her up from pre-school the teachers sang 'goodbye victoria.' she's taking it very seriously.
  • she is an honorary member of our pto. she goes to every meeting and today she was helping us count tickets for the carnival. the ladies called her victoria too.
  • she is allergic to praying mantises. we had one outside our front door for 4 days. the kids named him george. but sofia, hmm victoria, told us all she was allergic to it.
  • she will be snow white for halloween. even if she tells you she will be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, SHE'S GOING TO BE SNOW WHITE!!  i already have the costume.
  • she is addicted to the fresh beat band.  and we have every show on our dvr.
  • we think she has a crush on thomas, a boy at school.  she talks about him all the time.  and he chases her on the playground.  it must be love.
  • she's been getting out of bed in the middle of the night.  i wish i was awake enough to send her back to bed, but she usually ends up in ours.
  • she can take a pretty good picture with my camera.  can't wait to give her her christmas present.
  • she will most likely go to kindergarten next year.  so i am enjoying this time alone with her.
  • she picked the perfect pumpkin at the patch the other day.  perfect.
  • she always says thank you and i love you.  and when she's in trouble she remembers to tell me i am the bestest mom ever!  thanks lovey.
having fun here.  spending our time on the halloween carnival, book reports, spanish projects, homemade halloween costumes, taking the most amazing online class by my favorite life artist and swim meets, two medals last week, one was for first place. 

sorry i haven't been updating.  but i will try.  have a good weekend.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

how did this happen

i know that we are behind on our travel update.  bobby started a post and just hasn't had a chance to finish it.  we will. 

but i wanted to post something today to celebrate sofia's birthday.  i truly cannot believe that she is 4.  this seems like such a momentous birthday.  she has moved out of the baby and toddler stages and is a full blown little girl.  we are celebrating her birthday at school with cupcakes and pep-che-crack, pepperoni, cheese and crackers.  (our friend the fraziers introduced us to that term.)  bobby took the day off and we are taking her to lunch.  and then our family is coming over for dinner and a pink party.  really looking forward to putting it all together.

i love this little girl.  she made my dream of having a little girl come true.  she is loved by her brothers, adored by her father and spoiled by her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  but i have a deep love for her.  she is my 'lovey'.  she takes care of me. she is my lunch mate.  she is my shopping partner.  the other day she said, mom i want to go to the mall.  i was so proud.  no really.

i wish her the happiest birthday a little girl could have.  may it be full of surprises and  PINK!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

wait for it

new post coming soon. this time bobby is telling the story . . .

Friday, September 18, 2009

day 6 or 'has it really been 15 years?'

today we said goodbye to rosignano marritimo . we had such a great time here and know that we will be back, maybe with the kids next time. we were excited to head out of town to our next destination firenze.

again we had our map in hand. but honestly i did not know where we were going. and right off the bat we missed the toll road entrance. we drove and drove but never picked up a ticket. finally we stopped to get gas and found out that we were on the regular road. but at least we were headed in the right direction. we were told not to drive in florence because the roads are so small and everyone gets around on foot. once we entered the city we understood what they were talking about. lots of one way streets, construction and lots of people. i think we passed the hotel about three times before we finally got there. i was frustrated but so thankful that bobby was able to figure it out and get us there. i told him that if i were driving i would have stopped in the middle of one of those roundy-rounds and just started crying. seriously.

i had found a bed and breakfast on the internet with good reviews. the best part was the location. just a block away from the duomo. and we got the room with the terrace. here's a view from it looking toward the duomo which was around the corner to the right.
we unpacked, got instructions from the manager, alessandro, who was soooo nice and spoke incredible english. he gave us directions to the american express office and off we went. ok so here comes the story:

before leaving LA we purchased traveller's checks just to be safe. we had some cash, dollars, and when we landed in rome we exchanged 1 $100 check for euros. we thought the rates would be bad at the airport and just figured that we would exchange the rest once we got to rosignano. the problem was that the town was so small that the bank didn't take the checks. and when we were in a place that had a bigger bank we were always there when they were closed, which was a big portion of the day. mental note: if we ever move to italy, work for the bank. we exchanged some of the cash we had and basically paid for food, souvenirs, etc. with our credit card. by the time we got to florence we were cash poor, really. but we were in luck because there was an american express office here. so after walking by the duomo and bapistery we went looking for the office. well, guess what? it didn't exist. we asked, we looked, we walked, we googled. we have no idea what happened but there was no american express office anywhere. we passed a few change houses but their rates were worse than the banks and they charged a commission, and by that time the banks were, you guessed it, closed. so we figured that we would just get by with what we had for one more day.

now, we were blown away by a few things in florence. i was in awe of all of the stores i saw; gucci, chanel, cartier, tiffany's, fendi. not that i shop at these places but i dream about it. we were shocked by the prices. the exchange rate was almost $1.50 to 1 euro. so whatever price we saw on the ticket we still had to add 50% to get the dollar amount. yikes! i guess i won't be doing much shopping here anyway. we were surprised and comforted by how much english we heard. not just by the locals but there were a lot of american tourists and other europeans that spoke english. and we were amazed that around every corner was a church, or a museum or a sculpture that we have seen in books or movies or on tv. it was almost overwhelming.

it was also a huge change of pace from where we came. this was a lively city. people were dressed with sophistication, well except for us tourists. there was a hustle and bustle that we didn't feel when we were in rosignano. we almost felt like we should have started our vacation here to ease into the lifestlye and then head to rosignano to relax and unwind. but in a way this helped ease us back to a more normal way of life for us.

we saw ponte vecchio, the bridge lined with shops. florence is known for its leather and gold. i had every intention of getting both, but ended up just window shopping.
hmm could he be picking out an anniversary gift? nope. we thought about splurging on something for each of us but it would have been a big splurge. i walked into one of the shops and overheard an american say 'these prices are ridiculous. you could shop at tiffany's back home for the same price.' now there's an idea . . .

we went back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready to go to dinner. a friend of mine recommended a restaurant but we were not able to get a reservation. so alessandro told us about coquinarius, a place just a few blocks away. we had reservations at 8pm for our anniversary dinner. it was packed when we got there which was a good sign and we got a table next to the staircase that led to the wine cellar.

elena, our server, took our order and made a few recommendations. we decided on the mixed crostini, volcano salad, gnocchis and pear and pecorino for after dinner. we also ordered a red wine that was AMAZING. we had so much fun talking and laughing about our vacation. and we made plans to see as much of florence as possible tomorrow. it really was perfect! after dinner they brought us a shot of lemoncello. now i am not a fan. i think it tastes like sweet furniture polish, but it was a good ending to our dinner.

we had also read in our book that there was a great gelato place just around the corner. when we got there the line was out the door. but we were willing to wait, until we found out that they only took cash and we were down to our last 2 euro. so no gelato for us tonight. we walked back to the uffizi museum to listen to the street musician play the guitar. there was quite a crowd. and he played one of my favorite songs, the theme from zefferelli's romeo and juliet. it was a happy moment. we also walked over to the ponte vecchio where there was another large crowd listening to another guitarist. it felt so surreal to be out and enjoying this music on the street.

so it was time for bed. tomorrow another full day of florence and maybe a few more euros to get some gelato.

to end this entry i have to take a moment to declare my love to the best guy in the world. he truly made this trip a vacation of a lifetime. and he has given me the most amazing 15 years. he is an outstanding father. he cares so much about our family. he always makes me feel loved, even when i am having a bad day. and the best part of all is that he makes me laugh, everyday. he is dedicated, has such a kind spirit and is the most talented person i know. i am so honored to be his wife. thanks for making my dreams come true. i love you!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

day 5 or 'our favorite town & the best pizza I've ever had in my entire life'

so are you bored yet? i'm half way through the trip. just a few more days to go.

today we had 2 villages we wanted to visit. and we wanted to make it home in time for dinner at the house. remember we were trying to save money. so another town that was recommended to us by the locals and our travel guide was the village of volterra. one thing that drew us here was the excavated roman theatre. that was our first stop. we got to walk along the path and see the remains of what would have been the stage and the seating area for the audience. we tried to imagine what kinds of plays were presented. just beyond that you could see the bath houses. lots of after party fun must have happened there.

we saw the main piazza, palazzo del priori, the oldest town hall in tuscany. we didn't go to the duomo or the bapistery or the museum but we fell in love with the feel of this town. narrow streets intersecting with each other. shops and homes. a beautiful park that had an entruscan acropolis where archeologists were conducting a dig. history was being uncovered right before our eyes.

volterra is known for its alabaster. and we saw it in all shapes and colors. we ended up getting 2 little souvenirs to remind us of this place. a small alabaster heart and a wine stopper. there looked to have been a festival recently because there were banners, flags and ribbon hung throughout the town. we also stopped into a toy shop to get a doll for sofia and look for italian pokemon cards. no luck on the cards here. (we eventually found them in florence and the boys thought they were so cool. )

it was lunch time. we did do the tourist thing and walk around with our map and our guide book. but we weren't the only ones. we used the book a few times to get recommendations for restaurants or cafes but they were either closed or not there anymore. so we went on instinct. our lunch place served, pizzas, salad and pasta of course. we sat inside and ordered the sausage pizza with mushrooms and olives and the gnocchi with pomodoro sauce. ok, let me relive this moment. if there is one thing i strive for when cooking it is making a good pizza. i know exactly what i like; paper thin crust, light tomato sauce, not too thick, not sweet, more acidic, just the right amount of cheese. i have tried to make it at home and just can't get it right. well, this pizza blew me away. perfection on a plate. the gnocchis were ok, but the pizza was OUTSTANDING. you could fold it in half, it was light, cracker like crust, simple ingredients, tangy, from the olives and the perfect amount of cheese, but not oily. mmmmm. ok, thank you for that.

we then took the road about 15 miles inland to the town of massa marittima. i wanted to see it because the book said that it has 'one of the finest squares in tuscany', piazza garibaldi. we went inside the duomo, sat on the steps of the church, and walked down the main street. we passed a fabric shop with a beautiful tablecloth in the window. we asked the lady how much it was and tried to get measurements but she did not speak english. i tried my spanish, bobby tried some italian but we were not communicating. finally another woman entered the store and she spoke english and was able to translate for us. we left the shop with a gorgeous piece of fabric that i will have made into a tablecloth.

finally, we had a cappuccino at the enotecca, wine shop. seriously, each day just kept getting better and better.

we went back to the house and walked around the village for a while to take in the view. dinner this night was the pork chops with pesto and my version of pasta e fagioili. i need to practice that. and then we battled it out at skip bo. allen's neighbors, simone and valentina stopped by to check in on us. we spent the night talking about politics, sports, movies and life in general. it was such a fun night. and of course i had to get a picture of our new friends. thank you for making us feel at home.

tomorrow we pack up our things and head to firenze for our anniversary. . .

in other news
sharing some things that are making me happy today
  • getting a note from my former boss at dreamworks. i have been trying to contact him for years and he found me. one reason to love facebook.
  • b bringing me a pumpkin spice latte this morning. we are on a starbucks diet hoping to pay off our vacation debt. thanks for the surprise honey. it was totally worth the wait.
  • CHA. i've said it before and i will say it again. i love the kids' school. we had back to school night for jordan last night and tomorrow it's andrew's turn. this school is the perfect place for our boys. love the teachers, love the other parents, love the kids, love, love, love.
  • feeling like i have some kind of a schedule to my day and week. really working on getting things organized so that the house runs smoothly and i am not always in panic mode. getting things crossed off my list, except for the laundry. it can't always be perfect.
  • thinking about sofia's upcoming birthday. my baby is going to be 4?! seriously, it went too fast. coming up with ways to celebrate. somehow i think princesses will be involved.
hope you are having a happy wednesday.