## Friday, December 27, 2013

### Algebra, Take II

Ellie: Mommy, what's E + 1?
Mommy: What do you mean?
Ellie: What is E plus 1???
Mommy: Well, what's E?
Ellie: No, Mommy. Just guess!
Mommy: Uh.... 7?
Ellie: Nope. E + 1 = F. A-B-C-D-E... F!!!

## Tuesday, December 24, 2013

### When I Grow Up

Mommy: What about you, Ellie? What do you want to be when you grow up?
Ellie: what are those people called who run and swim and...
Mommy: Tri-atheletes?
Ellie: No.  They do sports and stuff?
Mommy: An athelete?
Ellie: No.  The people who do all the REALLY cool stuff?
Mommy: Olympians?
Ellie: YES! I want to be in the Olympics when I grow up! And now that I can dive into the water, I am ready already!

### I stand corrected

Mommy: This is the third day that Addie has had diarrhea. I am not sure what to think of that.
Addie: No, Mommy. This is my LAST day being sick! No more!

### Algebra Take 1

Ellie: Mommy, what's 4 plus T?
Mommy: Uh... I don't know. It depends on what T is.
Ellie: No, Mommy. What's 4 plus T?
Ellie: Ugh! Mommy,it's FORT. Get it?

### Ellie's Goals

She ran out of goals.  We started them in May I think and since then she had averaged crossing off one goal every king.

Complete level 1 swim class - CHECK!
Do a cartwheel - CHECK!
Ride a 2 wheel bike - CHECK!
Complete level 2 swim class - CHECK!
Master the monkey bars - CHECK!
Complete level 3 swim class - CHECK!

And now,  the moment we have all been waiting for; the ultimate goal of all goals...

Get into dive class - CHECK!

This girl ROCKS!

How many of those items can you do?  In all honesty I might be able to do only 3 of them. Notice the question in the tone of my voice.  It is so strange to have your child surpass you in so many ways!  And do soon!

### When I Grow Up

Mommy: Addie, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Mommy: But what do you want to be when you grow up?

### Wish List

Ellie wants an American Girl doll for Christmas this year. The way she describes it is that it's a doll with an American flag dress. The skirt is red and white stripes and the top is blue with stars.

Little does she know what an American Girl doll really is and little does  she know just how close she came to getting one.  Mommy originally bought the girls each an American Girl doll but it didn't take long for the buyer's remorse (\$110 each) to set in.  In the end, the dolls were returned and cheaper versions were bought.

As luck would have it... Ellie's cheaper doll came with a dress that has a red and white stripe top and a blue shirt.  Score!

### That hits the spot

Addie walked up to Mommy from behind, put her arms around Mommy for a hug....

Mommy: Oh that feels good!
Addie: X marks the spot!  (tightening her hold by choosing her arms)

This girl has a natural ability to say the perfect thing at the perfect time.  It makes me smile and laugh every time.

### Too much Netflix?

I am loving Addie's natural sense of humor.

### Words, or not

I absolutely love the words that kids make up yet they make perfect sense.  My recent favorite comes from Addie...

I like all the colors of the rainbow but-cept black.

I think it's time to pay but-cept I think it is bedtime instead.

## Tuesday, November 26, 2013

### Random Smile

Look what my girls and I marveled at one day. It certainly lifted our spirits.

Shoots Sparkles

## Monday, November 11, 2013

### Grey

I love the fact that Michael and I have absolutely no problems with the seemingly sudden appearance of grey hair on our heads. It's all part of the plan. You know, the "growing old together" plan.

## Friday, November 08, 2013

### Ellie's Parent Journal

Once a week Ellie comes home with her parent journal. Each time we get a special hand-written letter, though recently they've been for Addie rather than us lowly parents.

And of course the lucky recipient has to respond. Take a close look, everyone! After Daddy helped Addie out a bit, she signed her name ALL. BY. HERSELF. Do I hear a Whoop! Whoop! ??

## Thursday, November 07, 2013

Life is too short for critics.

## Wednesday, November 06, 2013

### Fine by me!

Ellie: Mommy when Daddy is out of town, it's my job to do his job, ok?
Mommy: Does that mean you're going to take good care of Addie and me?
Ellie: Yep! And it means I get to cook dinner!

## Tuesday, November 05, 2013

This year might not be going exactly like I had planned and hoped for, but if there is one thing we're doing right, it's our monthly date weekends. Bliss.

## Monday, November 04, 2013

### Ellie's Date

For October's date night, we stumbled upon an art studio. How fun is that? We're talking SERIOUS fun here.
Ellie's side of the tree looks happy-go-lucky. I think my side needs to relax and enjoy the breeze. That being said, they were made with love so they're perfect. Ellie already knows what we're going to do with them. They will have a place of honor in her new bedroom when we move into a new house next week.

## Friday, November 01, 2013

### Best Friends

They sure are getting big, aren't they?

## Thursday, October 31, 2013

### Halloween 2013

Upon first glance you'd think this is a picture of a witch and her black cat, but you'd be wrong.

According to Addie, "I'm a witch kitty, and dis is my witch!"

## Tuesday, October 29, 2013

### Self-Portrait

I especially LOVE the fact that she included details such as which teeth she was missing.

## Monday, October 28, 2013

### A "just because" letter

When asked why she wrote this letter, the response was "Just because I wanted to."

## Friday, October 25, 2013

### Limited Options

Addie: I don't have gentle hugs to give. I only have this kind! (followed by her patented full-body squeeze).

## Thursday, October 24, 2013

### Leaf Magic

I know I say it every time the season changes, but I swear **THIS** is my favorite!

## Wednesday, October 23, 2013

### Growing Up

It is always quite surprising to me when either of the girls does something out of the blue that seems so mature.

For as long as I can remember, Addie has always LOVED to wear dresses and skirts. She says that they make her feel so pretty and nice. She was born to love dresses. So imagine my shock that ever since she turned 4 on her birthday a week ago, she has been wearing PANTS more often than not. When asked why, she responds with a question in return. "Do I look like a teenager?" All the while, with a sly grown-up look on her face. I admit, when she wears a pair of jeans, there is no sign of my baby girl. Just a kid that has taken her place.

Today when Ellie rode the bus home from school, she walked herself home, came in the door, and without saying much more than a "Hi, how was your day?" she went to the kitchen, got a piece of bread out and a plate. Then she proceeded to make herself a sandwich for a snack. She even made me one too because she could tell I wasn't feeling very well.

When did this happen? When? Tell me!

## Tuesday, October 22, 2013

### Dippin Dots

I love eating Dippin Dots ice cream with the girls when we go out to watch games.

Ellie shares with Daddy and they have a competition over every bite, often stealing from each other's spoon.

Addie shares with me and is so generous that she gives me the first and last bites and even the large cookie pieces.

Life is good.

## Monday, October 21, 2013

### Rocket Boosters

In trying to get the kids to move faster, Daddy asked them where their rocket boosters were. After only a few minutes, Addie caught on like a pro. Every time she stepped up the speed, she'd announce "ZOOMER BOOSTER!"

## Saturday, October 12, 2013

### Math

Barely a month into the school year (considering she didn't have school for a few weeks because of the floods) and Ellie has officially told me that she no longer likes math at school or at home. She says it's too boring. I don't blame her. The girl is WAY ahead of the silly stuff that first graders are learning. She can add and subtract single digit numbers with no problem, two digit numbers fairly well and can even cross over into negative numbers. She can multiply single digits and do a few simple division problems. Seriously, this girl just GETS it.

And thus she's bored with what they're learning now. Sigh. Unfortunately I do not think there is a good short-term solution. She will be changing schools soon but I think we'll come across the same problem there. We would like to get her into a Charter school but most likely can't do that this school year. I have found some math games that she can play on my phone but beyond that I'm not sure I have many options right now. Wish me luck in keeping this girl challenged!

## Friday, October 11, 2013

### Bedtime

Addie and Ellie both asked me to come snuggle with them before I go to bed. I asked them how would they know if I did or not and we agreed that I would leave the door open and that is how they would know that I had been there. So when bedtime for Mommy came, I kept my promise.

I loved that in going into Addie's room, and giving her a hug and a kiss on the cheek, a great big smile comes across her face.

I loved that in going into Ellie's room, and giving her a hug and a kiss on the cheek, she groans a grumpy "quite bothering me" sort of groan and snuggles back into bed.

Complete opposites and I love them both.

## Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Addie's day was just about perfect. First she got to open her present from Ellie, which was a fancy PURPLE dress that Ellie bought with her own money. Then Mommy FINALLY gave her a gnome that was made just for her. As luck would have it, the two matched perfectly.

I asked her how it felt to be 4 years old and she just grinned and reassured me that someday she will be my baby again.

Daddy asked her what she wanted for breakfast and it was a small miracle that he was able to give it to her, considering how little food we really have in the house. A few minutes later they were served a plate of green eggs and green ham. Nicely done, Daddy.

After walking Ellie to the bus stop, I told Addie what the plan was for the day. It wasn't anything super special. Get treats for her classroom, drop her off at school while Mommy ran a couple errands, Mommy would pick her up early, come home to play some games, take a nap, then go to the store with Gramma. After laying the plan out, she had a great big grin and very sincerely sighed and said "Thank you, Mommy. Thank you." The girl is 100% sweet.

I think the most note-worthy thing to post about, though, was her reaction to Ellie. They get along very well, but usually it's because Addie is willing to go along with whatever Ellie says to do. Addie knows how to humor Ellie, even if she doesn't agree with her. But her birthday was different. Ellie was trying to talk Addie into doing a race to see who got to keep the big present. Addie knew the present was hers and didn't want to fool around with a silly race that she knew Ellie would win. As such, she said no. Ellie kept begging. Finally Addie said, "I don't have to. Today is my birthday and I can do anything I want... with good choices!"

LOVE that she stood up to Ellie and LOVE the disclaimer she tagged onto the end of her out-of-character "I can do ANYTHING I want" statement. This girl is so mature - definitely a wise old soul.

## Tuesday, October 08, 2013

### Form a Line

In picking Addie up from school, she runs to the door, excited to see Daddy. Then she stops in her tracks, turns to her classroom and announces "Who wants to give me a hug?!" Of course a handful of friends line up to do just that.

## Monday, October 07, 2013

### Voicemail

I love how when Ellie leaves a voicemail it's a strange combination of talking to a stranger and talking to a loved one. Her message to Daddy today sounded a little like this:

"Hi. My name is Ellie and I was just calling to tell you that you don't need to pick me up from school because I am running errands with Jennifer, who is my mommy. I hope you get this message soon because I don't want you to worry about me. Anyway, I love you!"

## Friday, October 04, 2013

### Big and Fluffy

Mommy: Big fluffy snowflakes!
Ellie: Oh my gosh! It's snowing!
Mommy: Big fluffy snowflakes!
Ellie: It's so pretty!
Mommy: Big fluffy snowflakes!
Mommy: Big fluffy snowflakes!
Ellie: Is it winter time yet?
Mommy: Big fluffy snowflakes!
Addie: No, it's fall time because it's my birthday some time!
Mommy: Big fluffy snowflakes!
Ellie: Mommy, why do you keep saying "Big fluffy snowflakes?"
Mommy: Big fluffy snowflakes!

## Thursday, October 03, 2013

### Niffer is a Landlord Again

Well, it has happened again. One more step towards world-domination. Not really, of course, but it's exciting none-the-less because we have bought another investment property. And again, whenever I walk into this place, I'm filled with the "Awww, I could live here" feeling, which I LOVE. Maybe someday I will do just that!

And, of course, I like saving the best part for last... HOLY MOUNTAIN VIEWS, BATMAN!!!

## Wednesday, October 02, 2013

### Family Totem Pole

According to Addie, "mommies and daddies take care of sweeties and sweeties take care of mommies and daddies," though that was quickly followed by the following totem pole structure: "daddies take care of mommies; mommies take care of big sisters; big sisters take of little sisters; little sisters take care of babies but since we don't have a baby, I'll take care of stuffies instead. And stuffies? They take care of nothing."

I love that she understands that this family takes care of each other, and that it's important to look out for those smaller than yourself.

## Tuesday, October 01, 2013

You'd think that the secret password would be something obvious like "please" but not according to Addie. If you asked her what the secret is to getting something she wants, it's in batting of the eyes. Every time she wants something and knows it's a stretch to get it, or even if she just wants to be particularly cute, she makes it a point to bat her eyelashes like nothing else you've ever seen.

## Friday, September 27, 2013

### Romantic expectations

Mommy did you know that my first True Love' s kiss will be at football?

## Thursday, September 19, 2013

### Soul Searching

A lot has been going on in the last few weeks and in some ways my life has been turned up-side-down. In other ways, it remains the same. We celebrated our 9th anniversary a week ago and got away to Manitou Springs with just the two of us. My love for Michael is still the same and the feeling we have as a team remains unchanged. Really, it's quite impressive when you think about it.

His gift for me? A journal that he wrote in every day for the last year. Every day he wrote about the things that he loves. Most of them were about things I've done, but many of them were things the girls have done. It was quite a feat - writing every day for an entire year - but the result was magical.

With the layoff, floods, down-sizing, etc... I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately and some of it has taken me by surprise. I really feel like Michael and I have made great strides this year in defining our priorities and living life to stay in alignment with them. So some of the thoughts that have come to mind in the recent weeks have taken me by surprise. Here are some, in no particular order:

In reading his journal there were a few references to how much Michael loves my blog and how we're documenting the things we love about parenthood, and how the little stories brighten his day and help him stay focused. In reading these entries, I was hit with the feeling of "Oh yeah! I love writing in my blog and I haven't been doing a good job of that lately." I've been a bit ho-hum on the whole parenting front. I wonder if the two are related. In trying to accomplish so many other things, the blog has kind of suffered for it. I really feel like that needs to change back.

Had you asked me a couple months ago what I would do if I was laid off, I would have said I'd jump all-in into the Beachbody coaching business. It would be, and is, so rewarding to help people reach their fitness and health goals, while attacking a real honest world-wide problem. So, it came as a surprise to me that when presented with the opportunity to do just that, I don't want to. I feel strongly that I'm not ready to give up my engineering background just yet. The engineering world has not seen the last of me!

Additionally, Michael has been more and more stressed by the business. What used to be the REASON he was able to improve his outlook on life and his priorities, now has become a hinder on those very same things. He has a family history of anxiety and mental break-down issues, and has started to feel some of those symptoms of anxiety for no apparent reason, other than it appears to happen when thinking and stressing about the coaching business. It's not worth it to us to risk going down that stress path. So, we are probably going to give up the coaching business all together.

We've spoken about what he would do with his time and we've come up with a few options that will really focus on the family AND his engineering career. So I am pretty excited about that. He is in a good place and feels like Beachbody and the people we've met deserve the credit for that, but it just got to a point where it was having the opposite effect on our lives than it was intended to do.

So that leaves the gnomes... I love the gnomes and their magical effects on me. I will be focusing on my gnomes again and that makes my heart sing.

As for my career, like I said... the engineering world hasn't seen the end of me. Wish me luck!

As for life in general, we've had a really big pull on our hearts to simplify. It's something we've been thinking for quite some time. I think it started when we visited my pen pal in Germany and saw how incredibly simple she lived her life. In a place that was smaller than my living room / kitchen area, she had everything she needed. Instead of it feeling crammed like we expected, it felt relaxing. It made us realize how cluttered our lives have been, even though we felt like we have done a pretty good job of living below our means. We won't go to the same extreme as what Katya lives. After all, this is America, where we simply have TONS of space that Europe does not.

But we do have a significant pull on our hearts to down-size and simplify our lives. As such, we're putting the house on the market. Once it sells, we will move into a smaller place (currently our house is 3,000 sq ft w/ 5 bedrooms and lots of extra space, and we're thinking we need 2,000 sq ft w/ 3 bedrooms and a place to exercise). We will take the remainder of our equity and use it to purchase another rental investment property. There is something about the concept of having a little place that is full of things I love that appeals to me. In our current home, the mode of operation is "We have space to fill, so we need to buy something for that corner." Instead, I want to live in the mode of "I only have so much space, so let's be sure everything in it is exactly what I want." Instead of filling the empty space with more stuff, I want to fill the space with cherished belongings.

Am I weird?

Maybe. But sometimes that's the conclusion that comes out of a major soul-searching session like the one I am still processing.

### All eyes on the bride!

Ellie: How about you are the bride and you are getting married and then I will be the flower girl?

(A few minutes pass and Ellie obviously forgets that plan...)

Ellie: Let's go over here and watch the show!
Addie: NO! I am the bride. I AM the show!!!

Daddy: What do you want for dinner?
Addie: Can I have some tomatoes with a side of tomatoes? Please???

### Floods

Luckily we weren't affected hugely by the recent historic floods. Aunt Erin and her family were stranded in Lyons for a few days before being evacuated. They're told that it could be a couple months before they can move back into their home. Even that's not the worst. I know some people who were relocated to some of the ski resorts 3 hours away!! And others who were told that it could be up to a year and a half before they have access to their homes again, simply because not only did the road to their home wash away, but so did the ground supporting the road. Crazy stuff.

Luckily we're ok and relatively unaffected. Ellie's school was severely damaged so she'll be attending a YMCA camp for a few weeks. Not ideal, but in the grand scheme of things, we're lucky.

I have to say that my girls were pretty awesome when the floods happened. I doubt they really understood what was happening but I tried to show them pictures to keep them updated. I LOVED that upon hearing what happened, the first thing to Ellie's mind was if her best friend Brynn was safe. She insisted we send Brynn's family a message to find out. Of all the people to be concerned about, it goes to show how strong their friendship still is if Brynn is the first person Ellie thinks of.

My thoughts go out to those who were less fortunate than we were, but that goes for people even beyond the reach of the floods.

### Multiple career path

After reading a book about a baby bunny whose family is guessing at all the careers he wants to have when he grows up, only to find out that the baby bunny just wants to be a daddy when he gets bigger...

Mommy: Are you surprised at what the baby bunny wanted to be?
Ellie: No. I want to be a mommy when I grow up!
Mommy: I think that's a great idea, but you know what's really exciting?
Ellie: What?
Mommy: You can be a mommy AND something else. You can be a mommy AND a vet!
Ellie: Like you're an engineer AND a mommy!

### The science of rivers

Leave it to Addie to be good at science... When the family was driving across the continental divide, I was trying to see if Ellie knew where the water goes, thinking that on one side of the divide it goes to the Mississippi River and on the other side it goes to the ocean.

Mommy: Ellie, if we're at the continental divide, can you guess where the water goes from here?

Can't argue there.

### Addie is good at science

A while ago we finally came across a phrase that we can use for Addie that is all her own, to make her proud of her abilities. Ellie has always been good at "coming up with solutions" and she knows it. That's not to say that Addie isn't, but whenever the topic comes up, she says "No, that's Ellie, not me." So the day that we learned Addie was good at "understanding science" was a glorious day for me. Since then every time she takes note of something that can be explained using science, we are sure to point it out and oh the pride that beams in her face! Wow. The girls is a star.

That being said, sometimes her pride stretches the concept of science....

Mommy: I did know that.
Addie: And Mommy, did you know that Nana once thought that Grandpa Lou was her pince but den she changed her mind? And now Grandpa is her pince! Just like in Shrek, right?
Mommy: That's right.
Addie: Did you know I understand how she did that?
Addie: Mommy, is that called science???

Hmm... I suppose in a way it is. Psychology at it's finest, right?

## Thursday, September 05, 2013

### Layoff

How fortunate I must feel if when told I am being laid off, the first thing through my mind is "oh crap! I hope John's job is safe. He is the only income provider for his family. What about Mark? He just bought a new house and is a bit house poor." How fortunate I feel knowing that my first thought was NOT "omg how are we going to pay the bills? " or "how will we manage? "

I am fortunate even if turned up side down.