Monday, December 29, 2014

Overbearing Mom

Sometimes I am shocked at how early particular conversations happen with my girls. They started talking about marriage at the age of 2 or 3. They started having sincere conversations about racism and religion not long afterwards. Of course these conversations have an age-appropriate level of details, but I'm often surprised at how "real" so many of the topics are.

Alas, this happened again last night when Ellie frustratingly told me "MOM! Stop telling me about all the things you want for me! I've made up my mind and I don't want to change it!"

Yeah, I wasn't expecting that one until the teenage years.

And yes, it was about career choices.

Last night she informed me that she decided she wants to be a stay-at-home-mom when she grows up. Without intending to, I apparently insulted her dream and couldn't seem to fix it no matter what I said.

ELLIE: I've decided I want to be a stay-at-home-mom when I grow up!
MOMMY: Oh, really? That's a really tough job but I'm sure you'll be good at it.
ELLIE: No it's not. It's not going to be tough. Why would you say that?
MOMMY: Well, it's not easy.
ELLIE: I'll just do what the kids want to do and play all the time. Why would that be hard?
MOMMY: That certainly sounds like fun.
ELLIE: Then why would you say it is going to be hard? Why would you say that Mommy?
MOMMY: Um... well one of the things I really like about working is that it gives us extra money to do the things we love to do like vacations or date weekends.
ELLIE: So? What does that have to do with anything?
MOMMY: I was just thinking that if you stayed at home, you might have less money for things like that. It might be hard to do all the things you want to do.
ELLIE: Mommy, if I need more money I'll just sell my kids' toys. I can sell the really big ones for $10, the medium ones for $5 and the little ones for $1. I won't worry about money because I always have options.
MOMMY: Well I'm glad to hear you've thought this through. I'm excited to see what you decide you want to study and what kind of job you'll have before you.... (Ellie interrupted before I could say "decide who you want to marry and start a family with.")
MOMMY: I'm sorry. I just want you to be... (Ellie interrupted before I could say "happy")

Ouch. Did that really just happen? Did I really just have a "don't pick my career for me, Mom" conversation? In case you need a reminder, this girl is only 7 years old. This wasn't supposed to be an issue until much later. Haha.

Friday, December 26, 2014

New Camera

Oh how I wish we had this camera when we took our trip to France! We recently got a new camera and decided to put it to the test. Not too shabby, I'd say, especially since these were all taken with the "auto" setting, and without a tripod!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Adventurous Bob*

Bob is no ordinary rock. Most rocks are stubborn. They don't like change, but not this rock. Bob loves to explore and have adventures. And quite honestly, sometimes I'm surprised he comes back at all.

Last week was one of those times. We could not find Bob anywhere. I looked in all the normal places - my pockets, my car, my office, my bed, my bedside table. I asked my family for ideas of where to look - under the couch, daddy's car, in the laundry, in the gift wrapping supplies. I even looked around all the conference rooms at work, and asked my colleagues if they have seen a black rock. "A black rock? What does it look like?" Uh... really? Seriously, dude. If you see a black rock, chances are it's mine, regardless of what it looks like.

I even cleaned out my car (trust me, that's getting desperate) and we cleaned the house. I was avoiding making the official declaration that he was lost until after we dealt with all the holiday stuff, but considering all the places I looked, it wasn't looking good for us.

Then we had Aunt Erin and her family over for the holidays. Randomly, Erin notices that Clive is holding a black rock. "Uh, Clive, did you find Aunt Jen's rock?" Sure enough, Clive just stumbled on the right spot and didn't even notice he had found something special. He just knew the rock felt good to hold and was proceeding to do just that.

And where exactly was Bob hiding?

Apparently he took a long nap under the bridge of Mommy's favorite snow globe. Maybe he was pretending to be a troll. Though I cleaned up all around the snow globe, I did fail to look under the bridge. Who knew?

* This post was brought to you by Ellie, who found a "safe" spot for Bob to rest.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


PAPPY: How are you enjoying living in your new house?
MOMMY: We like it. We like the location a lot because it's closer to a lot of the places we were going anyway. We thought we were going to have less yard work but it turns out we have a lot of leaves, but over all we're happy with the change. It's smaller than our old house, but it fits us nicely. It's easier to clean. It...
ADDIE: It feels like home.

Monday, December 22, 2014


Another Addie-ism...

MOMMY: Addie, why are you crying?
ADDIE: Because I just saw Ozzie and he makes me cry.
MOMMY: Why is that?
ADDIE: Because he is the pillow of my heart.
MOMMY: He's the pillow of your heart?
ADDIE: Yeah.
MOMMY: Uh, really? Why is that?
ADDIE: He is so handsome. I love his long hair.

Oh boy. She's in trouble. I'm guessing that Ozzie is not going to be a lasting love (after all, they're both only 5 years old), but I do hope that someday she really will find the pillow of her heart. haha.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Ellie has always been ahead of the game with academics but we have never pushed her to perfect her understanding. We have just focused on cultivating her love for learning.

Unlike another girl in her class, Ellie has never had private tutoring and yet is always pulled out into the higher level groups.

So recently askew tested for the Gifted and Talented program.  We got the results today. Without knowing any details around what this means (a letter is being sent home tomorrow) we were told that she didn't qualify as gifted but she did score high enough to be put on the "watch list," whatever that means.

Our initial thought was about how we have failed Ellie. No doubt she could have past that test if we focused a little on pushing her. Have we failed her in not giving her more opportunity through external lessons?

Or is it ok for kids be kids? This likely won't scar her for life.  Isn't it interesting how easy it is to feel into the trap of making everything into a competition for labels?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I have always thought, without a doubt, that I could not do the stay-at-home-mother gig. I am a much better mommy if I am not around my girls 24/7 and I have always enjoyed the adult aspects of a challenging career. 

Some may say that I don't need to work, and I suppose strictly speaking they are probably right. We do not need my paycheck to cover our expenses but we do need it for our other behind-the-scenes plans.

Given this, as the girls get older and more fun to spend time with, without the same level of difficulty that having young children requires, every now and then the debate is opened for an internal conversation with myself.

This often happens on Mondays and some Mondays are worse than others. This last Monday was one such Monday and I found myself admitting it to a few colleagues.  I could not shake the thought of how nice it would be to stay at home with my girls.

So I left work early, rushed to get the girls... and then proceeded to spend the next few hours reminding myself of why I love to work. Nothing particularly bad happened but it was definitely one of those nights where I was tired and well... kids will be kids.

The next couple days at work might have been mentally challenging and draining but I noticed a distinct internal excitement because of I know that I don't need to work. I CHOOSE to work.

It's a powerful statement to be able to make and I consider myself incredibly blessed to be able to say it. I can only imagine how powerful it will feel when we reach the moment where neither if us need to work but we may CHOOSE (or not) to work anyway.

I have the perfect balance. Life is good.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cheering up

MOMMY: Addie, you seem to be having a sad morning.
ADDIE: Yeah. I just don't think I'm going to be happy.
MOMMY: I have an idea! One thing I know always makes you happier is if you do something very nice to make someone else happy. I happen to know for a fact that it makes you happy when you make others happy.
ELLIE: Mommy, don't worry. I can help her!

... and at the end of the day, I had this gem to cheer me up. When I expressed how happy I was to receive such a beautiful gift, Addie smiled her big beautiful smile and said "It worked! I had the best day EVER!!!"

Monday, December 15, 2014

Four Thumbs Up

Addie approved with four thumbs up.

And not to be out-done by her sister, Ellie insisted that she approved with six thumbs up.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The best present

With celebrating Christmas among 4 sets of grandparents, as well as our own little family, combined with celebrating a week of Hanukkah with Aunt Erin's little family... let's just say that with gift giving spreading across the month of December is prime time for our kids to develop a strong sense of entitlement.

So it comes as a bit of a shock and definitely a pull at my heart strings with both of my daughters, on separate occasions, whispered in my ear something along the lines of:

"Mommy, I don't know what to ask for Christmas because the best present is my family."

With all the frustrations that come with the holidays, and trust me... they exist even for me, it warms my heart when my girls can remind me that it's not about the frustrations or materialistic things. I love them for it.

Lap Cat No More

So much for having a lap cat.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The two scariest times of the year

Taking the tree down from storage and putting it back up.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Monday, December 08, 2014

Time to dust

I can take the hint. It's been a while.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Ellie's Toast

"To a Mommy and Daughter who always try to be the best Mommy and Daughter ever!"

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Chihuly by night

Ever since my date with Ellie, I've been wanting to go back to the Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Bontanic Gardens to see it lit up at night time. We had to wait 6 weeks, but we finally went with Aunt Erin & her family, Gramma & Cary and Uncle Jacob.

I have to admit, it was not what I was expecting. I had it in my head that I knew exactly which sculptures would take my breath away as they were lit up at night. I was wrong. First, some of my favorite sculptures were damaged in a recent hail storm, so they weren't even on exhibit anymore. Second, the place looked so different by night that the sculptures I thought would shock and amaze were really only ho-hum, yet others were pretty darn cool. In the end, the neat thing about the Chihuly exhibit is that it's so different than what you usually see. I would recommend seeing him if you ever get the chance.

And without further ado... I present to you, Chihuly by night...

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Addie's hunt for stained glass windows.

For Addie's date this month, we decided to finally retrace the path Ellie and I took years ago to hunt down stained glass windows. That trip with Ellie years ago will likely remain on my list of best days ever had, and I knew that Addie would enjoy it just as much.

Armed with my new camera, we were off on our hunting trip. Bussi bear joined for the fun, and everything was going according to plan.

The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception was just as pretty as I remember it, and Addie was quick to pick her favorite window.

And Mommy was quick to take a photo of the two of us.

Sadly, though, that's just about the end of how my adventure with Addie was similar to the one I shared with Ellie. I didn't realize how lucky Ellie and I were that day, when just about every knock on a church door was answered by a kind person welcoming us inside. All the other churches were this time, and no one answered Addie's knocks.

Addie might not have seen all the magic that Ellie saw, but I have to say... it didn't stop Addie from creating her own magic. She has always been that way - creating her own joys in life. You saw the photos I posted yesterday. There is no denying that this girl creates the magic she is looking for. This day was no different. When she finally decided that she was tired of having the real doors be locked, she started pointing out the magic doors that could let us inside. Here she is standing next to such a door. Instead of commenting on how silly she was, I asked her in a very serious tone of voice "How is it that you are magical enough to see these doors when no one else can?" She just beamed with pride and told me that when she looks in the doors, she can see the pretty stained glass windows.

Heartbreaking in a way, but heart melting in another, don't you think?

So, no... Addie and I were not quite as successful at finding stained glass windows, though the Brown Palace did not let us down either, but Addie reminded me of something that I had temporarily forgotten... Life is too short to get upset when things don't work out according to plan. Life gives you a magic wand. Sometimes you have to shake it a bit to get it to work.

Monday, December 01, 2014