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Friday, January 31, 2014

$0.99 Rule

I find it funny that even at the age of 6, Ellie seems to know that everything is priced at prices ending in $0.99.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Addie's Cup Song

video
I have tears in my eyes from watching her.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ellie's Cup Song

video
Yet another goal crossed off her list.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Addie's Family

I love that we're all wearing Bronco shorts, and yes she made it a point to do just that. When was it that I became a member of a Bronco-loving family, I don't know, but it does make me smile.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Addie's Turkey Song

video
Now if that's not a Gabble Gobble, I don't know what is.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A glimpse of Ellie at school

Gotta love the confidence with just a bit of attitude, right smack in the middle of the crowd. It makes me smile.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Daddy sets up shop

He may be out of town on a business trip, but I assure you, he still feels loved.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dear Addie Bear

I believe this letter is long overdue, but I also have no doubt that you will not hold that over my head. You're just not that type of person. I wonder sometimes if you realize just how unique you really are. On the other hand, you've always had an old soul so no doubt none of this will be news to you. I hope that long into the future, you will keep the wisdom you have at such a young age.

You have this amazing ability to understand, not only why someone is upset, but how to help bring their smile back. I have never seen at time when someone around you is upset and you failed to suggest at least one or two ways to try to make them feel better, even if it's just a little laugh.

I hope you will always have a strong sense of empathy. This is a trait that not everyone has, one that can not be taught. Understanding where someone is coming from, and how to help them move forward will win you many opportunities to really help those around you and make a difference in the world.

You pride yourself in listening to your body. If you're tired, you sleep, even if it's not bedtime yet. If you're full, you stop eating, even if a tasty dessert tempts you. If you have a tummy ache, you turn down that tasty dessert saying that it will only make you feel worse. Exercise and time spent outside seems to rejuvenate your energy.

I hope that you will always keep this understanding of your body and know that what is most important isn't the number on the scale, but it's how you feel inside that matters the most. Only you know what makes your body feel healthy and what makes it feel yucky. I hope that you will always be able to maintain that balance because this has and always will be a struggle for most people.

You may not know what you want to be when you grow up, but you once told me "I don't know if this is real or not, but I want to help teach people how to be healfy like me. I want to show them how to listen to their bodies like I do."

I hope that you know that even if there is no job title to match what it is you want to be when you grow-up, it doesn't mean the job does not exist. You may be anything you want to be. No doubt you will find a gap in the world that you can fill perfectly.

You have the perfect sense of humor and seem to know exactly the right words that match the moment perfectly. This sense of humor comes naturally to you and results in laughter from anyone lucky enough to be within hearing distance. It's not uncommon for Ellie to try to copy your funny statements, but that's not the way real humor works. Real humor is spontaneous. It can not be copied.

I hope that you will always be able to bring a sense of humor to your surroundings. Many people struggle to be funny and have to resort to memorizing cheesy jokes. I hope that you will always be able to have that rare ability to bring out laughter without needing a canned knock knock joke.

I have never met someone who is so willing to go with the flow as you are. If Ellie has a different opinion than you, you typically let her have her way because you know it's not worth it to fight about a difference of opinion.

I hope that you will continue to not sweat the small stuff and realize that it's all small stuff. I hope that you maintain the ability to ask honestly ask yourself "Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy?" It's not hard to realize which of those lead to a happier life in the long run.

That's not to say that you are a follower. It's that you seem to know when to stand up for yourself and when it just doesn't matter that much to you. If Ellie does or says something that really upsets you, you let her know in as kind of words as you can muster.

I hope that you maintain that ability to stand up for yourself in moments that matter most to you. Your willingness to go with the flow may come across as being a pushover, but in times of importance may you always stand your ground.

You never seem to take things personally. If a friend does something that is a bit mean, you are sad but you automatically start wondering if it was because they were just tired. Or maybe hungry. Or simply having a bad day. You do not seem to ever jump to the conclusion that their lack of kindness has anything to do with you.

I hope that you will always be able to give people around you the benefit of the doubt. There is no way to know for sure what one's motives are for their behavior, but as long as you do not take it personally, you will be able to place the blame on their circumstances instead of on yourself.

There is no one you'd rather spend time with than your sister. You miss the days when she was at the same school with you all day long, and you look forward to the days when you will be at the same school as her again. It seems that just knowing she is nearby gives you a sense of confidence as you go about your own day.

I hope that you will always keep that connection with your sister and know that no matter your age, the two of you give each other strength that can not be found alone. Together you are stronger.

You have so many friends at school. When asked who your best friends are, you may list a few names but you almost always end with "But I love everybody that I know!" and I have no doubt that this is true. You have a big heart and it's big enough to be friends with anyone who is lucky enough to meet you.

I hope that you will always remain popular, but for the right reasons.

You love to snuggle and I do believe you are better at it than anyone else I know.  You have a way of embracing in a hug or laying next to someone in a snuggle that does not come across as intrusive.  I never feel like you are invading my space, even with you right by my side.

I hope that you will always remember that a good relationship is one of balance of love and space.  May you find someone who you can love completely, while still maintaining your individualism.

Whenever it's time to go home, you always make it a point to give each and every friend still remaining in the class room a great big hug, whether they want it or not. You are so full of love and it brings great big tears of sorrow if something ever stops you from showing you care.

I hope you never pass up an opportunity to tell a friend or family member that they are loved. Sadly, chances are that they don't hear it often enough.

You have such an imagination! You have never struggled at coming up with different worlds and pretending to be a part of them. You used to visit "your other home" all the time and what a magical place that must have been. Recently, you've been speaking of the time when you grow up, when everything will be possible.

I hope that you never lose that sense of believing that just because something does not exist here and now does not mean it's out of the realm of possibility. Someday those things will be possible and you will help in its creation.

You have a love and respect for the great outdoors. You pride yourself in being able to find treasures ranging from fairy castles to pretty pinecones. You treat Mommy's special rock, Bob, with as much respect as any cherished lovie may deserve.

I hope that you will always be able to find joy in the small things and know that sometimes the things worth the most do not cost a dime.

You love your extended family with great intensity. Whether it be Nana or Grandpa, Gramma or Cary, Pappie or Grammie, Grandpa Lou or Grandmommy Jeanne, Aunt Erin or Adam or even Audry and Clive, Uncle David or Aunt Brandy or even Haydn, or Uncle Jacob, you know that you are loved by so many people who have a special place in your heart. You never question the bond you have for these people and are always ready to give them a hug.

I hope that you will maintain that sense of closeness with all members of your family, whether direct or extended. They will always be a source of love to fill your bucket.

Your favorite people are Mommy, Daddy and Ellie, and you never let them doubt that you love them dearly. Without being asked, you often compliment us on the things that we do that you appreciate, or on a job well done. "Thank you Daddy for the healthy food you cooked!" or "Mommy, thank you for playing with me!" or "Ellie, I like the picture that you drawed. You did a great job!"

I hope that you will always be able to both give and take a compliment. We all need occasional reminders of a job well done and there is no better pick-me-up than a good compliment.

Addie Bear, you are an amazingly sweet little girl. I do not believe that there are words sweet enough to describe you. Your future is full of happiness not only for yourself, but for those around you. I hope you continue to make Mommy and Daddy proud, though no doubt that will come easy for you. I hope that you continue to search out happiness in the world around you. In the end, that will be how you will make the most impact in the world, and in your own life.

I hope you know how cherished you are and how you remind me of what is really important every day. Your ability to love unconditionally is an inspiration to us all.

Love,
Mommy

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tid-Bits

I love that when you first wake up Addie, even before she opens her eyes she smiles and opens her arms for a big hug.

I love that when one girl is having a bad day, the other is quick to come up with ideas to make it better, whether it be borrowing a cherished stuffie, receiving a big hug or even getting the honored place at the table, next to Mommy.

This morning when Daddy woke Addie up before leaving town for work, she said "I'm going to miss you" even before opening her eyes.

Ellie: Mommy, what's the surprise?
Mommy: It begins with an "s" and ends with an "e"
...
Ellie: Mommy, is the sleep over with Brynn and Lylah our surprise?
Mommy: Yep.
Ellie: But, Mommy, "sleep over" doesn't end with an e!!!

I love the Addie-isms:
"I would eat but-cept that I am not very hungry."
"I miss Bella because I haven't seen her in a long long time ago!"

I miss the Ellie-isms:
"Oh, so entire close! Try again. You can do it!"
"I'm a big girl be-kuz I have ree-a ree-a strong missiles!"

I love how, before leaving to go home, Addie has to give every single one of her friends a hug good bye, no matter which friends are still in the classroom, and no matter which friends actually respond to her asking "Who wants a hug before I go?"

I love how proud Ellie is about the things she has accomplished, especially with diving class. She specifically asked if Addie can come watch because "If I know she's cheering me up, then I will do better!"

I have to laugh at how quickly a child's clean room can explode into a war zone when a sleepover is happening. 30 seconds, tops.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Addie's Family

Mommy: Oh, isn't this a lovely picture? Addie, did you paint this?
Addie: Yeah! It's my fam-ee! See, here is Daddy and here is Mommy. And I am in Mommy's tummy. See?
Mommy: Where is Ellie then?
Addie: In Daddy's tummy, right dere!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

He still has it

January 2012

January 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Guess who this princess is

I recently received my 2013 blog book in the mail and found myself reading through the stories of 2013. I had planned on reading these two blog posts and have the girls guess at who each princess was:
There Once Lived a Princess and
Once Upon a Time...

Mommy: Guess who this princess is. Ready?
Addie: Ready!
Ellie: Yeah!
Mommy: There once lived a princess who grew into one of the fairest the land had ever seen....
Addie: ME!!!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Breaking up is hard to do

Ellie: Mommy I don't know if you heard.
Mommy: Heard what?
Ellie: Adrienne and I separated.
Mommy: Oh?
Ellie: Do you know what "separated" means? It means we broke up.
Mommy: Whose decision was that?
Ellie: We both decided but he isn't being nice about it.  Not like Jameson.
Mommy: Who is Jameson?
Ellie: Oh we were together after Adrienne and I separated, but then we separated too.
Mommy:  Oh really?
Ellie:  Yeah but he is doing it right.  Adrienne is doing it wrong.
Mommy:  What do you mean?
Ellie: Well he is still being nice. We are still friends. We decided that just because we don't live each other doesn't mean we can't be friends.  We can still be friends.
Mommy: Wow. That's pretty mature.
Ellie: I just wish Adrienne would do it right too.
Mommy:  Me too. Me too.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Root Beer

Addie's turn to tell the waiter what she wants to drink,  "Can I please have some fake beer? "

Friday, January 10, 2014

Who are you MOST like?

One of the gifts we got for Christmas is a box/game of questions to be asked during dinner time. Essentially you take a card from the box and it is intended to spark conversation around the table. I have actually really enjoyed it and have noticed recently that the girls look forward to the questions too. I think they like having their moment when they receive undivided attention from everyone in the family.

Last night's question:
Who in your family are you the most like?

Daddy answered along something like this - "I think I'm the most like Ellie because she thinks and does things that I remember doing when I was her age. I think Mommy is a lot like Addie because it doesn't seem hard for her to be nice to everyone she knows, but I find it difficult sometimes to remind myself to talk with a patient voice to those who I love."

I believe this sunk in deep for Ellie as it was interesting to watch her body language. She started with a realization of "Yes! We really ARE so much alike!" and it moved to a relief in knowing that she wasn't the only one who struggles to be nice sometimes, and finally moved to a sort of sad look on her face. She sat with a certain somber look on her face, deep in thought for the rest of the meal.

I wonder if it hurt her feelings. Daddy's comment IMPLIED that Addie found it a lot easier to be really nice to other people than Ellie does, which COULD in turn imply that Ellie isn't as nice as Addie. Only Ellie knows what she was thinking but I could tell by watching her that her mind was churning.

I'll be honest and say that we've struggled a lot with 6 year-old Ellie recently. In some ways it feels like we've been living with a 6 year old teenager recently.

I could be wrong, but I think it was that somber moment of thought that led to an incredibly lovely evening AND morning with both Ellie and Addie. I hope just the right level of honesty without long lasting hurt feelings was achieved, but as with any parenting moment... you never really know.

Behind every great child is a parent who thinks they're screwing it all up!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Missing Slippers

Daddy: Addie, why are my slippers in your room?
Addie: Because my feet were cold so I invited them in.

She has a certain magic with her words, doesn't she?

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Don't judge a book by its cover

And by "book" I really mean "job."

I started my new job this week. It's the third job I have accepted since college, and also happens to be the third job that I accepted where I went into the interview thinking I didn't want the job. Maybe that's the secret ingredient to the whole interviewing process?

As with any new job, this week has proved to be full of feelings of being overwhelmed and questioning whether or not I can do this, but I am excited. There may be a lot to learn, but it will be a good ride, but I digress. I want to talk about the importance of not closing doors just because you think what's behind it is not for you.

And just so that it's in writing so that there is a chance for my girls to read about it in the future, I will take this opportunity to share 3 quick examples of how it ended up being the books with bad covers that I ended up finding good stories.

STORY #1: My first job

When I was searching for my first job, I attended a career fair at the University of Colorado. At this career fair there was a booth that wasn't attracting much attention and had an empty spot in front of it. I chose to stand in that spot to collect my own thoughts on which companies to approach. While forming my plan of attack, the guy behind the unpopular booth said, "Hey! Hey you! We do more than just Applied Physics!" And that's how I learned about the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. I did what anyone would do and handed the man a resume to get him to leave me alone.

As luck would have it, they called me in for an on-campus interview. I didn't think I was interested because JHU/APL is located in Maryland and I had no desire to live on the East Coast, but any interview experience is good, right? So I accepted just to get the experience. At the end of the interview the representative asked me if I had any questions for him. I asked him "Are you near any Air Force bases?" The answer was no (most of their work was for the Navy) but why was I asking? I told a harmless little lie, "My fiancé is in the Air Force." No, I was not engaged, and the lie was quickly forgotten.

A month or so later JHU/APL called to ask me out for an on-site interview. Again, I said yes because any interviewing experience is good experience, and hey! Free trip to DC! Every person who interviewed me asked me if I knew where my fiancé was to be stationed yet. "My fiancé?" I thought. Oh right! THAT fiancé. I never corrected them and that was that. Lie forgotten a second time.

They ended up making me an offer I couldn't refuse. I started working 6 months later and found myself confused on the first day of work when people were asking me if I thought it would be hard to have apart from my fiancé. What huh? Oh, right. Um, yes. Very difficult but we're working through it. I still didn't correct them. What would be the point? Ha!

A few months later I had an ugly breakup with my boyfriend and boy did the sympathy pour in! After all, now the wedding was off and I had to cancel plans, inform friends and loved ones. After that, once again, the lie was forgotten. Or was it? A couple years later, when Michael proposed to me (a real engagement), I was slightly confused by the strange comments of "I'm sure this one will last."

Ha ha. What's a little white lie if it lasts 4 years?

STORY #2: My second job

Upon moving back to Colorado I had accepted a job with a small medical company in Boulder. I was to start Monday morning. The Thursday before I received a phone call from a man who worked at Covidien. He asked me if I was interested in interviewing, to which I replied "Thanks but no thanks. I have accepted an offer and start this coming Monday." We politely said our goodbyes and hung up the phone. That was the end of that.

Until he called again a couple hours later to apologize. For what? This sweet man felt like he had come across as being too pushy, all the while knowing that I had accepted another position. I agreed to come in for an interview and one was scheduled for the very next day. The interview went well, and I told them that if they were to make me an offer it had to be NOW. I ended up accepting and calling the original company to give them notice Friday afternoon that I would not be "reporting for duty" Monday morning as planned.

STORY #3: My third job

After 5.5 years of service and good reviews, Covidien laid me off instead of giving me the promotion I was expecting. Needless to say I was a bit bitter. Oh I was trying to understand that it was a business decision and not to take it personally but I was still hurt. But what really upset me was that they laid us off, all the while having open job requisitions available for other projects. There didn't seem to be any sense of respect for trying to keep their people. In the end, this significantly affected my desire to apply for any of the job requisitions that Covidien had open, let alone one for someone having experience with wireless technologies since I have none.

Alas, one of the recruiters sent my resume into the hiring manager for the wireless/embedded position, and did so without my knowledge. The hiring manager contacted me and asked if I was even interested in the position. We had an informal interview, during which it was hard for me to not break down with emotions. The layoff was still too fresh. The meeting ended with the hiring manager putting the ball in my court by telling me I should contact him if I decided that I would like to return to work for Covidien.

I never did. I never followed up with him. I wasn't sure I wanted to return, to be honest. And I have no wireless experience so I felt like a match would was far-fetched. Much to my surprise, the recruiter emailed me a couple weeks later with an interview schedule. I did not convey any interest, but for some unknown reason, the recruiter kept pursuing it.

As you might have guessed, the interview went well. They chose me over someone who had the right technical skills. And here I am - in another job I wasn't expecting to want but yet it's one I'm excited about. I think I owe that recruiter lunch. Don't you?

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Nice Night

Mommy: I am so sorry we are going to be late for diving class! With me starting my new job it was hard for me to leave early.
Ellie: That's ok, Mommy. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes.
Mommy: So you're not mad at me?
Ellie: Of course not! Like I said, we all make mistakes and it's important to not get upset.
Mommy: Oh, I am so glad to hear you say that!
Ellie: It's ok, Mommy. No one is perfect and I understand that.
Mommy: No one is perfect?
Ellie: No, we all make mistakes.
Mommy: Even you?
Ellie: Yep, even me!
Mommy: Like what?
Ellie: Sometimes I make the mistake of not talking nicely to my friends or people I love.

Wow... We've lived in the same household with a 6 year old teenager for quite sometime now. It's nice to see that there is still the sweet loving girl I know under the shell of attitude.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Back in the day

Ellie: (with a pillow on her lap) Mommy, is this the size of a computer?
Mommy: Computers used to be that big but now they're much smaller now.
Ellie: Why?
Mommy: When they made the first computers they didn't know how to make them small or even smart.
Ellie: What do you mean?
Mommy: The first computers couldn't do much. Computers haven't always been smart. When Gramma was a child, they didn't even have computers.
Ellie: WHAT??? NO COMPUTER???
Mommy: Nope. They invented computers after she grew up.
Ellie: But then how did people buy stuff from the internet?
Mommy: They didn't. If they wanted something, they would have to go to the store. And if the store didn't have exactly what they wanted, they would have to choose between whatever the store did have.
Ellie: THAT'S AWFUL!!!
Mommy: I know!

Friday, January 03, 2014

Simple smiles

This one made me smile.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Addie's pictures

I am loving the occasional picture drawn by Addie. She doesn't seem to draw as often as Ellie always has, but when I find a treasure it puts a big smile on my face.   It seems that sunshine rain and happy people are her specialties.

Sometimes the moon sneaks its way into the pictures. I think he wants to play in the rain too.

This one was drawn especially for Daddy. Can you guess why? Yep, Go Broncos! Did you notice her name? Oh so cute!

"I love it when my family and I play tea set and I am the tooth fairy."

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New Year

May this year bring lots of reminders to snuggle up close to loved ones, hold them tight, and let them know how much they are loved.

Good bye 2013.... Hello 2014!!!

I've been blogging for quite sometime now. At this point, with the exception of one friend, I have no idea who (if anyone) even reads the blog. But it doesn't matter. I've always said that even though I started the blog intending for it to be a way to keep all our family updated, it ended up having very little to do with that. Instead, it ended up being my sanity. By forcing myself to search for the things in my life that make me smile or laugh, I actually found myself paying more attention to those things. I believe there is a lot of parenting experiences I would have never noticed, or would have quickly forgotten about, had it not been for my blog. Every year I print my blog into a hard-copy book, and these have become some of my most cherished possessions. Parenting is full of moments that we all forget about, but I will forever have a record of at least a small sample of the positive things, those are the memories I want to keep.

Why am I writing about all this now? I suppose it's a reminder to myself. 2013 proved to be quite a different year for me than expected. I started the year with fantastic goals, many of which actually drew my attention away from my blog. As luck would have it, life gave me a twist when I was laid off in September. While I consider myself to be a very optimistic person, one who is able to see the positive magic in just about any experience, I failed miserably to find the good in that experience. Though I knew it was a "business" decision, it was still impossible for me to not take the layoff personally.

I guess you could say I quickly came down with a minor case of depression. It's not as though I was depressed every moment of the day. I'm not sure if it was even apparent to others around me. My guess is that it was, but it was subtle. The most apparent signs were that I stopped doing everything I love. Almost cold-turkey. I stopped making my gnomes, which have always brought a big sense of joy to my life. I have always loved to bring a small smile into people's lives with my gnomes, but it was nearly impossible for me to convince myself to keep it up.

I also stopped blogging. At first I didn't notice that I had (other than an occasional reminder from my most loyal fan), but then I started to noticed that my patience with the girls went downhill. Suddenly I was snapping at them, and found myself anxiously waiting for bedtime to roll around. The girls asked me on more than one occasion, "Mommy, why are you mad these days?" or "Mommy, it's been a long time ago since you were happy with us." Those comments would shoot a jolt of pain through me. I knew they were right, and of course I would go out of my way to try to be nice for a few days. The point is this... though I'm sure there was more to it than just the fact that I stopped blogging, I'm also sure that it didn't help the situation.

Yesterday was the last day of 2013 and I have to say I'm glad to see it go. Don't get me wrong, lots of great things have happened this last year, but I am excited to return to myself again. I have accepted a job offer and start working again on the 6th. I'm really excited about the position and think it will be a lot of fun. I think it's perfect timing because I am going bonkers feeling like I don't contribute to society anymore (spoken with a smile - that sounded worse than I meant it).

I'm going back to the basics. 2014 will be filled with gnomes and many of which will be donated just because it makes my heart sing to do so. 2014 will also see more regular blog posting, for no other reason than my girls deserve to have the best mommy I can possibly give them. And that can only come from one who searches for the good rather than focusing on the frustrations.

Most importantly... I deserve it. Though I have my frustrating moments, those are not the ones I want to remember. Life is good... It's about time I start remembering that.