Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring has Sprung

It's almost April. This weekend is Easter. And this is my first post of the year. Whoops!

Where to start.... Christmas was right-sized. The girls got new iPad Minis. Best investment. We don't do a lot of screen time, but those suckers are a life saver when I'm making dinner. Also, Ellie is having trouble with sight-reading for piano. We didn't do enough reinforcement over Christmas and it's really starting to show, so we've been working on worksheets this week (Spring Break) and I just found an app that has pretty great reviews for reinforcing note recognition. So, we'll see if it helps. 

I've been running around saying "yes" to all sorts of things. I joined the local Parks Foundation Board (and Marketing Committee). I'm probably getting involved in a garden project at a new local women's shelter because I didn't stop to consider the implications of volunteering someone else. I just set up an LLC to do freelance design. And, I'm still doing all the other stuff (Tri Kappa – and publicity Co-Chair; HO Due Diligence Committee; Arts Advisory Committee; and regular workout regimen). I'm trying to cut my Starbucks habit to a reasonable level (once a week). I'm on the fast track to a nervous breakdown, but I can't say I'm going to be bored anytime soon.

P is also on a streak. He just emceed a local Gala; agreed to Co-Chair a fairly major fundraiser – Chefs Around the Table – at which he'll also be cooking pies; is competing in a scaled Crossfit competition in a couple weeks with a team – his goal is not to be in last place; and he just spent the last 8 months or so engineering the sale of the family business to an ESOP. So, perhaps there's something in the water.

The girls are taking it easy relatively speaking. Ellie is still taking piano. She played at her first recital in December. She took a couple months of skating lessons at the new ice rink. It took 7 lessons before she would attempt to skate without someone holding her hand. After that, she rapidly learned to maneuver so she could stay close to the instructor. She's been doing speech therapy most of the year and had her adenoids removed in February. Her clarity has improved quite a bit. As has her maturity. It's incredible the nuances of human nature that she is able to understand. She's been working a lot with math and telling time. She's starting to tackle money concepts and loves the science experiments Mrs. Blum does with the class. Her reading is coming along slowly, but she's working at it on her own too. She seems to delight in surprising us by reading things unexpectedly.

Cali is getting more talkative and they play ponies quite well together. Ellie is very dictatorial though and rebellion is brewing. Just today she asked Cali why she was making that "mean face" at her while she was telling her what was what. Once Cali finds the words, Ellie is going to have to get very good at negotiation. Cali just turned 3 and is out of diapers. She spontaneously decided not to sleep in them anymore and has only had one accident when she was sick. After 5 years of diapers, I am a very happy mom. She's also getting pretty good at dressing and undressing herself. And, since Ellie wants to fix her own breakfast, Cali does too, although the definition shifts a bit between the two.

There has been so much these last few months, but those are the highlights. 

Recent great reads include: Between the World and Me by ; A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman; Ravens Shadow by Patricia Briggs; and the First Law series by Joe Abercrombie.

Cali mugging before the tree.

The Pony is strong in our house. Also, traditional christmas cookies.

Super ponies!!!

Didn't get any Christmas gifts.

Waiting in carline.

Dressed up at Grandma's. Cali's dream hair.

Painting Dad's pencil holder.

Crossing eyes before adenoidectomy.

Not feeling so hot after. Spent a lot of time cuddling with Nurse Kendra.

Aunt Cat with her Valentine from Cali.

2 Ellies and a Cali in disguise.

Discovering the joy of icicles.

Loves snow.

Flower arranging is in her blood.

Looking at a geography box.

The big 3! And a Fluttershy cake.

Doing ROMWOD with Dad.

Emcee at work.

Orange you glad to see me?

Dance break. Cali's a little skeered.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Season of Everything

As I sit down to write this, the Sandra Boynton "Very Very Busy" song is running through my head and clashing horribly with George Winston's December album. For those of you not familiar, click on the link for the video.

I think I am finished with Christmas shopping. I sent packages today, although I have one large one I need to fabricate a box for. I'm excited to see how everyone likes their gifts. The girls have a very small stack, but Santa is bringing them matching iPads so we can finally load a current iOS and update their apps. Plus, everyone else seems to spoil them crazy every year. I doubt they'll feel deprived.

Since October, we've done and celebrated a few things. Family photos. See results here. For Halloween, the girls were Rainbow Dash and Nightmare Moon. We went to a couple of Improv Night fundraisers. The ice rink opened. Ellie turned 5. She had a "big girl party". I ordered my Tesla Model X (delivery early 2016). We visited Texas.

Apologies if your Christmas cards are late this year. I was waiting on our photos and really cut it close this year. I have a few deadlines yet this week, but should have a longer post before the end of the year. With luck.

Some folks acclimated better than others to the ice.

One day in lieu of nap.

Yoga pose on rock

Mom and Cali at the playground on a chilly day.


Snowman before Thanksgiving. Dad is a pro.

Birthday party

Cali on ice.

Rainbow Dash cake

Mom's "turkey" leg


Cali's house

Helping Mom with all the paper chains.

Ribbon cutting with the Mayor.

Friday, October 2, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Autumn

We've been in school mode for about 6 weeks now. I just reread the last couple posts and it was a little heartbreaking to consider where we were at the end of the school year and where we are now. Ellie has just restarted BOB books the last couple weeks. We didn't do anything this summer. When I did attempt to get her to sound stuff out, she acted like she'd had a lobotomy and rather than give her a bad taste for reading, I just let it go. We kept reading our chapter books and books with Cali and listening to our stories at breakfast (and several other times a day as allowed). So, I don't think she slipped too far. Cali forgot how to count. But, has become a pretty proficient colorer for someone who's not sure which hand she wants to use. I don't think I let Ellie use crayons until she was 3 because I was terrified she'd take to the walls. Poor kid.

Cali was sick with a cold that turned into a sinus infection for a week and a half. She finally went back to school Wednesday after starting a course of antibiotics. They've really made a difference, which is always a great thing to witness since sometimes I suspect the doc gives us a script just because they've been sick for a week already. Modern medicine is a wonderful thing.

P (and his assistant Ellie) worked the Chefs Around the Table event last night at the Expo Center. It was the first time for this event, but the competition and jockeying was entertaining to watch on FB among the contestants and they kept the event coverage lively. P made 8 peach bourbon pies in the test kitchen at work and Ellie helped remind folks to get a fork and make a donation. I think it will be a solid event for years to come.

Ellie is doing well with piano and her teacher should slip her some Xmas music to practice soon. We're still trying to find our rhythm for practicing, but she does manage to fit it in most days. And, most importantly, she seems to still enjoy it.

Cali is doing better with potty-training. She rarely has accidents at school anymore, and I anticipate they'll start leaving off her diaper at naps soon. At home, we're not doing as well, although we've hit on using the my little ponies as a combo carrot/stick. She doesn't seem to realize when she has to go poop or just doesn't care if she does it in her pants, which is particularly discouraging. She's got till May to prepare for the Preschool Class, but I'm hoping she puts it together soon. Leaving the house is a bit stressful.

I'm trying to find my rhythm at home. I've managed to tame some of the worst rat's nests, but I need to be a little more systematic before the holidays descend. I've done quite a bit of graphic design for 3 different events this fall. I have a great co-chair for Tri Kappa Publicity, so I can focus on behind the scenes stuff and she is taking lead on organization and logistics. I'd like to start freshening up my skills, but I'll also have to set a more rigid schedule for that. And, start doing cardio again. Middle age is catching up to me. I've started contacting architects regarding the next house. We learned a lot from building this one. Lesson 1 was not to rush. So, we're looking at land and starting to talk design anticipating a few years for the process.

P is glad to have "Chefs" behind him for now. He's got to finish his office furniture and then I think he'll spend a lot of time in his lair with his 3D printers. He may even pick up a new game. He's anticipating some time off from major projects, I think.

First Day of School 2015-16

Digging at Day of Caring

Me with Mrs. K. I voluntold her for Day of Caring.

Cedar Point - 1st Annual trip (they both hated it) 
Speed demon. So glad/terrified Dad will be teaching them to drive.

Formal family portrait

Personal best for bowling at Sales Meeting. Will probably never be repeated, so I had to post :p

Hiking at Turkey Run with a couple of Vargi

Ellie thought this area was spooky. And that dragons might live in the caves behind her.

Cali enjoying what might be her last hurrah in that cozy backpack. When you turn 3, you get to walk on your own....

Donuts and facepainting at the Popcorn Fest with Mrs. K and her Ellie.

Working hard at Montessori

At "the Sand" again.

Apple orchard time. Beautiful day!

Gloomiest flowers ever at heART Night.

Angry bees. Dad got stung by about 5 of them the day after denying their existence. Next year, no prisoners on stinging flying things around the porches. Apparently, I have created a very friendly environment.

Most pictures are of ponies or Equestrian Girls these days. The one on the left is Pinkie Pie and I think the one on the right is Rainbow Dash.

Ellie stole the show at Chefs Around the Table.

She helped Dad peddle his peach bourbon pie and was a great fundraiser.

Together, they won the "Best Dessert" knife.

Ellie at play