Friday, November 30

Black Friday

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True to our Thanksgiving Holiday tradition, we ventured into the depths of proverbial hell—the mall—on Black Friday. Our mission: Christmas photos.

And for the second year in a row, knock on wood, it was a hassle free morning;

The girls got to see Santa,

Mommy got the Christmas photos she wanted,


and Daddy just came along for the ride.

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Wednesday, November 28

Thanksgiving '08

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Thanksgiving at the Hart House was different this year. It was just the four of us. It was nice and simple and, most importantly, fun. We served Cornish Game hens and the girls each got their own bird to stuff.




Alex and Rachel helped Daddy make pies, and they helped Mommy make her traditional orange cranberry sauce. They had a great time and the food was yummy, especially the birds (email me for the recipe—it’s really delicious).

The four day holiday was GREAT. I got the taste of being a stay-at-home mom again and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. When Monday finally came, and it was time to go back to work and school, I wasn’t ready to go get back to the ‘real world.’

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Giving Thanks...

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Oh – what a difference a year makes. So many things change and so many things stay the same.

Last year we started a family Thanksgiving tradition of making our lists of the things we are thankful for. A lot of what was on my list last year remains on my list this year—and probably always will. But there have been some pretty big changes too.

This year my focus is still on my girls and Dave—with a greater appreciation of the time that we have together. Stealing extra time wherever we can to cuddle and laugh and play. Now that I’m working and the girls are in school, our time together is more precious than ever.

I also have a much greater appreciation for Dave and all that he’s done during the past five years to support our family—financially and emotionally (you know, that crazy wife of his. Oh, wait. That’s me.)

I was always clear about the challenges of being a stay-at-home-mom, but didn’t understand, until now, what it means to be a working parent. And one who wants to be involved, and not outsource childrearing duties. (How in the world can we possibly cram all that love into the fraction of time that we, now both working parents, spend with our kids?) And my appreciation is all that much greater because he never asks for recognition. Thanks Dave for all you’ve done and continue to do.

My 2008 list of things I’m grateful for:

* Options, 2nd chances, and (relatively) smooth transitions
* The freedom to choose my own path and change my mind along the way
* The support of my husband, especially when I change my mind along the way
* Bedtime cuddles with Rachel
* Early morning cuddles with Alex
* The Little Country Preschool
* Giggles with my girls
* Dave—who still does way more than his fair share
* The unconditional love of our dog, Ollie
* The strong, protective relationship between Rachel and Alex
* Rachel’s little girl voice and the way she says “Daddy Duuude”
* Alex’s ability to make friends with anyone and her independent, leader-type personality (this child is NOT a follower)
* That Rachel’s hearing impairment isn’t an impairment
* That we’ve faced so (relatively) few challenges with our kids
* That both our girls are bright, socially adept, kind little girls—but are also just tough enough
* A few, stolen, quiet minutes alone – more than that and I get a little antsy
* Babysitters
* 2nd paychecks

What are you thankful for?? I'd love to know....,

(Click here to see last year’s list)

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Dave, what are you thankful for?

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(A man of few words)

* My terrific family -- my beautiful wife, adorable daughters, and our trusty dog
* My job at SDSC -- it's been a pretty good gig for the past 12 years
* My home in Southern California and the fact that it survived the 2007 fires
* And a pretty great life all around. I have a lot to be thankful for!

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Rachel, what are you thankful for?

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(Unedited and unscripted)

* Balloons
* My family
* My teacher, Miss Melissa (Something inside me breathed a sigh of relief that she listed her family before her teacher. She LOVES her teacher and sometimes I find myself envious of the time they have together.)
* My house
* Lollipops
* Eating (we made these lists over dinner),
* And, all my other stuff!

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Alex, what are you thankful for?

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(Unedited and unscripted)

* My family
* My pets (Ollie of course, but she was also including our two little fishes)
* My food
* Pictures
* Santa
* Our plants (random)
* My teacher
* My new shoes
* Our house
* And, balloons!

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Monday, November 26

Hmmm.

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Somtimes I wonder...

"Why is that frisbee getting bigger?"

... and then it hits me.

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Sunday, November 25

Quote for the Day

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"Be the change you wish to see in the world."

~Gandhi~

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Tuesday, November 20

Out of the Mouths of Babes...,

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It's after bath, after 'the naked run,' and mommy is just finished getting the girls dressed for bed. Alex has picked out her book and, giggling, she calls out to Daddy in the next room...

"Daddy! Come read this book or you're FIRED!"

LOL!!

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Sunday, November 18

My Soft Place to Fall

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FALL

oh look there you go again
puttin on that smile again
even though i know you've had a bad day
doin this doin that
always puttin yourself last
a whole lotta give and not enuff take
but you can only be strong so long before you break
so..

fall

go on and fall apart
fall into these arms of mine
i'll catch you every time you
fall

go on and lose it all
every doubt every fear
every worry every tear
i'm right here
baby fall

forget about the world tonight
all thats wrong and all thats right
lay your head on my shoulder let it fade away
and if you wanna let go it's okay

fall

go on and fall apart
fall into these arms of mine
i'll catch you every time you
fall

go on and lose it all
every doubt every fear
every worry every tear
i'm right here
baby fall

&

hold on
hold on
hold on
to me

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~ written by: clay mills/sonny lemaire/shane minor ~

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He is my soft place to fall and, at the very same time, he is my rock.

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Tuesday, November 13

An 'Ah-Ha!' Moment

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'They' say it happens to most every parent. It's why people continue having kids. It's why no one really tells you the truth about those first few weeks or months. It's the mind-meld caused by all the good memories created since, and the heart exploding love that colors every decision of your life.

Looking through baby pics and thinking, "Ahhh, what a sweet time. We were first time parents with our brand new baby. Look how adorable she is," or "Look how happy we are - you can just see it and she is soo beautiful."


And that's when I realized it. I had the 'Ah-Ha!' moment.

Yes, this is it. The moment that you begin to forget the reality of it all and it turns to nostalgic longing for a romanticized version of the truth: The long, heart wrenching fertility battle, the early term bleeding and accompanying gut wrenching fear, labor and giving birth (though for me - this was the easy part), the barracuda breast feeder, the longer then usual recovery, the raw loneliness of being away from family and friends, the postpartum depression ... Never happened - none of it. It's all fading away to become just the beauty of my baby and the miracle that she ever came to be.

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Monday, November 12

Quote for the Day

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We find delight in the beauty and happiness of children that makes the heart too big for the body.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson -

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Friday, November 9

Halloween at the Hart House

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This year we had two witches

and Sheriff Dave, with Alex as Jessie AND Bullseye from the Toy Story movie.

VERY cute and not a princess in the bunch!

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Halloween at the Hart House is a month-long affair,
complete with a visit to the pumpkin patch

Baking and decorating Halloween cookies
(OK - Mostly eating the decorations)

Carving and painting pumpkins
Decorating the house (inside & out) and lighting the Jack-O-Lanterns

Trick-or-treating

And the annual Hart Halloween Bash!
Postponed a week due to the fires and lingering air quality issues caused by all the smoke - but a great time was had by all!!



It really was GREAT fun! (And just a bit tiring too.)

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Monday, November 5

Transitions

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From sippy cups and giggles to deadlines and paychecks.

This transition has been rough - as expected.

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Saturday, November 3

She's 4 & 1/2 and a GENIUS !!

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And, she can now tie her very own shoes!!



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Thursday, November 1

We're Hardest on Ourselves

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After the fires, I may have questioned my contributions in the EOC, but as a team - WE ROCKED!!

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A note from higher up...

Kudos to Emergency Communicators;

I wanted to let each of you know that all week I have heard from many individuals about what a great job the communications team did last week during the Wildfires - compliments for those of you in San Diego and those supporting in region and program offices. Ben XX, Jerry McXX and Diane G-XX (list o' big cheeses) are among those who have said something in meetings, sent an email, etc. noting your efforts.

Rodger, Molly and Casey - you all were amazing -- fast thinking and fast acting - along with great stamina and an ongoing sense of humor.

Everyone, whether in Oakland, Pasadena, San Diego or in your car, was on the ball, willing to stay until the job got done, figure out how to get the job when obstacles presented themselves - and work a bit outside of the box to ensure that members and patients had many means to get to the information they needed.

Thank you - I am privileged to work with such outstanding individuals.
Diana

Diana XXXX
Director, Communications and Media Services
Southern California Region Public Affairs
COMPANY


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Hmmm. That feels good.

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