Wednesday, December 31

New Year's Eve Kindergarten Style

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OK - Last minute party plans make for a fun time for the girls and their friends...,

Complete with noise makers, fancy glasses, bubbly juice...


and New Year kisses.

Miss Rene and Dylan

Nadine and Lil' Sammy

Miss Amy and Miles

Good times and great memories!

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Thursday, December 25

In just a few short minutes...,

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This is how Santa left the place after dropping off gifts last night...,


And this is how it looked this morning...,



Christmas morning - chaotic magic with two small children....,

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Wednesday, December 24

The Santa Tracker

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OK - this is the coolest thing for kids since ..., (Oh, I don't know. Sliced bread just isn't all that relevant.) It's just cool!

It's the Norad Santa tracker. The Norad (American/Canadian North American Air Defense) Web site provides regular worldwide updates in seven languages, and kids everywhere can watch Santa's progress as he drops off presents across the globe - complete with video clips, audio updates and photos.

Very cool!!

For the computer impaired, NORAD also has a hotline too. It's staffed by U.S. Air Force personnel who provide up-to-the-minute, detailed tracking information by phone.

Alex loved it. She would have spent the entire afternoon and evening tracking Santa if we'd let her. And they were both excited to get to bed - knowing that Santa had already crossed the Atlantic and was now delivering gifts on the East Coast and heading toward our home.

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Your kids can call NORAD for an update on Santa’s Christmas eve progress. 1 (877) HI NORAD (1 877 446-6723). From outside the U.S. 1 (719) 556-5211. You can also track Santa all day on the website: http://www.noradsanta.org/

To check out Santa's 2008 travels, complete with pictures and video, click here. (Click on the packages and video icons).

**


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Tuesday, December 23

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2008 - Another crazy year! Crazy in great ways for our clan.

After six months on the job, Casey stopped crying -- realizing that we (read: she) would all survive with her working outside the home and began enjoying her job more than she thought she could. The work is interesting, and adult life is as stimulating as she remembered.

Dave is still happily plugging away--changing the world--inspite of the California budget deficit. Actually - with one paycheck coming from the health care sector and the other from the University of California system, we're sitting relatively pretty in these uncertain times.

Sunday, December 21

Baking Day 2008

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Another annual tradition. Good times with Aunt Jane and Lil' Chewie--creating yummy Christmas treats.




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Friday, December 19

What???

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Momma?

Yes Ray?

Have you ever seen a cat explode?

Wha...??

OK. She might need therapy earlier then most...,
**

Thursday, December 18

Our Little Alpha

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Oh - you'll think it's just another "cute" little video of preschoolers singing "cute" little Christmas songs - way off key, but it's really a lesson in the subtle ways of the alpha child.

Watch Alex as she "guides" Rachel in the "right thing to do."

video

**

Saturday, December 13

Giving Thanks

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I've been thinking about this for the past two weeks. In keeping with our family tradition - this is the time of year we think about everything we have and all we're blessed with. And, while I know it's comparatively a lot, I've had a hard time this year because I'm connected to more than a few people whose lives are filled with chaos, mayhem and tragedy.

It's really too easy (and, it seems to me, somewhat shallow and callous) to simply be grateful that its them and not me. And really all of that chaos simply makes me sad. People are baffling animals and there is simply no way of explaining the "out-of-character" actions of people you thought you knew.

But through all of this craziness, each night I come home to my family. Dave and the girls. Ollie and Guinea. Sometimes it's a little crazy with two small kids, the house is sometimes a wreck, and there always seems to be more to do than there is time - but it's still somehow peaceful. We're all on the same team - trying our best to move in the same direction.

It's a safe place.

We're all safe, supported, and needed.

This is our soft place to fall - a shield against the chaos, mayhem, and scariness of the world outside.

This is what I'm thankful for.

And a few more things I'm thankful for...,

Fellow kindergarten moms: Rene, Heidi, Miss Jill...,
The return of Miss Molly
Our new kitchen & the ultra smooth remodel process
President-elect O'Bama and VP, Biden
Change and the growth of tolerance
Ollie and Guinie
Sweet work gig
Financial stability in unstable times
Good friends - old and new

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Daddy is thankful for...,

Alex. Watching her learn to read.
Rachel. Her love of dance and Miss Donna's class
Inside voices
Our home
Mommy

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Alex is thankful for...,

Bunny
Teddy Bears & Puppies
Soccer Trophy
Mommy Daddy, Ollie, Guinea and Rachel (Not necessarily in that order)
Abby and Dylan
Rabbits and baby owls
The whole-wide world

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Rachel is thankful for...,

Alex
Flowers
Ollie
Guinea
Mommy and Daddy
Chickies

**

Thursday, December 4

Giving Thanks

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In keeping with our family tradition --

This is the time of year to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. So - I sit and ponder...,

Alex
Rachel
Dave
New remodel
Ollie and Guinie
Sweet work gig
Financial stability in unstable times
where is my love letter for Dave
Our home
Good friends - old and new
personal growth

Sunday, November 30

Learning to Stand Up

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Some of the values that we want to teach our girls are tolerance, diversity, and standing up for what you believe in. Stand up, don't sit back & assume someone else will take on the status quo to affect meaningful change.

Even if that change isn't about you personally - but rather about inequality and basic fairness.

Stand up for your neighbor - one day you may need someone to stand up for you.

A few weeks ago we taught by example and, along with 23,000 like minded San Diegans, joined the Walk for Equality. Promoting gay rights. Specifically the right to marry.


I was proud to be a part of this peaceful protest.

Proud to walk beside one of my best friends, who is denied the rights and recognition that I am able to take for granted.

She is no less deserving, her heart is no less caring, and her love is no less meaningful. Why am I granted rights that she is denied simply because I happen to be a woman who loves a man.

For the life of me, I just don't know why people care enough to stand in the way of others who want to create loving families with all the protection and recognition under the law that hetrosexuals have - and so often abuse.

?????????

**

SILENCE

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Socialists
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Socialists

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out -
because I was not a trade unionists.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak for me.

**


Monday, November 24

Construction Complete

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Actually it was complete the day before Halloween - but, with two small kids in the house, keeping the place clean and organized for more than five minute seems impossible. Soooo, it's taken this long to get the after photos...,

OK - Drum role please....,


Green walls, bamboo floor and RED furniture and leather ottomans.
The island design turned out great - tons of convenient storage, power and seating.
(Bar stools are on order)
Love this! Our banquette. The fabric is sooo fun!
The dining table and chairs (on order) will be placed in front of the banquette seating.

We're still in need of window treatments for the kitchen, a little artwork for the living room, the dining table, chairs and bar stools. But - other than that - it's DONE!!

Loving it!

**

Saturday, November 8

What's all the fuss about?

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I don't understand the flack about gay marriage. I can't make the leap between the marriage of "Jane and Joan" and the long-lasting damage it would supposedly cause to me, my family, or society.

These are the arguments that have been presented:

1. Legalized gay marriage will threaten the tax status of my church.

Churches today refuse to marry people everyday. For example, the catholic church can refuse to marry any two people who are not catholic, any person who has been married and divorced - yet not annulled. All of these people are allowed to marry by law, yet are denied marriage within the hallowed walls of the church and there is no legal recourse.

The same would be true of homosexuals. They would be allowed to marry by law, yet denied marriage within the hallowed walls of some churches - and they would have no legal recourse against the church. There would absolutely be NO IMPACT ON THE TAX STATUS OF YOUR CHURCH.

2. They're going to teach homosexuality to my kids.

First, knowledge of homosexuality will not make a person gay. So, let's all try to get over the fear about our kids learning the 'secret.'

Also, I'm seriously unclear how the statement that a woman can marry a woman, or a man can marry a man, will cause harm or emotional scars to our children.

3. Marriage is a sacred union.

I appreciate that individuals and individual couples hold marriage as sacred. But I would argue that this is not unique to the heterosexual community.

On the other hand, if the concept of marriage being 'sacred' within our society really had any validity, we wouldn't have a 50+% divorce rate. (If you've been divorced or cheated - you should really sit this one out. You've had your chance. Give the gay community a chance to get it right. You already blew it.)

4. It's against God.

Why don't we let God decide that. I'm not sure God would be all that happy about people speaking on his behalf - or meting out judgement and punishment for that matter.

5. It makes you uncomfortable.

Seriously? Are we narcissistic enough to deny the rights of others based on our own personal discomfort?

Help me understand.

Why do people care enough to deny the right of marriage to others? Does the marriage between two people - whom you may not even know - affect you in some way? Threaten the security of your own marriage or the foundation of our society? Really?

Help me understand.

Because the arguments I've heard so far - really don't seem to hold water.

**

Monday, November 3

Choosing Friends

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Our friends don't have to be perfect. They don't have to agree with all of our views or political opinions. But - on some level - at the core, isn't it necessary to share some basic values???

Don't the friends we keep reflect the type of person we are?

And, so, it might be time to ask, "Who are the friends I'm keeping?"

**

Sunday, November 2

Halloween Rocks!

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One of my favorite holidays...,

It's all about the kids!! And an excuse for a big party, complete w/ bouncy and pinata - no presents required!! LOVE IT!!!



**

Saturday, October 18

Thursday, October 16

Things are starting to slip

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OK. Now we're down to no kitchen, no living room or dining room, the play room is knee deep with wood flooring that is "acclimating" to our house, and there is more dust than you can imagine. Everything takes a little longer, and somethings are just not getting done at all.

This morning I rushed the kids out the door ten minutes late for school. As I pulled out of our subdivision, I looked back at the girls and shook my head as I realized I'd completely forgotten to brush Alex's hair.

Lovely.

Well, at least her shoes match.

**

Friday, October 10

Progress....,

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What it was before...,



And the first stages of progress...,


(As you can see - we're trying to select paint colors. UGH!!)

Of course the girls wanted to help out too.


The cabinets are looking good...,



We did the templates for the granite a few days ago and Russo Granite and Marble created a custom edge detail for us. (Love them!)



Can you believe we're still aiming for this all to be together by Halloween?!? Yes - crazy, but it might just happen. We've got the GREATEST contractors EVER! (Dave Robbins Construction ROCKS!)

**

Wednesday, October 8

It's Magic

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In the midst of all the chaos, what are you gonna do?

Let's go to Disney Land!!




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Friday, October 3

Disruptions...,

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Remodel begins...,

Day 1: Demo is complete - the kitchen and one wall is gone, and the fridge is in the living room. Mommy can't find her shoes and gets in an argument with the laundry. The laundry wins.

Day 2: Alex has an uncharacteristically large meltdown over what appears to be nothing. As I remember my losing argument with the laundry, I remind Daddy that we need to cut her a little slack too.

Day 3: Mommy gets a flat tire - because running over a nail was just what I needed. On the plus side - my work mates joined me for happy hour as I waited for road side assistance to come fix my flat.

Day 4: Disruptions abound. Mommy gets in an argument with a sippy cup. The sippy cup loses.

Day 5: It's all good. Still no kitchen, I haven't found my shoes or repaired the tire, but I've made peace with the laundry and the sippy cup, Alex is calm again, and we're at a good pace to finish by halloween.

Keep your fingers crossed and wish us sanity.

**

Sunday, September 28

It all starts tomorrow...,

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Hi Casey, it's Dave Robbins.

Hi. Thanks for calling me back. So what's the plan?

The plan is we come to your house on Monday morning and tear apart your kitchen.

OK - good plan. See you Monday.

**

Saturday, September 20

Sometimes it's all about the hat

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Our little girl is growing up.
Four years old and a whole lot of spunk!

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Friday, September 19

Quote for the Day

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"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."

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Thursday, September 18

What's up with Barbie?

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Why is it, with such an extensive wardrobe and multitude of career choices, that whenever and where ever I find Barbie lying around our house she is naked?

Not a stitch of clothes (except for an occasional shoe), matted hair and head spun around like Linda Blair from the exorcist.

hmmmm?

**

Tuesday, September 16

Quote for the Day

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Whatever you give a woman, she's going to multiply.
  • If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby.
  • If you give her a house, she'll give you a home.
  • If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal.
  • If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.
She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So - if you give her crap, trust me, you will receive more shit than any one human being can handle.

Love and appreciate the women in your life.

(~ Jane Ezratty~My Sis!)

**

Monday, September 15

Out of the mouths of babes...,

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We order dinner and then I take the girls to go potty.

"Mommy," says little Ray-Ray.

"Yes, honey?"

"My bottom doesn't cover the whole thing like yours does."

"Thanks for the observation, Ray. Thanks!"

**

Sunday, September 14

A Universal Dilema

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In our ethnocentric society, we sometimes falsely believe that we alone suffer moral and ethical dilemmas. Or maybe it's less self-centered than all that and we simply forget that "they" are people too, just like us—just living life and trying to get by. The language, culture and religion may be different, but some of life's most basic challenges are universal.

I was reminded of this fact last night as I was surfing the Internet looking for articles related to "a working mother's dilemma." If you’re a mom, you know what I’m talking about.

Too little time with the kids. A bit of guilt and fear about what's best for them as we try to simultaneously grab onto something, or sometime, for ourselves and our own fulfillment. How do we meld all of that together for the betterment of the whole family? Add in the financial concerns and a woman's head could explode.

There are those, I guess, who are solid in their conviction. 100% certain that the choice they've made (whether to stay home or to work outside the home) is best. But more often, women vacillate between the two. Stuck in an unsatisfying sort of limbo—happy on the one hand, but questioning on the other.

What I found last night was that this little dance is something that crosses language, cultural and religious barriers. I found a nicely written blog about this very struggle with several thoughtful comments from moms trying to reconcile these disparate wants and needs. I was halfway through when I noticed where these women were from—Kuwait, India, Pakistan.

Half a world away, seemingly a different cultural universe, yet as moms we’re all basically facing the same dilemma. How do we give our children everything they need (love, attention, opportunity, and enrichment) and still give to ourselves enough (love, attention, opportunity, and enrichment) so that we don’t disappear as a result of having children.

If anyone has the answer—PLEASE let the rest of us in on your secret.

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Wednesday, September 10

Friday, September 5

Let Them Dance...,

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There is nothing cuter than a room full of 4-year old ballerinas...,



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Thursday, September 4

Quote for the Day

"If you want the future to be better than the present, you have to start working on it immediately. Remember: What you want is better than, not optimal. Your job is to do something today that's better than what you did yesterday. And to do something tomorrow that's better than what you did today."

Tuesday, September 2

Momma's Stone

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Our new granite...,

and our new floor.

So pretty

Construction begins soon. Completion date? Before Halloween. Keep your fingers crossed!

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Wednesday, August 20

Day 2: Our New Reality

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Day two was rough. The build-up, excitement and photos were gone. The reality that this was it, for the next 12 years and beyond, the girls will have another life.

From today forward, Dave and I will be on the periphery. No longer the center of their world. No longer will we have full knowledge of what goes on in their lives - just bits of what they tell us after hours outside of our protective reach.

I dropped Alex at kindergarten and Rachel at preschool with the usual hugs, kisses and smiles. I returned to my car, tears welling up in my eyes.

My two little caterpillars have left their cocoons.

**

Tuesday, August 19

There she goes...

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The first day of kindergarten went off without a hitch. No tears, no whining or clinging - all smiles and excitement. But enough about me, Alex did great too!

We arrived early, camera in hand, and walked Alex onto school grounds.

She found her friends and off she went - whoo hoo! Play time!! Her first experience with recess was a BIG success, and Momma was reassured that she'd survive - at least that 1st day.

We took the obligatory 1st day pictures, cheered her on, kisses and hugs all around...,

and away she went, her 1st day of school...,

My little-big girl. Confident and strong.

A proud, happy sigh - heavy with nostalgia.

How did this happen? How did we get here soooo quickly, and how do I slow down the clock?

**