Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Blog Her Book Club: The Magic Room

The Magic Room, A Story About the Love We Wish For Our Daughters by Jeffrey Zaslow is a journey into the reality behind one of the most universal dreams of women old and young alike.
The hunt for the perfect wedding dress.

Zaslow searched the country to find Becker's Bridal, a family owned and operated shop in a small Midwestern town Fowler, Michigan where an estimated 100,000 brides have found "The One".

While the book chronicles eight women's journey to Becker's and then to the altar, it expertly weaves in to their stories, and the history of Becker's Bridal. Eva founded the "shop" in 1934, in the general store of Fowler owned by her in-laws. She grew the business by bringing in a dress or two at first, keeping a close eye on trends, being a tough businesswoman, and fulfilling a very special desire. The store passed to her son and daughter in law, in 1975 and finally to Shelley, the present owner. Shelley had to overcome her own parents reluctance to turn over the reins until Shelley made a bold move of her own to force her parents hands 2005.

Shelley then transformed the old vault into "The Magic Room".

This is a story of strong women, Becker's and the brides that have stood in the Magic Room.

Their stories will make you cry, laugh and marvel at the strength of these women. Be it a Becker, a bride, or a mother or grandmother of the bride. Each one has a story, and each story is moving and uplifting.

The Magic Room is a perfect book for for mothers of daughters, fathers of daughters and daughters alike. If you have ever or may ever have an encounter with a wedding dress this book is worth a read.

Read a review, join a discussion at Blog

This has been a paid review for BlogHer, the opinions however are mine, mine, mine.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas surprises mean nothing to five year olds.

I had a couple of posts written, one I was going to get paid for, and one describing our fantastic trip to Joshua Tree, they got lost in my iPad app. I'm hoping to recover them at some point, when the app updates, but needless to say I am not going to rewrite them at this point.

This weekend we took the boys out individually each morning for breakfast and shopping with either Mommy or Daddy. Each kid got each parent for an entire morning of undivided attention. A rarity, but something we are going to make more of an effort to do, more often. Both boys benefited, and some things going on with Evan make us feel like he might need it most.

Anyway, both mornings were super fun, but the best part of my day had to be when we brought the boys back together, and after both Scott and I had impressed upon both Ryan and Evan that what we bought should remain a secret until Christmas, Ryan proceeds to whisper into Evan's ear about the Darth Vader watch he got him, with the mini figure!!!! and Evan, squees with joy, and begins the constant begging to have his present now, instead of Christmas. Later I causally mentioned that our Meyer Lemons look like they are ripe, and Evan began listing all of the things he bought me while with his Dad. Later that day, Ryan began telling Scott all about the tragic thing that happened when we were buying his watch. Scott and I could not stop giggling.
That was Saturday.

So far the additional 500 mentions of not telling anyone what we got them for Christmas seems to have worked because I have not heard from Ryan anything, and I know Evan has not told his father!

I love this age!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

An Anniversary of Sorts

Four years ago, on Thanksgiving, I started this blog.

A place to write down the crazy things that happened in our day to day lives, to reflect on the path we have taken to this point, a place for far away family and friend to keep up with our crazies. Mostly, an outlet.

With Facebook, I admit, the blog has taken a bit of a backseat of late, but after glancing back at some of those early posts, I know, I MUST, comeback here more faithfully.

It is amazing how much my boys have grown if four years. And it is so nice to have four years of memories, and thoughts to look back upon.

So today, in addition to my family, friends, health, and happiness, I am Thankful that four years ago I had a few minutes to stop and make this place, I am sure 40 years from now, I will be even more Thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Halloween 2011

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Teaching is not for the weak

I seriously do not know how teachers do it. Everyday. All day. All that kid energy! Whew, exhausted just thinking about it!

Our school had it's first field trip this week. We took 75 K-3 kids to the freaking ballet.

Granted, it was a 50 minute performance of Alice in Wonderland that incorporated ballet and hip hop and it was geared specifically for young audiences, but wow quite an adventure for our first outing.

I was in charge of four kindergarteners two of which were mine. Man four kids is a lot. (yes, Linds, I was thinking about you all day)

It really wasn't that bad except the walking all 75 kids from the theatre to the park in which we planned on having lunch. It was 5 or 6 blocks through downtown at lunchtime. And then finding half of the "Occupy" protesters camping in our lunch spot. And then the scowls we got from the regular occupants of the park as 75 kids descended screaming and hollering as if they had been forced to sit nicely and watch a ballet for an hour. It was fun.

I find I am much more relaxed when it comes to the safety of my own kids, you know as opposed to the safety of kids that don't belong to me. I was terrified that one if my charges would get lost, abducted or run over by a car.

By the time we got back to the school I was done. My whole being was exhausted. Ms Kari said field trips are really exhausting and that the everyday is much easier. That being said, as room mom I'm buying her a case of wine for her holiday, birthday, and teacher appreciation week gifts. A case for EACH!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, October 3, 2011


It has been quite a struggle getting the boys launched into kindergarten. I spent so much time researching, agonizing, and visiting schools. I spoke to parents, principals, and teachers. I finally made a decision and then the school closed, just seven weeks before school was to begin.

Needless to say there was panic, stress, and then some. I e-mailed and called and visited my second, third, fourth, and some new choices. I crashed parent meetings to get our names on wait lists. I then heard
that out of the ashes of my first choice a new school was rising.

The rest is a long and tedious story of waiting, literally the Thursday before our second choice school started our school found a location. Ten days later our school opened. Let me say this again. They found a location and in ten days a group of hardworking and dedicated parents cleaned, painted, moved furniture, set up classrooms and had the school opened.

We are now in our fourth week, and while driving 500 miles a week is already old, I am sure the boys are where they were meant to be.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, September 12, 2011

After the boys of summer have gone...

They head off to kindergarten.

But before I let our last summer of complete freedom slip away the boys and I had adventure after a glance.

The beach x2

Legoland x3

(oh and do I have a story about this last trip to Legoland and the ride home,
but it is a story for another day.)

Disneyland x2

Being that we are obsessed with Star Wars and Darth Vader at the moment, this was a particular highlight of our trip to Disneyland, as was the two rides on Star Tours. I had to use Mommy Mind Tricks to get both boys up on stage as the Jedi Master was choosing his young apprentices.

Evan using his Jedi Mind tricks.

Contemplative Padowan Ryan.

Ryan taking down Darth Vader.

Evan's turn.

Sea World

WIld Animal Park

This Cheetah Kiburi was in the nursery and we went to visit him several times a month, watching him grow, and running in front of his cage so he could run along side the boys. Ryan in particular, loved the little guy and would want to play with him forever if Evan would let him. He was heartbroken when Kiburi was no longer in the exhibit. This day we happened to be leaving when Kiburi was coming out as his new role as ambassador! Ryan was so happy to see his old friend, and I was really glad our timing was just right to see him.

Soccer started

Birthday party

Ryan requested a Moose Ear Hat, and a lightsaber.

And that was just the last three weeks.

And today we started kindergarten.

But first we had the opening our "cones". (For the second day of school they
would like me to make Harry Potter cones.)

Then we refused to pose for pictures.

We met our new teacher

She showed us where our backpacks go

...and we made ourselves comfortable.

...found some things of interest

"take a picture of me with the butterfly mommy!"

...and then we got down to business.

Culminating in a celebration after school with some ice cream and Legos.

Thoughts on the whole school thing to follow. Both mine and the boys.

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Weather Geeks

I am not sure how this started other than pure genetics but my boys have turned into bonafide weather geeks.

The have latched on to the IMAX movie Tornado Alley as their touchstone.

I believe Scott was interested in taking the boys to see it and I was worried it might be a tad scary. Scott showed them a preview on his computer and they were hooked.

Since that moment they have been building TIVs (tornado intercept vehicle) out of Legos, drawing them on every surface and pretending we are chasing tornadoes every time we are in the car.

We did end up taking both boys to see the movie which has only turned up the obsession to 11. And I have begun answering to Sean Casey (IMAX cinematographer and creator of the TIV)

Last weekend their young dreams came true. (aside from becoming darth vader).

Yes the TIV was in town along with Sean Casey himself and we were there too.

We won TIV shirts because we brought in on Lego creations. (just an added bonus we brought them just to show Sean Casey and had no idea there was a whole Facebook thing going on)

We were able to climb in and around the TIV.

We were even interviewed for the local news (our interview never made it to air)(updated, someone saw us on TV so I guess we just missed the correct broadcast in the three hours of local news we TiVo'ed.)

Sadly I don't have a better picture of their Lego TIVs and the real thing, but it is pretty clear that they were in weather geek heaven.

Now if I can just convince them that they may NOT be storm chasers when they grow up.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Book Club: Faithful Place

I just finished reading my third Blog Her Book Club selection Faithful Place by Tana French. It was a great mystery/crime novel that I had a tough time putting down! My review is up over at

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, August 22, 2011

This has been bothering me for a long long time

...and I finally remembered to write about it.

I'm not sure how it became okay, or rather good, for every restaurant to have televisions. I understand the sports bar, duh, or even in the bar, but why is it that nearly every restaurant has a television in the dining area.

I am an admitted television junkie. I mainline primetime. I understand how hypocritical it is of me that I have had my children be virtually television free ( with the exception of a few sports, because we love sports, and Dino Train while I cut their hair) for the first five and a half years of their lives, while as soon as they are tucked in to bed Scott and I zone out and watch the loads of shows waiting for us on our multiple TiVo's.

While I make no judgements, I am personally happy that my kids don't watch television and they don't even really know to ask for it aside from asking when we can watch hockey again. I love that most of their pop culture references come from books and what Scott and I have told them, not from television programmers and ad executives.

However I find it more than disturbing that we cannot seem to go out to eat *anywhere* without television monitors in every corner.

What happened to dinner conversation? What happened to looking at your companions and enjoying being with them?

Look around you it seems to be everywhere, from so called family restaurants to major chains, to the mom and pop corner eatery. It makes me sad that it has been decided that we as a culture would rather stare in to a monitor rather than those precious faces sitting across from us.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, August 12, 2011

Holding Pattern

We are just a few weeks away from the start of school, and my life is so up in the air! I wish I knew where we were going to go to school in the fall (three weeks).

My first choice is looking like we are going to be in a fantastic location, 45 minutes from the house. That is at least three hours a day on the road. That is less than ideal.

My second choice, is just that, a second choice.

My first choice looks like it will have great hours 8:30 to 1:45! Just over five hours. The location sounds fantastic. Big open spaces, room for a huge garden. The philosophy of the school is still fantastic, even more so, with talks of full sustainability, solar panels, gray water capture, trashless environment.

My second choice, has okay hours 9-3. The location is nice. The philosophy is similar, but different.

I just wish, wish I knew something for sure.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Not my stories to tell

Many things are happening around me that have me in a state. They are not my stories to tell, so I cannot write about them here.

I just know my emotions are raw. My heart is aching.

I am worried about my friends.

I am worried about their families.

I feel their pain.

I don't know their pain, but I can imagine it.

Hug your children.

Get your Mammograms.

Be thankful for your healthy babies.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Memories...Misty water colored

I've been meaning to blog, but I don't know, life keeps getting in the way.

We have been keeping busy since the last day of school.
Family vacations, Dinosaur camp, Fourth of July, it's been quite hectic. I have still not completely unpacked from vacation, there are things everywhere, and I just feel unsettled.

One of the things I've been doing is I've been burning some cd's on my old computer, where all of my old pictures are stored. They have been cycling through as screen savers and bringing up old memories.

I cannot believe the boys are five! I cannot believe how big they are. They are so grown up.
As I look at the pictures pop up from the NICU, as Evan is being wheeled off into surgery by Peggy, the first time I held either of my babies (Ryan), the first time I held both of them, the machines, the wires, I wonder how we made it through that time, virtually unscathed.

Then I see them as babies, oh, those cheeks!

Then as toddlers, with no hair, but still with the cheeks!

They were such cute little babies, toddlers, oh, my heart aches looking at their adorableness.

Sometimes I feel like I missed out on so much of that time. It's a fog. Such a distant memory, yet so much of that time is crystal clear. The fear of "THE" phone call. The sights, sounds and smells of the NICU. The quiet of 3AM disturbed by the sound of a breast pump instead of a baby. The color of blue, black blue, it still makes me feel ill. The monitors going off in the middle of the night. None of that normal, none of those memories should STILL be so vivid, while the memories of first steps, first teeth, and first words, are so foggy.

It isn't right, but it is what it is. Thankfully, I have the pictures to jog my memory, and that I have the boys here making new ones daily.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Preschool: It's all over now baby blue

Last Friday was the boys last day of preschool. It is so hard to believe that the year has already come and gone and that this is the last time my boys will be arriving for their first day of school here and walking through those gates as a preschooler. Sigh.

It seems like just yesterday but it was more that two years ago that I first dropped them off, for the first time ever I had left my babies in the hands of others. Those others nurtured and cared for my boys and I couldn't have asked for a better first school experience.

This year was not any different. We had such wonderful teachers that fostered that love of learning, and sense of exploration. They encouraged, supported and loved my boys and I will never forget the amazing experience we had, how safe they made me feel leaving them in their hands, how special they made my children feel, how much they learned.

Thank you to the amazing teachers and staff, we will always remember our first foray into education.

Almost every day we had to stop in the office to say Hello to our teacher from last year, it is clear that the boys were very bonded to her, and to all of the teachers at our school. I cannot say enough good things about our school. I am so sad to be saying goodbye.

A good friend of mine made these monograms for their teachers and I thought they were such a cute idea, I stole them for our end of the year gifts. I love how they turned out. The boys added a picture and note for the backs, they were a hit with our teachers too. This is where my friend found the idea.

Off to Kindergarten in the fall...I am so not ready for that!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Club: Getting to Happy

My second review for the Blog Her Book Club is up. This sequel to Waiting to Exhale is a reminder to us all that a good girlfriend is a valuable thing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

You may have noticed the new little badge on the right of my blog. I joined the Blog Her Book Club!

I read my first book, and posted my first review for the book A Discovery of Witches, it's a great book to take on vacation, or to the beach.

I have to say it was quite a luxury to read a book again, you know, the kind with out pictures!!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memories of Christmas Past

Today out of nowhere, while I was supposed to be thinking about nothing in savasana, a memory came flooding back to me.

It must have been the boys second Christmas, they were about twenty months old, fifteen months adjusted, ( we were still adjusting for age in those days, which is an odd distant memory today ).

Evan had a fondness for the star on the top of the tree, (he still does) he would spend forever looking at it and signing star. I think we took the tree down during naps or at sometime when the babies were sleeping. When Evan say the empty space where the tree once sat, he looked and signed star, all done, and looked at me with such a sad little face.

I'm not sure why this memory came to me today but it did and my heart is fuller for it tonight.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Yosemite May 2011

We decided on a little long weekend in Yosemite. It was quick, but much fun was had by all.

There was still snow on the ground and we had a small snowball fight, and a bit of "skiing on my shoes" (Ryan)

It appears one practice and one game a week have improved Evan's throwing form. Look at that follow through!

This is at Mirror Lake, just seconds before Evan fell face first into said Lake. A few more seconds later, there were tears. Icy cold snow melt tears.

Playing "Pooh Sticks".

Can boys walk through the woods with out balancing on fallen trees? I don't think so!

Lower Yosemite Falls, Evan and his ever present Red Umbrella.

Discussing hydrology. The boys don't yet really swim, or kayak, but they know how to read the water!!!

A moment of pure brotherly love. (or something, either way, at least they are both laughing)

Below Bridalveil Falls, it was wet, wet, wet! The trail up was full of water and we had some wet toes.

Off on an adventure.

Bridalveil Falls, amazingly big this time of year!!!!

We also managed to get to Vernal Falls, not all the way to the top, but to the steps, it was just too hazardous to take two five year old squirmy boys up those steep wet steps!!! Maybe next year.

It was a lovely vacation, our cabin was cute and quiet, aside from Ryan's snoring, and the deer came feet away from us. The South Fork of the Merced was a short walk from our front door, and every night the boys went down to the "creek" to look for rocks.

I just love being in nature with the boys, watching them, seeing amazing things through their eyes. Good times, Good times.


Evan: I am working on some serious art work here.