Thursday, January 01, 2015

14 in 2014

This year flew by, more so than usual.  I think if I had to choose one word to describe our collective year it would be "overwhelmed."  There was a lot going on and we are just now starting to see the light on the other end.  This was my worst blogging year yet.  My hope for 2015 is to slow things down a bit and focus on physical health, mental well-being, and our overall enjoyment of the day-to-day.  Wish us luck.

So, here in no particular order are our top 14 in 2014:

1.  Our first grader.  Norah has changed in so many ways in such a short amount of time.  She has gained a ton of confidence and insight into herself and others.  She is killing it academically and is incredibly well adjusted.  Most importantly she loves school and is genuinely excited to go every morning (despite the fact we have to leave the house at 7:15 am).  I am grateful that her school is such a good fit and she is thriving.  She is in an advanced reading, writing, and critical thinking program at school and continues to surprise us with her skills.  She is a self-proclaimed "bookworm" and reports that she wants to be a librarian when she grows up.  


2.  BVZ's new job.  In March of 2014, BVZ (finally) left private practice for a job with the Attorney General's Office.  The commute is bad and the paycheck even worse but he's connected with some really great people he actually likes working with on a daily basis.  He also likes the work and is getting to take a bit of a breather for the first time in many years.  Oh, and he turned 40! And we went away for a night! 


3.  Louis's New School.  We have not had the best luck with pre-schools--I did not love any of the ones Norah went to and I had more than a few problems with the place Louis was at this past year. Over the summer he started at a brand new Spanish Immersion School that is three minutes away from our house and owned/run by a friend.  After all of this time, this is finally the school I have been waiting for.  Louis is thriving in a warm and loving environment.  He learns so much every day and actually knows a ton of Spanish already.


4.  Swimming.  First world problems I know. but I do really hate having a pool.  It is expensive to maintain and we do not use it enough to justify the cost.  For the first time however, I got a glimmer of what summer life will be like with two fully functional swimmers.  It is pretty sweet.


5.  Mother's Day.  This Mother's Day was one for the books.  It was nothing but a totally relaxing day surrounded by the ones I love.  BVZ actually made a present for me with the kids and I drank cocktails all afternoon.  It was a great day.


6.  Daisy Scouts.  I am the leader of Norah's Daisy Scout troop.  It is a ton of work and I do not love all (or even most) aspects of it, but she is getting a ton out of it and I am so thankful for the opportunity to spend this kind of time with her.  


7.  Visitors.  We had a ton of awesome visitors this year including ones from across the globe. Please come visit.  We will even heat the hot tub for you!


 8.  Thanksgiving.  Our trip to GG's in Southern California was a huge highlight of the year.  It was great for the kids to spend so much time with her and Aunt Vanessa and we packed a ton of fun into just one week.


9.  My old/new job.  After a lot of soul searching (and more than a few tears), I left my job this fall to spend more time with the kids.  I miss it a lot but am enjoying not waking up at 2:00 am in a cold sweat.  I started writing for an online legal publication and am hoping that will tide me over for at least the immediate future.  Norah was impacted the most by my long hours (well, and BVZ too), so I made it up to her with a long overdue girls trip.


10.  Reid and Lou.  These two.  As close as two could be without actually being brothers.  The evolution of their relationship has been hilarious to watch and I am thankful my boy will always have a best friend.


11. BFF.  Speaking of best friends, these two are incomparable.  Nothing has been able to shake them of each other and it is my hope that their distance only makes them stronger.  Norah takes refuge often in her best friend and "soul mate."


12.  Cousins.  Moving to Texas was a no-brainer because of these guys.  Norah and Lou have friends and companions for life.  The little boys think that Trevor hung the moon and Megan is Norah's hero. Megan now babysits.  At night! And we leave! We are so very lucky to have them all.



13.  No More Baby Jail.  No one around here wears diapers or uses pacis.  Everyone sleeps in their own bed (most of the time) and eats food from an actual plate (some of the time).  They can tell us what they want and need, can express their happiness and disappointment, and are continuously evolving into interesting and dynamic human beings. They even pick out their own Halloween costumes.  



14.  GVZs.  We are continuing to figure it out and I think we are getting better every year.  Here's to 2015! Happy New Year!





Monday, December 29, 2014

Holi-daze

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! It's been a crazy month.  Here are the highlights:

As soon as we got back from Thanksgiving vacation, Norah penned this note for Santa.  Freckles is her American Girl doll, by the way.


We hosted our Daisy Scout troop's holiday party.  A lot of fun was had by all (but as per troop rules I can't post any photos of the girls).


Reid turned four and had a Batman party.  Stephanie made the cake and cupcakes and I did the stands and background.  It looked awesome.


Batmans!


We gave Reid stormtrooper pajamas for his birthday.  That face.


No one could possibly love anyone as much as Norah loves Megan.


We have had a handful of chilly cold days around here.


I cry for the day they are too old for matching holiday pajamas.


My BFF from law school got married in a two-day Indian wedding extravaganza.  I wasn't sure he would ever get married and it was well worth the wait.  Norah insisted on taking photos of us with my phone before we left for the reception.  She had us make "angry" face.


We went to one of those pseudo-professional places in the mall to take a cousin picture for Bubby. These boys clean up nicely.


Best school photo ever.


Speaking of school, Lou had his holiday program where his class sang Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer in Spanish.  I love his school.  It's finally the perfect fit.


I am the class parent for Norah's class this year and so was in charge of the holiday party.  I killed it, if I do say so myself.  It was also her teacher's birthday, so we threw in a few surprises for that as well.  It was a ton of fun and a great end to the first half of first grade.








Norah and I went to see beautiful Megan dance in the Nutcracker.



Then at dinner afterward, Megan tried to school me in the art of taking selfies.


We did a lackluster job of decorating this year--time just got away from me.  Norah said our outdoor decorations were "pitiful."  She was right.


The cousins all had a holiday party at Bubby's where they had an awesome time and ate a ton of sugar.







Bubby took Norah to a painting class and she produced this gem.  I think it's really good.


Kiki was in town so we went drunk bowling and practiced selfies.  Clearly we have a lot to learn.


Norah helped me make chocolate pie for Christmas dinner by licking the bowl clean.


Christmas Eve was at our house with tamales, soup, wine, and the fourth annual Baby Olympics (ie, Lou v. Reid).



There were nine events ranging from twerking to telling a joke.  I thought Reid had it when he KILLED it in the eating contest (green beans), but then Lou made a comeback in the 100 meter dash and took the crown at the last minute.  They celebrated with a frosty brew (ie, sparking juice).


Christmas Eve bedtime is a piece of cake.  They can't wait to go to sleep.


By early the next morning the cookies and carrots were gone.


We had a leisurely breakfast just the four of us with nutella pancakes and egg casserole.


We don't do a ton of presents at Christmas because I find it all to be very overwhelming.  They get one gift from Santa and then one from each person in the family (so each kid gets four things total). Norah ended up with a doll closet, roller skates, a kitchen science kit, and a spin art contraption.


Lou got a race car, a stormtrooper, stormtrooper pajamas, and a whoopee cushion (the $6 runaway gift of the season).


We also bought Trevor's old wii system off of him and we are slowly getting acclimated to it.

Post breakfast we took Kiki to the park with us.



And someone needed a ride on the way back.


Christmas Day at Bubby's house is loud, chaotic, drunk, and fun.







Dinner was awesome.  I may have had thirds.



Thirds necessitates a post-dinner walk where children may or may not have invaded a nativity scene or two.


Saturday was our annual cooking competition and BVZ and I not only lost our title but came in fourth (out of four).  To our credit, everyone else's was just that good.  We recovered by letting Megn curl everyone's hair with Amy's new curling wand.



Saturday night was the final get-together (that's a lot of family time-shockingly all good!) and an early birthday party for Kiki.


It was a whirlwind of a season, but full of fun and festivities.  My favorite part of this time of year is the pantry door that fills up with the faces of friends and family from around the country (and world!).  What a joyous time of year.