Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The joys of one....

Friends of mine have been raving about a stylish parenting magazine called 'Cookie' lately. A major magazine afficionado, I am familiar with this tomb, but had not been previously 'wowed' by it. I decided to give it another look when I had a few minutes today at the library.
I saw a few interesting features. One that really caught my eye was labeled something like, "Writers speak out on the right number of children for them: 0, 1, 2, or 3." What followed was four separate narratives, one from a childless (or 'childfree' however you want to put it) woman, and the remaining three had, you guessed it, 1, 2, or 3 children.
Due to my limited time, I was mostly only able to skim the piece by the woman with the single child. It was lovely. She talked about how she never really set out to have just one, things just turned out that way. Now that her daughter is 12, she just loves it. The writer cited her own childhood in which she was one of a few children. She said her favorite memory was one when she visited a flower market on a rare outing alone with her mother and had just a magical day. She talked about how much one-on-one time with her mother meant, and how as it was so rare, she remembered every moment. The woman went on to say how close she and her own twelve year old daughter are, and how they never have to work at having quality time together. Every day is 'flower market day' and she really treasures it.
She went on to say that recently they took a vacation and brought along a friend of her daughter's. Although they had a fun time with the friend, the writer talked about how she kind of missed her daughter on the trip, as she was making an effort to really spend time with the friend, including her and making her feel welcome. After the trip, she and her daughter went to lunch and shopping. They shared fav moments from the trip and just chatted about hairstyles and school, etc. The mom reflected again on the special bond of just one.
As a mother of just one myself, I really enjoyed this article. So much is written and celebrated about the joys of large families, and the joys of families with 2 children. I can totally see the benefits of both family sizes, and sometimes even feel a little wistful, even though I definitely feel one is the best number for us. Its just nice to see someone also tout the positives of just one (because there are a lot!) and not treat it like an unfortunate situation.
When I get Christmas cards from friends featuring a group of cute kids in matching outfits, or hear other moms affectionately refer to their family as their 'brood' or 'gang', I will likely sometimes still feel slight longing for multiple children. As my daughter is growing older, however, I am enjoying her more and more. She adds such a dynamic to our little family. Like the author, even though quality time comes much more easily, we still both treasure it so much. Our games, our jokes, our shared hobbies, all make our relationship so amazing.
There are so many benefits to every family size, don't you think??? What family size works for you?

Friday, July 25, 2008

So you think you can dance!!!

I love this show.....I wish it was on year-round. It really affects me. Ed and I have been tivo-ing it, rooting for the dancers, rewatching certain routines, and just generally getting caught up in the hype.

This season, we have a special favorite - Katee, who is featured in the video below. Ed works with her mom at Homestead High School, and although we don't know Katee personally, she stood out to us in the audition segment. We thought her and her roommate, who were both trying out, were really sweet, geuine, and funny. Then we learned of the connection, which made us even more excited. Her roommate didn't make it this time. Katee, however, has risen up through the ranks and is now a definite favorite. There are only two shows left until the winner is chosen. As we've seen her dance each week, we just think she is a phenomenal performer; so spirited, amazing, and humble.

Check out the clip below, for an example of the amazing routines on the show


Go Katee!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New trick...

I have a just developed new strategy for keeping P busy, when I just want to get something done. The oven timer. P looovvees to play with me, and its easy to spend the whole day carting her around to activities, reading stories, playing dolls, etc. (I'm a big sucker), with just enough time to get the basics done ("cook" a few meals, tidy up after, maybe a load of laundry, some basic personal grooming, i.e. shower) and that's about it. However, I'm someone who needs to be able to regularly accomplish significant things - like, 'hey, I organized a closet,' or 'I got two scrapbooking pages done,' or something. Without a sib to play/argue with, I'm usually the fall guy, even though I know she can entertain herself.

I just set the oven timer for 20 minutes and said, "This is my time to get a few things done. As soon as the timer goes off, we can play. I can't be interrupted before the timer sounds." It's worked like a charm, no "now, can we play? now are you done?"

Hopefully this will work! I would love to make some major progress on my to-do list before school starts. Does anyone else have tips?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Suprise around the corner....

I've taught Paige to look for unexpected treats....we say, 'you never know when there might be a surprise around the corner!' Last weekend we had two suprises around the corner - both in the form of Bastille Days, a summertime celebration at Santana Row, our local entertainment/ shopping/dining mecca. After the baby shower on Saturday, I was craving some fettucine alfredo, so after some moderate cleanup, we drove over to Pasta Pomodoro on the row. After a yummy dinner al fresco, bath and bedtime were looming, but we decided to take a little walk to digest our din-din. What do you know? In the middle of the street were tents, a stage, and music. Paige and I wormed our way to the front and sat down on the ground, while Ed stood with the other onlookers. We ended up seeing a 30 minute performance of Cirque de Soleil....so cool. I've never seen them before, and can't believe we got front row at a free show.
The next day held another surprise. After a birthday party held at a location near the famous 'row', we headed over for 'poodles on parade', a continuation of Bastille Days. Our friends were there to show off their dog and three month old daughter, and we hoped to run into them. Again, we angled to find a good spot near the stage just as the announcer called our friends' names as being 'on deck.' It was so fun to see them and snap pics. Afterwards, the party really started. Some other friend had arrived and someone learned that the restaurant on one side of the street was selling bottles of wine half price. Oh boy. We ended up hanging out for hours. The kids took over the stage after the dog show, as the DJ spun hits. A balloon man showed up. And the parents enjoyed the 'refreshments.' Summer at it's best.
Have you had any 'surprises around the corner lately?'

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Baby Shower

So, last Saturday I had a baby shower for my sister-in-law Erin. I was lucky to have three of my other sister-in-laws co-host it with me. My jobs included providing the home, decorating, games, prizes, and the cake - or cupcakes - in this case. There was some typical drama the day before, and the day of our hallway toilet started leaking (yikes!), but the event turned out beautifully.

I tried really hard to come up with some new games and activities since I just had a shower for a different sister in law last Spring followed by another SIL shower a few months later that summer. This time we played a fun memory game that involved a poster board that had a bunch of baby type words like 'bottle', 'grandparents', etc. Each word or phrase was on the board twice and covered with a number. To play, guests sat in a circle and chose two numbers, like 7 and 12. If the words under the two numbers matched the guest received a candybar that matched the phrase. For example: a package of lifesavers went with 'grandparents.'

We also did a group toast to the mom to be, in which everyone shared advice, thoughts, or wishes for the new family. Very sweet and we even got some tears (score! : ) ) The last game was the gift-opening bingo, where everyone tries to anticipate the gifts the new mom will get, writes them on a sheet, and covers them with stickers if and when those gifts are opened.
My sil's nursery will be pink and brown, so we went with those colors for the theme. At Michael's craft store, I found some Martha Stewart paper 'pom poms' in pink which I hung from the ceiling - it really added a fun touch.
If it wasn't for birthday parties and baby showers, I probably would hardly ever entertain. Sad!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th! Today we are heading to a friend's bbq and pool party. It is an annual event that I don't think we've missed in the 10 years it has been happening. It started as a get-together of my husband's friends from high school and has grown to inlcude many others and has evolved as people have gotten married and had children. Very family friendly, which I like. My husband looks so forward to it every year and loves to close the party down. The lemon bars my little one and I made are cooling as we speak.
Tomorrow we are heading to another friend's bash. They live near their local fairgrounds and are having a 'horse race' themed party. It begins with a civilized brunch and ends with a wild time at the fairgrounds, with the dads betting on the horses. So we are definitely gearing up for a busy couple of days!
As my blog is new, the other day I was curious about other blogs that might share its same name. I found one with a very inspiring message. The key point is to live with intention. Wake up every day and plan how you will feel that day. In everything you do, focus on your intention. I've been trying it and it has been really working. Here is the link: http://www.karlblog.com/blog/2007/04/intention-sets-direction.html
Continuing on the positive thinking note, I just picked up The Last Lecture. I've only had a chance to thumb through it, but what a book. I'm sure you've heard of the former Carnegie Mellon professor and the famous speech he created for his children and has now performed multiple (?) times, including on Oprah. It can be found on youtube at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo if you haven't seen it, you must watch it!
Have a wonderful holiday everyone! God Bless America.