There I was, sitting in my team meeting, talking about layoffs we may have to make… when in walked four men in white tuxedos. It’s Valentine’s Day, I work with a group of women– we all knew it was a V-Day surprise. The question was, “for who?” ”We’re looking for Music,” one of them said, handing me a vase with red roses in it and a bag of swag before blowing into a pitch pipe and leading his compatriots in a song. Yes, my friends, Mike surprised me this Valentine’s Day with a barbershop quartet singing telegram!
You could have knocked me over with a feather. Who does that?!? It was so sweet, but also so hilarious. I laughed and cried, as did the other four women in the room. The first song was a blur– I have no idea what they sang. The second one was “Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” which has been stuck in my head all day. They serenaded me and my colleagues and then were off to their next stop.
It takes a special man to arrange something like that, and I feel very lucky to have Mike as my Valentine. Things aren’t always smooth, but I never doubt I married a kind, talented man who is a great father and who loves me very much. Happy Valentine’s Day to him, and to you!
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This is the story of the super crafty, ninja-like way I arranged childcare the other night.
Background: My mom loves tennis. Her favorite current player is Rafael Nadal. She has gotten Michaela into tennis–and Rafa–too.
Yesterday, 3 p.m.
Mike: “Do you think your mom would watch Michaela tonight so we could go out to a nice dinner?”
Me: “I don’t know. Let me call and ask.”
I call. My mom answers. She’s excited.
Grandma: “I’m getting excited! Rafa’s match is at 5 p.m.! You’ll have to tell Michaela!”
Me: “Hold on, I’ll put you on speaker and you can tell her yourself.”
My mom tells her. I mute the phone and tell Michaela, “Ask Grandma if you can watch the match with her.”
Michaela: “Grandma, can I come watch Rafa with you?”
Grandma: “Ummm… Well, you have to ask your mommy.”
I do a happy dance. Mike gets a big smile on his face because it’s worked out better than we could’ve hoped.
Me: “Actually, I was calling to see if you’d watch Michaela tonight so we can go to dinner. So yeah, that’s great! See you a little before 5!”
Fade to black.
I spent a couple of days in Claremont last week with a good friend from college, visiting my old stomping grounds and taking in all the changes. So many changes! The campus has a lot of new buildings, the town itself has expanded, and I sometimes found myself thinking, “kids these days!” when I passed groups of students. Being in Claremont made me nostalgic–we spent a lot of time talking about the adventures (and misadventures) we had in college–but it also made me reflect quite a bit on how much I’ve changed since then. While I felt old visting my old dorm room and listening to watching kids wile away the hours with no idea how little responsibility they have, I wouldn’t go back to being a college kid for anything in the world.
I got this book for Christmas and have recently started trying to write in it each day. Some of the prompts are better than others, but they all help me stretch my writing muscles; I just open up the book and whatever page I turn to, that’s the prompt I tackle. Today’s was “Write 10 new cheers for a high-school cheerleading squad.” I write a lot for work (press releases, articles, letters, etc.), but most of it isn’t “creative” writing, so it was a really hard one for me. I enjoyed the challenge, though, and look forward to someday looking back at the book, full of my writing, and laughing at some of the dumb cheers I came up with, or my musings on “The weekend in St. Tropez” or “The nape of her husband’s neck” or “A bad smell and where it came from.”
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Our wonderful daycare does a weekly “Share Box,” where one day a week, each kid brings an item that matches the week’s designated shape, color or letter of the alphabet. Today, Tuesday, February 5, 2013, the letter is “F,” the shape is triangle and the color is purple. Purple, if you don’t know, is Michaela’s FAVORITE color.
If you’re walking through a parking lot and she sees something purple, Michaela will stop in her tracks, point at it and yell, “PURPLE!” If you ask her if her favorite color is yellow or green or red, she will look at you like you’re crazy and correct you. This is the same girl who asked Santa for only one thing for Christmas– a pair of purple fairy wings.
trigonometry worksheets pdfBut we can take her to a more suitable location for a strike.
Today is also National Pancake Day. Michaela’s love of purple? It’s greater than or equal to her love of pancakes. On any given day, if she has a choice of what to eat– for any meal of the day, mind you — the answer is almost always “PANCAKES!”
So the collision of these two things is like the universe telling me that I have to do something special with Michaela to celebrate. Mike is out of town today, so it will be a mother-daughter purple fest! I sent Michaela off to daycare wearing head-to-toe purple (purple rubber band for her hair, shirt, vest, pants, and socks), along with a purple toy to share. And soon, I will pick her up from daycare so we can head to IHOP for a pancake dinner. I only wish she was old enough to truly appreciate the excitement of this special day!
Anyone who is Facebook friends with multiple yuppies with children probably found their Wall full of “Elf on the Shelf” pictures in December. Mostly pictures of elves doing over-the-top creative things, or pictures of elves doing “boring” things along with language about how the parent couldn’t manage to do some fancy Pinterest-worthy stunt. (Don’t get me started on Pinterest.)
Throughout the month, I held my tongue about my belief that it’s a bad idea to use an elf to threaten your kid into doing stuff they should do anyway. You know, “If you don’t brush your teeth, the Elf on the Shelf will see and tell Santa.” I’m not a fan, and Mike and I are on the same page that there will be no elf on our shelf in the future.
Fast forward to a week or so ago when Mike’s dad and stepmom came to visit us. They brought with them the tradition of the Magic Horse. It’s a gorgeous little wooden vessel that, as I understand it, Mike’s Grandpa used to put coins in for his grandkids. When Bruce and Lynda arrived, Grandpa told Michaela that if she went to bed like a good girl, the Magic Horse woud make money. It didn’t necessarily make her go to bed better (her schedule was all thrown off from the excitement of having special visitors), but it certainly made her excited to wake up and check the horse!
I love that it’s a tradition passed down from Mike’s grandpa, who has long since passed away meaning Michaela won’t ever meet him, but I can’t help but feel like a hypocrite because we have encouraged the Magic Horse while abhorring the Elf. Maybe it doesn’t matter. Or maybe this is just a natural part of being a parent, proof that my attempts to stop saying, “I’ll never do that with my kid!,” are a good move.
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It’s the new year, so everyone’s busy making resolutions. I just read something the other day about how when you make a resolution and use your will power to stick with whatever you’ve committed to do, your ability to withstand other temptations is actually lessened. So I’m using that as my scientifically-supported excuse for not making an resolutions. The truth is, I know I won’t stick to them, so why set myself up for failure? Instead, I’m going to try to set some intentions for the new year.
I want to spend less time in the evenings in front of my computer or playing games on my phone. Instead, I want to spend more time with Mike or reading for pleasure.
I want to do a better job of keeping my “stuff” in check. Our house isn’t that big, my closet is full. I don’t need any more clothes or any more stuff.
Finally, I also want to be better about a skincare routine. I buy all these products but don’t use them consistently, and I should.
My goal is not to say “It’s January 1st and as of today, I’m going to do all these things!” I just want to, having now put these aspirations out there, to remind myself each day to try to do better. Even if it’s not every day, doing something is better than doing nothing. So why not give it a try?
Did you set any resolutions/aspirations? What are they?
How about 12 highlights for the 12th year of the millenium? Mike’s list might look different than mine, but since I’m the blogger-in-chief around here, you get to read my list, not his.
12. Getting my APR.
11. Being awarded a Telly and a Bernays Award for this video I conceptualized and produced.
10. Obama’s reelection.
9. Lots of awesome domestic trips, including to Arizona in February for a friend’s wedding (plus a stay at a resort with its own water park!), Kansas in February for Mike’s brother’s wedding, a road trip to the Bay Area in June, the lake house in Oklahoma in July, a girls’ weekend in Palm Springs in September, and Denver in November for Thanksgiving.
8. Finding an amazing new daycare for Michaela. They take such good care of her and the rest of the kids. It’s been fun to watch her blossom in the new environment.
7. Getting to meet my college roommate’s adorable and sweet son.
6. Getting a new job (and making it to my first day on time)!
5. Spending more time with my parents and brother. It’s especially fun for me to watch them interact with Michaela.
4. Mike’s business doing better than ever. He is so talented!
3. Michaela turning three and a great party to celebrate!
2. The family trip to Disneyland Mike, Michaela and I took in September. It was a blast and together we made some great memories. Michaela was old enough to know some of the characters and to be able to wait in line without too much fuss, but still young enough to take a killer two hour nap in her stroller in the middle of the park. Definitely the best birthday present I’ve gotten in a long time.
1. A Mike-and-Music-only, nearly-two-week-long trip to Europe!
Christmas gets more and more fun each year, as Michaela gets older and “gets” it more. This year she was still on the fence about Santa–didn’t want to see him and didn’t want him to come to our house, but was happy to have him leave presents, thankyouverymuch! She loves ornaments and Christmas lights, though, and all the cards decorations. And the movies! When we were in Colorado for Thanksgiving, Nana introduced Michaela to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and once we were home, we watched “Yes, Virginia,” an animated movie based on “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus.”
At Macy’s, a few days before Christmas. Santa who?
Seeing snow at the mall. It looks super wintery, courtesy of the soap flake “snow,” but the picture was taken here in San Diego.
Our beautiful tree– from Costco, like most of our purchases!
When I was growing up, on Christmas Eve, my mom, her sister, my brother and I would rent movies and order pizza. This year, Mike, Michaela and I did a variation of that, watching a kid’s movie (alas, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” couldn’t hold Michaela’s attention so we ended up watching “A Very Monkey Christmas,” an animated Curious George Christmas movie that was really painful to the adults but fascinating to the toddler). I love new traditions!
The three of us at movie time.
My parents and brother joined us for brunch on Christmas morning. We did that for the first time last year, since morning is the only time my brother is able to celebrate with us, and it worked really well. The food was good (banana-cherry baked oatmeal, spinach and mushroom mini quiches, plain scrambled eggs, sausage, and home fries) and we had a lot of fun opening presents.
Opening a giant box from Grandma Janice and Grandpa Bill.
Inside was a “Baby Alive” doll!
I indulged Michaela’s love of Curious George (and my love of basketball) with a shirt that shows him dribbling a basketball and says “I Got Skills.” (Obviously not grammar skills, but still.)
Did someone say basketball? Uncle Michael is on it!
One of Michaela’s other favorite gifts from mom and dad was a train set. Nana and Papa got extra tracks for it, so the whole thing (not shown here) is huge!
Hope you had as Merry a Christmas as we did!
Nana and Papa came to visit in December, to spend Mike and Michaela’s birthdays with us. We love having them and wish they could come more often, if only so we could do fun things like visit the New Children’s Museum!