Hello, Tahoe

January 26th, 2015

Speaking of pretty views, the four of us spent the weekend up in Tahoe. We hadn’t been there as a family for four (!) years, and I’m not sure why we let so much time pass! The place is stunning, and the weather this weekend – at least for us non-skiers – was perfect: windy, yes, but also sunny and mild in temperature. I have a ton more pictures to share, but these two were taken just moments after we arrived…

-M

By the bay

January 24th, 2015

We went to a party at Ghirardelli Square not long ago, and afterwards we walked around to soak up the pretty bay views…

-M

“More specialer”

January 22nd, 2015

Last night Avery was snuggled up next to me on the floor when she suddenly put her face close to mine and whispered, “Let’s tell secrets.” Followed by: “You said I was more specialer than Zoe, right?” I’ve never said that, of course, but I had to smile at the wishful thinking of a younger sibling!

-M

Day at the tracks

January 21st, 2015

Before I headed out of town, the four of us headed to a familiar place: Golden Gate Fields, the site of many of Q’s previous birthday celebrations. It had been three years since we last went (Avery didn’t even remember it), and it was worth the wait.

-M

A sweet greeting home

January 20th, 2015

I spent Sunday and Monday (a holiday) hanging out with a friend in Wine Country. It sounds like the girls had a lot of fun with their dad (Avery has been asking for weeks to visit Q’s office, so he took them downtown for a visit), but I think she missed me too. When I pulled into the garage yesterday afternoon, she was standing and waiting for me with a huge smile on her face, and she later asked me, “Why did you even go without asking us to come?”

-M

A bestie selfie

January 17th, 2015

Speaking of the sleepover, Zoe and Zachary played around with my phone before heading to bed the other night – and I had to smile when I saw the selfie they took.

-M

Overheard…

January 16th, 2015

Zoe’s good friend Zachary was here for a sleepover last night. (We don’t normally have sleepovers on school nights, but his parents had to go out of town.) I’m not sure how the topic came up but at breakfast this morning, I overheard Zoe telling him and her dad: “My dream day is sitting at home and reading all day and having burritos for breakfast lunch and dinner. And then I would have ice cream at night. That would make it a dream day.” And a few minutes later: “And what would make it better is if Zachary was with me.”

-M

Family tree

January 15th, 2015

In honor of the upcoming Tu B’ Shevat (“birthday of the trees”) holiday, Avery’s class was asked to decorate a family tree. Here’s our creation, which we did over the break and is now displayed in the classroom.

-M

Lessons in traveling

January 13th, 2015

While on our recent break, I caught up on a lot of reading – and one of the things that resonated most with me was a Real Simple magazine article I came across. In the piece, a mom-traveler told the nightmarish story of trying to get home after a week-long ski trip with her husband and two children (a 6-year-old and a baby): Their flight home was cancelled due to a winter storm, they were rebooked for a flight three days later, and then that flight was cancelled. Finally they decided to just rent a car and make the 14-hour drive home themselves.

The mom, like I would have done, freaked out through most of each step of the ordeal but later realized she got a lot out of the experience. She wrote:

And when I thought about it, I could hardly believe this: how wonderful it had been. How, after days of being miserable because I was trying so hard to stick to the established plan, the thing that had saved us in the end was changing course, and taking a different road – literally. Maybe it shouldn’t have been a revelation, but for me, someone who puts so much stock in order and routine, it was. Our vacation had been full of incredible memories, but the long journey home, that part that I hadn’t seen coming, was the part I now cherish the most.

The story reminded me of our (admittedly much less awful) travel ordeals of last winter – when we endured a 7-hour delay when flying to see my parents for Christmas. When I look back upon that experience now, what I recall most fondly is the last bit of our trip, when the airline arranged to have a car drive us from Milwaukee to Madison. The girls’ eyes got so big when they saw the stretch limo pull out and realized it was for us, and I’ll never forget how little and cute they looked, sitting in their booster seats in that huge vehicle. Nor will I  forget the rest of that ride or how beautiful it wound up being with the snow gently coming down outside our window.

I never would have thought this was something I would cherish, but as with the mom in this story, it’s now a great memory for me. And it’s yet another reminder to try not to stress, but actually embrace, life’s small stuff (even if it doesn’t seem small in that moment).

-M

Little (er, big) reader

January 12th, 2015

Over the weekend I was relaxing in bed with a magazine when Zoe hopped by my side. I looked over at one point and was so struck by what I saw – with her nose pressed into her book and legs crossed, Zoe looked way older than just-eight – that I had to take a photo. Where did my baby go?

-M

Sleepover

January 9th, 2015

It’s been our tradition that whenever Q goes out of town, Zoe sleeps in bed with me. Now that Avery is older, and no longer has nighttime accidents, she wants to be included in this – so the girls agreed that she would sleep in our bed the first night Q was gone, and Zoe the second. But as they got ready for bed on the first night, Zoe started getting sad and saying she’d be too lonely in her room. Her solution? Getting out the sleeping bag and camping out right next to us. (Avery followed suit by sleeping on the floor next to us last night.)

I didn’t get great sleep either night – both girls woke up a few times, and Zoe thrashes around when she sleeps – but I do love that we had a girls sleepover!

-M

A plus

January 8th, 2015

It’s back to school and work for all of us, though this week is a bit different than normal: Q is traveling for work and away for two days. He called us early today to say good morning, and Avery’s sign-off was too sweet not to share here. “Good luck at work today,” she told him. “Hope you get an A plus!”

-M

Scenes from a break

January 5th, 2015

Some photos from the last two weeks…

-M

Reflections on a break

January 4th, 2015

For the last two weeks, the girls and I have been on break. Unlike in years past, we didn’t travel anywhere major (Monterey is only a two-hour trip) and we didn’t make any major plans. Aside from my personal goal of working out a lot and decluttering our house and garage (check and check!), I wanted us all to just relax, to be spontaneous in what we decided to do, and to, y’know, just be. And so that’s what happened! (Avery was sick from Saturday to Thursday of last week, so we would have had to stay inside even if we didn’t want to. It was a bummer she didn’t feel well, but at least the timing wasn’t terrible!)

When I look back at this vacation I’ll remember things like playing Frozen Monopoly (thank you, Aunt Wendy!) with Avery and Mastermind with Zoe, setting up a Lego Friends city with both girls, and running lots of little errands – and yes, going shopping – with the family. (Avery said her one wish for the break was to go to the “place that gives you free stuff,” so we took her to Costco one morning.) I’ll also try to remember the joy of slowing down, of not rushing to be out of the house by 8 or 9 every morning, and by not making plans and seeing where the day takes you. When we asked the girls what they wanted to do yesterday, Zoe responded, “I just want to have a lazy day and stay home.” It’s taken me awhile, but I’m seeing the benefit of that!

-M

A new look for the New Year

January 3rd, 2015

Q took Zoe to get her hair cut the other day, and she came home with a new style. I had suggested she get it cut short, but it was ultimately Zoe’s decision: She decided to cut a lot off, she said, because it’s easier to brush and it looks healthier. She seems happy with the new do; I kept catching her later that day looking in the mirror and giggling. “I look like a totally different person!” she said.

-M