Look at all the pretty horses.


It was food truck day at the Santa Anita Park today, so Addie and I met Daddy and Uncle Jeff there for the lunch. (It was also free hat day – how awesome are these hats for gardening?)photo3  And then we stayed around for the racing. For a little bit at least.


Of course we just picked the horses with our favorite names. They may have had the best names, but they had the worst odds. A few of them may or may not have even come in dead last. Eh, whatever.photo2It turned into an unexpected fun excursion. Recently Addie and her friend Francesca have been planning their lives after they get out of school…yes, they are 2nd graders. It is good to be such great planners, don’t you think? Anyway, they are going to live on a farm together and Francesca is going to take care of the horses and pigs and Addie is going to garden and take care of the…cats!

On our way out of the track today, Addie decided that horses were allowed to move up on her list of favorite animals. I think they are now number 4.  But, up to this point she has been completely scared of horses, so I think we made quite a breakthrough today.

Sprinting out of the gate…or under the net…or something.

So much for “new & improved” and “more frequent blogging!”

Pssstthh. Also so much for “easing back into” the school/work/chaos routine.

Last week was a lost cause. But tomorrow is a brand-spanking new Monday and a new week. And tomorrow…tomorrow, it is all going to get done.

I did finally get the NEW YEAR’S EVE photos off of my camera, onto my computer and into a usable format. Now if I just had some place to put them and document it all.

Oh, right. Here. That would be a good start.


Our lovely New Year’s Eve crew who we love spending the evening with.

This year we made it til midnight…Chicago’s midnight that is.  I just told the girls – it really is “your midnight since you were born in Chicago!”


I also made them do a little homework. They wrote about their favorite parts of 2012, and what they’d like to accomplish in 2013. And then they read them aloud to all of the grown-ups. (That part I didn’t make them do, but they were all very keen on sharing!)



Fast forward a few days, we decided to take the Girl Scout troop ice skating. We took the metro downtown to the Pershing Square outdoor ice skating rink. The train ride alone was quite the experience for our little sheltered girls – but we had a blast! Are they the cutest bunch or what?


The weather has been awesome here. VERY wintery and excellent because we’ve been rocking our hats, sweaters and “jackets,” and it was perfect for skating.

And believe it or not, most of the girls even ventured “off the rail” after a little while.


Then…fast forward to last week. Which was supposed to be a nice, simple, easy week. Em has been asking me if she could try out for the club volleyball team for a few months. Her PE teacher, who also happens to be the 7th/8th grade volleyball coach at the middle school, has made it clear that she has “promise” and should look into the club.

So she wore me down and I took her to try-out and ‘lo and behold – we are now a lucky member of the Starlings volleyball team. Which entails Wednesday and Friday practices from 6-8pm (remember my girls hit bed at 7:30-45!) and tournaments like their first one today. Where the whole family trekked to Anaheim before the sun came up and sat in the Sports Complex for 7 hours. The Sports Complex that has no heat and it was 34-40 degrees for most of the morning.


But was it worth it? Yes, I think it will be. I just keep telling myself – “this might be her thing.” And what if it is that one thing that she is really good at? I can’t deny her that. And…well, she loves it. So we are trying very hard to remind her gently that it is a sacrifice for the whole family and she needs to appreciate it.


But…it was kinda fun to see the very few minutes she got to play today. And the whole team aspect and watching her with her new teammates – it is a good thing.

Go #7! (We might have our work cut out for us!)


New Year’s Resolutions

This year I resolve…no more resolutions.

The “goals” that I worked on last year, seemed to do alright by me, and those that didn’t can stick around this year and we’ll see if we can make them work. Let’s take a peek back and see how well we did:

(If you remember I was trying to make all my goals fit into the three categories of Connect, Improve and Focus.)

12 for 2012

1. Spend some time catching up with old friends. I have really enjoyed re-connecting with my high school friends this past year and have many other old friends who deserve at the very least a phone call or email this year. (Connect) – Success! I feel like I managed to connect and spend time with lots of old (and new!) friends over the year. Still a goal I’d like to keep in this year’s lineup.

2. Schedule a one-on-one date with Emma and Addie and Daddy at least once a month so I can really focus on each of them and give them their own time. (Connect and Focus) - OH, so failed. We had some date nights but so did not get a once monthly in. Has to stay on this year’s list.

3. Run more. Sign up for a half-marathon in May (and maybe a 2nd in October) which will force me to train. (Focus and Improve) – Eh, sort of half and half. I did run, but that “more” part didn’t really happen. I’ve signed up for a couple races, so this should force the “more” part to happen this year.

4. Up my yoga to 2-3 days a week, mostly to combat the increase in running on my joints & muscles, but also to help find my happy place. (Focus and Improve) I didn’t up my yoga – but I was consistent on at least one class each week. So I call that a success.

5. Try a new recipe/cooking technique once a week. I was going to say healthy but – that might not always be a goal that I can follow. (Improve) – Fail. I definitely branched “out” – I learned to use my pressure cooker, found some great new slow cooker recipes, and am learning to be a bread baker right now, but that “once a week” might need to be changed to maybe “once a month!”

6. Picking up my camera and taking an “OMG, this is my fave photo of the week!” photo every single week. – (Improve) – EPIC fail. I can’t believe how few photos I took this year. I did a lot of iphone shooting, Instagramming and such but when I went through Flickr to get photos for the calendar…yikes! We had slim pickings. I’m definitely keeping this one on 2013′s list.

7. Organize the sewing/craft/spare bedroom so I can make some time for some creating. (Focus and Improve) – Success! The sewing and crafts are back down in the playroom, but we are organized and we created a lot of great things this year! But let’s keep the momentum going and leave it on the list.

8. Paint our kitchen cabinets and blinds. (IMPROVE) - Success!! Happily can remove that one from the list. Hopefully forever.

9. Read (and blog about) one book each month for the year. (Improve) – I read far more than a book each month. But didn’t really blog about any of them. Maybe we could do a little online book club? Anyone interested in that?

10. Turn 40 gracefully. (Hmmm…Improve, I guess?) – Oaf. I guess I was somewhat graceful when I turned 40? It was a great year, so I’m not complaining about 40. Yet.

11. Take a cruise with my family and r-e-l-a-x during a massage on the beach. (Connect) Success! How I’d love to keep this on the list, but since we are celebrating our 20 year anniversary in August, I think our family vacation is going to head down to Key West instead.


12. Ask myself “Does this help me connect, focus or improve myself or my family?” before I say yes to ANY volunteer activities this year. – I think that I succeeded here. I really did say NO to a lot of things that didn’t “work” for us this year. And although our life is crazy most days and full of chaos, I think it is all for the good of our family and I know the girls will look back on their childhood years and remember all of the great things we got to do and experience.

I really liked our goals from last year, and so a lot of these I’m just going to cruise on into 2013 and continue to work on. Anything on your list that I should be considering??