Friday, December 31, 2010

Year In Pictures!


Happy New Year! I know some people can't wait to move on to 2011, and for some 2010 was their best year yet. Mr. Mustard and I were just talking about our year over his birthday dinner, and we came to the conclusion that 2010 is a hard year to sum up. You know that saying, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times?" Well, that's it in a nutshell.

This year my 21 year old cousin died tragically in a car accident. My grandpa was diagnosed with cancer and died two weeks later. My mom lost her job just around the time my stepdad's stage 4 cancer returned. My dad and stepmom couldn't lose their jobs because they lost them the year before.

Our house sale fell through three times, after we had already moved out, and we never were able to sell it (but we rented it out for less than our mortgage- oh well). We thought Ginger had lead poisoning and had to move out of our new house temporarily. Oh yea, and I almost forgot, a crazy stalker stole photos of Paprika and started a blog about her pretending Paprika was her child.

What a year.

There have been many good times this year, despite all the hardships. Here is a little look back at our year!

This was our first year since 2004 that I have not been pregnant at all. True.

January we started hiking and getting Ginger used to the great outdoors:


We saw a lot of stage shows this year. Paprika went to Mary Poppins in February, and we followed it up with taking both girls to see Annie on stage, as well as Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Wiz, and finally The Nutcracker just a few weeks ago!


We took a lot of trips to Disneyland. We probably went 20 or 25 times this year.




I think we have enough Disneyland pictures to wallpaper our bathroom.


Okay, maybe our whole house.


In February, we decided to put our house in Pasadena on the market and move to the beach.


We said goodbye to our house in Pasadena, as well as Paprika's very loved preschool (I don't think there is a preschool teacher as great as Ms. D on the planet). There wasn't a dry eye on Paprika's last day.


We were in our new house by March and spent most of the month unpacking!


March and April were spent in a series of DIY home-improvement projects that I did while Ginger was napping. So, in other words, in 20 minute increments!

The kitchen floor "after":


Paprika's room "after":


Ginger's room "after":

In between fixing up the new house, we went to the beach a lot since we're just down the street now.


The beach became hangout numero uno, and we spent many afternoons there soaking up the sun, rays, and lots of sand!


Mr. Mustard had the month of June off, so we took a trip to Maine for a few weeks with his mom. We all fell in love with Maine again while we were there! How could you not? It is a gorgeous dream.




In June, Ginger turned one year old! We celebrated with a party in Indiana with my family there. It was the best!


We made some great memories, including chasing fireflies in the sunset hours...fireflies are something California is missing out on - big time!


In July we celebrated two years since Vivian and Annemarie went to Heaven. I don't know if celebrated is the right words seem to fit how much we miss them.


August brought Mr. Mustard and my 7 year wedding anniversary. That weekend my 21 year old cousin, Steven, was in a horrible car accident. He died on August 8th, and we were all shocked, horrified and inconceivably sad. For someone so bright and young to die so suddenly, it was just an injustice we can't even comprehend. I think about him and his family every day and wish I could change the events of that night. What an incredible man, gone too soon.

We made a trip on short-notice to the funeral and memorial service and got to see my family. Although it was brief, it was one of those events that we could not miss.


Mid-August brought Paprika's 4th birthday and an intimate birthday party at home with her two best friends. She is growing up!


In September, we raised butterflies in our backyard. It was amazing!


We started going to the Aquarium a lot during the summer, and by Fall, it was one of our favorite hang-out spots.


We all especially enjoyed the bird sanctuary and Paprika had lots of long talks with her feathered friends:


Paprika enrolled in Pre-K in September, and after a few bumps, ended up in the perfect classroom for her (one that doesn't meet in the morning- ha!) She has really blossomed in her class and has made a lot of friends there!


In September, my Grandpa was admitted to the hospital for what they thought was gout, and within a week he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He died at home, peacefully, two weeks later, on October 16th. We travelled to Indiana for his funeral, and got to spend some time with my family remembering his life. When he was in the hospital, I had a great conversation with him on the phone, probably the best I have ever had, and I will treasure it always. He was an incredible man and he is so dearly missed.


October brought an Indian summer to our beach community. Oh, what am I talking about, it's always summer here:


Halloween was magical on our new street, where everyone goes all out. Paprika wanted to keep trick-or-treating for weeks afterwards and it was only when she started thinking about Christmas was she able to let it go.


November brought Thanksgiving up in Santa Barbara, and me crossing off one of my big goals of 2010: giving up my precious Coke. Yup, that's right, I quit The Black Death the day before Thanksgiving and haven't looked back. My poor mother-in-law, husband, and daughters had to put up with me when I was in withdrawl over the holiday. They must really love me...or something! ;-)


In December, we visited Disneyland for the gazillionth time. It was awesome to see all the Christmas lights and get in the holiday spirit.


For Christmas this year, we stayed home (one of our first years not travelling 2000+ miles). I am happy to say that it was a magical Christmas, and so relaxing to just wake up in our own house this year. Cozy. Quiet. Not quite like our year, but good.


And then, just like that, it was 2011!


Thinking of you all, and wishing you a happy, healthy, blessed, and fulfilling new year!


Happy Birthday & Happy NYE!


Today is Mr. Mustard's birthday and it is also (in case you've been living under a rock), New Year's Eve. It is also the last weekend of Mr. Mustard's supposed month long vacation, which I am laughing about because it really wasn't a vacation at all!

This month he worked for a week in Santa Barbara finishing that documentary, then a week on Skating With The Stars, and then for the past two weeks has been working long hours with Paula Abdul on her new dance show. So, um...yea. But having work in this industry is good, so I am not complaining in the slightest.


Anyhoo, I am hoping that Mr. Mustard gets the day off today because it is both his birthday and New Year's Eve. If he has to work, we'll just postpone til a later time, no biggie. But we are all missing him, so I hope he gets the day off so we can have fun together!


The weather here has been kinda cold and dreary sprinkled with fleeting moments of gorgeous weather. We have been doing a lot of indoors stuff, and I have been trying to keep Ginger and Paprika from literally climbing the walls.

This glow in the dark drawing set was a Christmas present from Santa. Paprika has been pretty scared of the dark lately, so I guess Santa thought maybe it would help her get over that fear. So far it's working (and it's a really cool toy!)


We've also been relying on the standard Princess role-play stuff. For some reason, Paprika keeps casting me as either The Pirate or The Wicked Witch. No leading lady roles for me! Oh well. There are worse things.


When we get so bored that we just can't stand it anymore, we start making up games. One night when I was doing laundry, Ginger started begging to go inside the washer. I mean, she wanted IN there and there was no reasoning with her. So, I let her stand inside and she was pleased as punch.


The the next thing you know, Paprika had to go in and all of a sudden, it was a party!


I don't know how they can make standing inside the washing machine an event, but they did! Didn't you know, standing in the washing machine is the thing to do!


Happy New Year's Eve! I would say that we are going to stay home tonight and watch the Ball drop on TV, but we don't have a TV, so that's out! Whatever we do, we will make it is the start of a new decade, after all.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

18 Months!


Somewhere along the way, my little baby became a toddler. And then all of a sudden, that toddler turned 18 months old. About a week and a half ago! (Yes, I'm behind on my milestones post!)

This past month has been one of the most dramatic in terms of changes in Ginger. She is her own person more so than ever. She has wants, needs, and desires...and she knows how to let you know what they are! ;-)


She is extremely happy and affectionate. She loves her big sister, her mommy, and especially her daddy. When he comes home from work, she runs to him squealing and melts in his arms. Her favorite place to be is sitting on his lap, reading a book before bedtime.


Ginger is adventurous and fearless. She loves thrills, but only as long as I am nearby. She loves to run really fast and keep up with her big sister. She is a master tickler and she loves to be tickled.


Her vocabulary is exploding! She can say a few sentences, and a lot of words. Her favorite word is chocolate. Which is appropriate, because chocolate is also her favorite food. Like mother, like daughter! ;-)


She understands completely what we say to her, and is able to follow directions well. She is very helpful and will do things like go get her shoes, put her shoes on, go get her pajamas, bring her clothes to us, help throw things away in the trash, help pick up toys, and locate lost objects (like, ahem, cell phones that mysteriously go missing).

She is very good at climbing. Probably as good as Paprika was at this age, which is really saying something. Her favorite thing to do (if left unattended for even a moment), is to take a kitchen chair and bring it over to where she wants to climb. Then, she will add things to the top of the chair to make it taller. This gives her a launching pad to climb onto the counter, open up the upper cabinets, and have at it. Thankfully, all of our bookcases and big furniture were anchored to the walls months ago because she has already used them as her own personal Everest. No fear, I tell you. No fear.


She loves all food, and loves feeding herself. There is no way that she will let anyone else feed her (she's been this way for months and months now). She is still nursing and will not give it up - in fact, there is no use in trying because she just wants it more! I know there will come a point when I will need to set limits with that, but right now it's fine.


Paprika is fiercely protective of her sister, and doesn't want anyone outside of our family to touch her. We were at a neighbor's party last week and someone who Paprika didn't know well tried to pick up Ginger, and oh was not pretty! LOL.

She will defend her sister to the end. They are best friends, which is weird to say, since they are almost 3 years apart. But, they seem to have an understanding of eachother and a love that is so strong that not many people can imagine it.

There is no jealousy between these two. Just love.


So there ya have it, the 18 month deets.
I can't believe soon I'll be planning for her 2nd birthday. What?! Life just gets brighter and sweeter each day Ginger is in our lives. I never take a moment with her for granted - she is more important to me than my breath...and to think, about 18 months ago, I was holding her in my arms for the first time.