Sunday, April 29, 2012

April Catch-Up!


This month has been filled with high highs and low lows. I haven't felt much like blogging since Eric passed away 9 days ago. But, this blog is a great source of joy for me - especially in retrospect. One of the greatest gifts I've given myself as a mom is this blog. The chance to look back on our lives over the years is such a precious gift. It all goes by too quickly.

This month we've had lots of visitors. Devon came with her daughter for the day. Paprika loved hanging out with one of her besties!

Uncle Rob and Aunt Jackie came for a visit, too. We had such a great time having them here - they even got to watch Paprika at her swim lesson and they helped me keep Ginger entertained at the pool. I can't tell you how helpful that was! :-)


We had many days at our local "pocket park" - it's basically a sorta secret neighborhood park that is teeny tiny, but just perfect for us. Not too big, not to little. The one thing it's missing is a bathroom. But it's close enough to home that even that's not a big issue. Until it is. Haha.


Paprika loves to celebrate anything and everything. She especially loves birthday parties. She staged this big birthday party for her doll, Boo. She wrapped her presents and everything. We had this set up for about a week before I finally "unwrapped" the presents and put the dolls away.


Sometimes I honestly wonder why I buy my kids toys, because the things they most like to play with aren't toys at all. I could write a whole other post about how the kids' most beloved gifts have all come from Goodwill or the thrift store.

There is some kind of inverse relationship between how much a gift costs and how much it gets played with. The huge dollhouse I bought the girls for Christmas (that cost a small fortune) hardly gets played with but the little dollhouse I bought at a garage sale last week for $1 has been played with non-stop. Go figure! This should all teach me a lesson. For example, the girls were having a lot of fun playing with this "toy" a few weeks ago:


Hours of endless enjoyment from a clear storage bin. What can I say...the toy stores could not think up something so clever. Haha.

I have more pictures and more stories to tell from our April...hopefully I can get caught up in the next few days. Life is busy. I know it's always busy, but for some reason, with having three kids and Mr. M's crazy work schedule, it all seems busier than ever. Even so, we still managed a trip to Disneyland this month (Baby Violet's first trip!) and Grandma Pat came down for a visit, too. And probably a million other things I'm forgetting! That is why I have this blog, afterall! :-)


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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

May You Live All The Days Of Your Life


On Friday, my stepdad Eric - my little brother's dad - passed away from colorectal cancer. He was 44 years old.

This past week has been a really difficult and sad one for our family. I have so many memories of Eric, and it is just hard to believe that he's gone. It's hard to believe I can't just pick up the phone and talk to him, or that we'll take a boat ride around the lake the next time I am home in Indiana.


You all may remember that in June of 2000, I was in a fire that burned down the house where I was living in San Francisco. I ended up driving back to Indiana with nothing more than the clothes on my back. I had lost every material possession I'd ever owned. I had a big collection of music (all on CD back then - we didn't have IPods yet), and all of my music was burned in the fire.


Eric was a big music lover - probably the biggest lover of music I have ever known. A lot of people would say, "Oh that's too bad" about the fire and move on. A few might have bought me a CD or two to replenish my collection. But not Eric. Nope.

Do you know what Eric did? He copied hundreds of music CDs for me to replace what was lost in the fire. He replaced pretty much every CD I had in my music collection, and he also introduced me to lots of new music I'd never heard of before. He not only fixed what I was missing, he made it better. He didn't just go buy a bunch of music...he took the time to create a whole music library for me. It was a gift that took hours and hours of his precious time (days even?) - and he did it without blinking.


It was thoughtful and unexpected. But if you knew Eric, then you know that he was the kind of person who went out of his way for other people all the time. He was the type of guy who would drop everything to be there for a friend. He was that friend in need (a friend, indeed).


You know how some people wait until the end of their lives to live, only to discover it's too late? Well, that wasn't Eric. When you were with Eric, you knew that you were going to have the best time possible. Eric made every moment seem like an event.

Whether we were going to the Indy 500, or to a Colts game, or roadtripping along the California coast, Eric always had a way of figuring out how it could be the best experience possible, and then making it so. If you were going to ride a rollercoaster with Eric, you were going to ride in the front car. He never did anything 50% - he always made sure every little memory he made with you was one you'd tell stories about for years to come.


I have enough memories of Eric to fill a hundred blog posts. He was my stepdad, and while our relationship was not perfect, he always treated me with so much respect and love. I have a hard time believing that he's gone. I don't understand cancer. He was too young, too vibrant, and had too much left to do for cancer to steal him away.


He died two days after my little brother turned 17 years old. I know all our lives are brief in the big scheme of things, but it's just really hard for me to reconcile a boy losing his father so young. Especially a father who coached Little League and took his son to football games, and gave so much love to the people around him. A guy who was so full of life.

Eric truly lived all the days of his life. He squeezed every good moment from his life and truly lived with passion. Every time I want to take the middle seat on the rollercoaster, I will honor Eric by riding in the front car. He showed up...for people, and for life. I hope that at the end of our lives, we can all say the same. Miss you, Eric.


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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chasing Bubbles!


There is nothing Daisy loves more than bubbles. Well, actually, anything that involves being around the girls is her #1 favorite activity. And if there are bubbles involved, then even better!


Here are a few photos of Paprika playing with Daisy. Paprika would blow bubbles and Daisy would chase them.


Daisy was so excited. I don't know if those bubbles were driving her crazy or what, but she was having the time of her life waiting for Paprika to blow them and then hunting down those elusive bubbles.


She would wait patiently...






And then pounce!


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Monday, April 16, 2012

Portraits By Paprika!


Here are a few photos Paprika (age 5) took on her camera last week.


When Paprika was three or four years old, I gave her my old Canon Powershot camera. I had looked into selling it on Ebay, and found out that all I would get for it was about $ I gave it to her instead since even a cheap kid's camera costs more than that!

I've been amazed at how much she loves having her own camera. That video of her reading the book was also taken on this little camera...she's always taking her own videos, her own photos, and just documenting her life (I guess she learns it from somewhere- haha!)

She's always saying that she wants to take pictures of the little kids so they can remember their babyhood when they're all grown up.


I always lament that there are few photos of me with the kids (I really need to set up a tripod already)...but having Paprika around, I've realized now that she can take some pretty great photos. So, at least she can take some of me with the other kiddos. Such a big helper she is!

She took this one of Ginger last week at swim lessons. Notice how Ginger loves to "horse" around. Hardee-har-har! ;-)


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Sunday, April 15, 2012

May I Please Have A Cookie?

I'm trying to take more's on my to-do list. I am forever taking tons of pictures, but videos are a whole other level of memories. Am I right?!

So, here is Paprika reading a book at bedtime to me a week or two ago. Paprika is five years old and will be starting Kindergarten this September.

I am so proud of her!

Oh, and at one point in the video, Mr. M, Violet, and Ginger all came in the room and were being very distracting...that's the point where you see Paprika get a little sidetracked. ;-)

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Happy Birthday, Daisy Doodlebug!


Daisy turns one year old today! She's been in our family since she was 8 weeks, I can't believe it's been over 10 months already! She came to us as a teeny tiny puppy, and now she is a big rowdy ball of fluff.

She is so good with the kids, a ton of fun, and a ton of work. You know how some people say they are "done" having kids and feel totally complete and are happy with the kids they have and don't want any more? I don't know if I will ever feel that way about kids, but I can definitely say that as far as puppies go, I am done.

I can see adopting an older dog someday in the very distant future, but as far as puppies go, Daisy is my first and my last! So much work! But really rewarding, too. I am happy we have her. But, yea, one and done! No more puppies for me! Haha.

I am glad that the girls have been able to watch her grow from a tiny baby, and now they have such a sweet relationship with her. The dog training helped immensely with that, and I know that as time goes on their bond will just continue to strengthen.


Happy Birthday, Sweet Daisy Doodlebug! You have brought so much to our lives this past year, and we are so happy you are in our family!


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Friday, April 13, 2012

Back In The Swing Of Things!


This week school went back in session. I have to admit, I really enjoyed having Paprika home all Spring Break. I am really loving all the girls' ages right now, and there is something just so sweet about age five especially. I was a little heartbroken when Spring Break ended.

We made Spring Break last a little longer anyway- my Aunt Jackie and Uncle Rob came to visit us for the day on Monday, so I kept Paprika home from school since I knew this would be her one chance to see them before they went back to Indiana. Uncle Rob and Aunt Jackie were in San Diego and drove was SO great to see them. They are so much fun to be around, and the girls just went wild over them.

My Uncle Rob looks a lot like my dad, so Ginger kept calling him "Grandpa" (what she calls my dad) then we corrected her, and she started calling him Grandpa Uncle Rob. It was a hoot.


Rob and Jackie wanted to have a "normal day" with us (no big outings, etc.), so we hung out around the house during the morning (gave them the grand tour- haha, and played with Daisy). Then we picked up some McDonald's and had a picnic at the park for a few hours. Then I took them on a driving tour of the city (Baby Violet had fallen asleep in the van, so it was an excuse to keep driving).

Then we all went to Paprika's swim lesson. Yup, that's right- swim lessons are back! We've been on hiatus since November, but now the pool is open again. Yay! Paprika is taking private swim lessons 3x/week now, and loving it. I am hoping to get her on swim team in the Fall after she turns 6.

So, we all hung out at the pool while Paprika had her lesson. Ginger is soooo much better behaved than she was in the Fall. It's amazing what a few months' of maturity will do for a two year old. ;-)

Then we came home and played Sight Words Candyland and waited for the traffic to improve before they drove back to San Diego (where they were flying out in the morning). It was soooo great to see them, even just for the day. I kept telling them to come back and stay with us, and I hope that they do! :-)

I took lots of pictures, but right now I am snuggled up in bed with two sleeping babies (Violet and Ginger) and so I am just using the photos I've already downloaded to my computer for this post (translation: I'm being lazy). It's been a bit of a challenge for me to find the time to work on my photos- Mr. M is working a lot and I have just surrendered to taking care of babies 24/7. I find I am a lot happier just accepting the fact that my kids are my life at the moment, and then when I do have a spare moment, the last thing I want to do is deal with pictures! Haha. But I am taking a ton of photos still, they are just housed on my camera until I have a spare hour (or several) to sort and sift through them all.


On Tuesday, I joined a gym. Woah, I know! I had gone a few times (free pass) and liked it enough to sign up. They have a little childcare area that is really nice. I took the girls to try it out and they want to live there practically.

Well, actually, Paprika and Ginger think they want to live there, but both times they have gone, it has gone South at about the 45 minute mark. So, I have about 30 minutes of alone time to do a workout, then 5 minutes each way to and from the nursery/childcare area...but hey, I'll take it.

Baby Violet has been doing great in the nursery. They have a separate private nursery for babies, so she is not mixed in with the "big kids." Both times she's gone, she's been the only baby, so she basically gets held by a little old lady for an hour. The little old lady could probably be my Grandma's mother (not really, but maybe!) - and she is so sweet. She told me how much she loves Baby Violet and that she wants her to come back again and again. That made me feel good.


Baby Violet really is such a sweet baby, I can see why she wants her to come back! :-) She's a happy little girl.

The other great thing about the club is that they have a pool for kids with open swim. Paprika is soooo excited about it. The pool where Paprika takes lessons also has open swim, but they don't allow floatation devices (which is an issue for Ginger), and I have to watch three little kids on my own, which is next to impossible. So, my plan is to take Violet to the nursery for an hour while I swim with Paprika and Ginger at the club's pool. Plus, Ginger can use whatever floaties she wants, so that's going to make it so much better for her.

I am still a little apprehensive about the whole joining the health club thing but they have a two week cancellation policy, so if it doesn't work out, no biggie. I am having fun with the tiny amount of freedom it affords me, and the kids seem to really like it (at least for 45 minutes!)


We didn't end up having Easter on Wednesday, after all. Mr. M had to work that day/night...and then today Paprika found all the Easter Bunny's chocolates and goodies in a Target bag. Whoops! So, I have no idea what we'll do. We are the lamest Easter Bunnies ever. Oh well. Don't feel too sorry for these kids. They just did get a new giant trampoline in the backyard! They have it pretty good. Haha.


That's the news around here. Oh, and this weekend someone (okay, it's Daisy) turns ONE year old! Paprika wants to have a "dog party" at the top of a tree like they do in the book Go, Dog, Go! Hopefully this "dog party" will be better planned than Easter Wednesday! I can't believe Daisy is a year old already and I've survived. More on that in a later post... Happy Weekend! :-)

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!


We had a fun day today. Mr. Mustard is working, so it was just us girls. We played inside, out in the backyard, and spent half the day at the park. I tried to take the girls to church this morning, but Ginger threw an enormous fit about wearing clothes, so by the time I got her dressed, we were an hour late. Next time I'll know to start getting her dressed at dawn. Haha.


The girls are always coming up with fun stuff to do. This is Paprika after she made her very own dress by herself. Fashionista! ;-)


And, last but not least, here is Mr. M multi-tasking. Baby Violet loves facing outward in the baby carrier. I always face her inward, but what can I say, Daddy is more adventurous! Guess I just love her staying little...facing outwards seems so grown-up! :-)


Hope you had a wonderful Easter! We're doing baskets and an egg hunt on Wednesday when Mr. M is home. Hopefully no one at Paprika's school spills the beans that Easter isn't on Wednesday! Ha!

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Spring Breakin' It!


We have had the most beautiful weather this week! What a great week for Paprika to have off school! Mr. Mustard has been really busy with Dancing with the Stars and working on a new movie up in Santa his only day "off" was Thursday (yesterday). We packed a lot in on his day home. He took the girls to ride bikes, to Michael's craft store and also played a lot in the backyard on the new trampoline. The girls were soooo exhausted come bedtime! He is such a great daddy.


The rest of this week has just been us girls, and we've been keeping very busy! Devon came with her oldest daughter on Wednesday. Paprika was sooo excited about that she didn't sleep the night before. I had one crazy night, actually. Mr. M was working, so I was on my own here...

On Tuesday (the night before Devon came), I put Paprika to bed around 10 (normal time for her). Then I had to get baby Violet to sleep. It took me almost three hours to get her to sleep (she was being fussy), and so baby Violet fell asleep in my bed at 1am.

Then (at 1am) I went to check on Paprika, who was still awake. She was sooo excited about Devon and her daughter coming to visit that she couldn't sleep and was having a borderline anxiety attack. So, then I got Paprika back to bed...which was an ordeal, to say the least!

Then, I went back to my bedroom and right as I fell asleep, Ginger woke up because she wanted water. Ginger was sleeping in my bed (she always does when Mr. M is out of town). Gave her water. Then 15 minutes later, she wanted more water. As she was handing it back to me, she accidentally spilled a little on Violet. I told her to be careful and she looked back at me with a little glimmer in her eye.

Then, 15 minutes later Ginger asked me again for water. This time, as she was handing it back to me, she dumped the entire cup (16 oz.) of ice water right on baby Violet in my bed. So, my bed was filled with water and Baby Violet was awake (and very cold). I put Ginger back to sleep in her bed, and then had to get baby Violet back to sleep. That took three hours.

Then, just as I fell asleep, Daisy dog started whining that she wanted to go outside to eat and go to the bathroom. So, I took her out.

Then, I fell back asleep for about 5 minutes before Paprika came into my room and woke me up - still asking if Devon was here yet...and how many minutes until they arrived anyway?

Needless to say, everyone was a little tired on Wednesday. Haha!


Thankfully, the rest of the week has been much less dramatic! We've been hanging out outdoors a lot, spending time with friends, and taking it easy. I'm so glad we didn't go anywhere for Spring Break- it's been like a vacation being at home!


I can't believe it's already Friday! Mr. M is working all weekend at DWTS, so it's just going to be us girls here all weekend. I think we're going to do Easter baskets, etc. one day next week when he's off. We usually do Easter Wednesday in our house, since that's the day we can all be together...since DWTS airs Mon/Tues and that usually means Mr. M is home Wed. So, that gives me a few more days to shop anyway! ;-)

Hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend!!! :-)


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