Thursday, August 30, 2012

What A Week!


Wow, what a difference a week makes! Last weekend, I took a short trip to Indiana to visit my Grandma, who is no longer able to travel. Baby Violet went with me (of course!) - and the big girls stayed home with Mr. M and their Grandma Pat!

It was the first time I have ever been away overnight from Paprika and Ginger except for when I've been in the hospital giving birth. So, I was pretty emotional about it. Paprika and Ginger barely noticed I was gone - ha! I think they really enjoyed their time with their grandma and their daddy. :-)

It was a great visit, and well-worth the trip. I was sad I didn't get to see more family members and friends while I was in Indiana, but I was there for such a short time. I got lots of pictures (still on my camera!) - and made a lot of memories. Mostly, I was just so glad that my Grandma got to meet little Violet and squeeze her! :-)


I got back to Los Angeles on Monday night, and was thrown right back into the thick of things here. It was as if I'd never left!


Tuesday was Back To School Night. I went to Paprika's school and met her teacher (who I had already met several times before...she is a great teacher). Then, Wednesday was Paprika's first day of Kindergarten.

I kind of knew right off the bat that Paprika's class wasn't going to work well for her for a variety of reasons. So, after a bunch of maneuvering on Wednesday, the school administrators and I decided to switch Paprika to a different kindergarten class...and the class we decided to switch her to happens to be at a different school!

So, Paprika had her first day of Kindergarten at one school on Wednesday and her first day of Kindergarten at a new school today! All this on top of me taking the girls to daily swim team practice and also taking care of three year old Ginger and 9 month old Violet. Whew!


And then today was the fullest day of all! Last night Paprika had a bit of an anxiety attack when I told her that she'd be visiting a new school today...a bit being an understatement - haha. But, I really would not have moved her if I didn't think it was the absolute best thing for her in the long-term.


Anyhoo- as part of the bargain in calming her down, I told her that if she made it through the school day today (only 3 hours) - that we could do whatever she wanted to do for the rest of the day after school. So we did! That included lunch at McDonald's (of course). A trip to the beach to build sandcastles and play in the ocean.


Sidenote: photos from Instagram. I'm erika_urthmama...if you want to add me


After the beach, a full hour of swim team practice. And then the swim team had their summer banquet after practice and Paprika got an award/certificate for being promoted to swim team. The banquet was over two hours long and included dinner and free swim time. Mr. M was able to come to the banquet - he left work early and fought traffic to be there - and we were all so happy he did. He swam in the pool with Ginger and Paprika...I think Ginger was happiest of all to ride on her daddy's shoulders in the pool.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that on Monday, we found out that Paprika had been asked to join the swim team! :-) Yay!!!


So, after a very long day, I am just sitting down now with Violet in my lap (her first nap of the day), and taking a long deep breath. I am so glad it's almost the weekend. It has been such a busy week. I am still sorting through a few things with the school situation (Paprika has an IEP and I have to figure out how that's going to work at the new school)- but I am hopeful that all this hard work is going to be for a good reason. :-)



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Friday, August 24, 2012

The Hard Way!


You know how some people are just determined to do things the hard way? ;-)

Well...that's Ginger:


The truth is that this whole potty-training thing with her has not been going well. I've pretty much given up...for now. She may win the battle, but I will win the war. Haha!

I have read every philosophy on potty training (did you know there were philosophies about such things?) - and tried every darn trick in the book. None of it worked - not even a little bit. I was feeling so very frustrated with her.

Basically, she would not wear and I wouldn't give her a diaper, so she decided that she would go nowhere (her words). As in, not go to the potty ever. Well, you can guess how that ended (all over my floor!) On the tenth or eleventh incident involving my floor, I decided maybe we can just let her take the lead on this one. That is what all the "my child is stubborn and this is a power struggle" experts say to do. Let the child have it be his or her decision.

I thought that was rubbish, but then I read this post from a super insightful author. ;-) In reading this, I could have substituted the name Ginger in every spot where it said Paprika. I suddenly had a huge perspective shift, and realized that it's just a phase and that she will get it in her own time. Just like Paprika did. My, how quickly I forgot!


So, there ya have it. I have surrendered (temporarily) and I am hoping that she decides to potty train on her own. I realize that I may be delusional, but let me hold on to my little shred of hope here. It sure beats scrubbing floors every night! Ha!


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Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Day She Turned 6!


Just so I don't forget, here is what happened on the day Paprika turned six years old!

Paprika was, of course, very excited about her birthday! I wanted to make it special for her. Summer birthdays are tricky - summer birthdays on a Thursday are even trickier! Haha.

We decorated the house for her, so when she woke up there'd be no doubt that it was her special day:


We put up a little balloon wall in her doorway after she fell asleep the night before. When she woke up and burst through the door, she thought this was the neatest thing:


Presents were waiting on the table...


But first, breakfast! :-) I did six chocolate mini cupcakes with a candle in each for each year. Paprika got to blow out three candles and Ginger blew out the other three...


I had to crop Ginger out of all these pictures because she refused to wear any clothes. Haha! :-)

Anyhoo- Paprika was so excited to open her presents. She got some ballet and tap shoes she'd been wanting and a little doll, too:


While I was getting Ginger dressed, I caught a little moment of Paprika sharing her toys with Baby Violet. So sweet!


The girls played around the house for the morning with the new toys. When it was time for lunch, I let Paprika pick the place and she picked McDonald's - of course! There is no way I was going to eat inside McD's on such a gorgeous day, so we took our take-out up to our favorite parking spot. We cranked up the tunes while looking out at the ocean:


This is what the sky looked like on her 6th birthday:


Then we spent the afternoon at the park:


We lose hours at this place, and it's fine by me! :-)


After the park, Paprika had her Pre-Swim Team practice. Couldn't miss that!


To top the day off, Mr M. brought home her chocolate birthday cake, so we got to sing for her again and she got to make more wishes (the best part, she told me)!


The End!


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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Livin' Is Easy!


It's the last week of summer. One week from today Paprika starts Kindergarten. We have been savoring these last days. We've been going to the park every day - why not?! Yesterday we spent the afternoon at my friend's house. The girls were loving swimming in the pool. Can you say F-U-N!


Violet was loving all the one on one attention. :-) She even got a little dip into the pool a few times - I mean, how could she not in her cute little bathing suit?! Haha.


We were at the pool during Violet's morning nap time (I use that term "nap" loosely -haha)- and she fell asleep in the carrier. She was soggy and cool, and just zonked out. This is her when she woke happy girl!


I know everyone is getting ready for Fall, but I just want the summer to never end!

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Living Like a French Painting!


There are two things you should know.

The first is that I have been on a massive decluttering campaign over the last week and a half. One of the great things about living in a teeny house is that we get to live with only what we truly love and need. There is just no room for extraneous stuff (and clutter!) Last week I edited the girls' toys and donated about half of their toys. Clothes not being worn are in storage, waiting for Violet's turn or donation. It hasn't been just kid stuff, of course. I have been evaluating everything that we own, and if it's not earning its place in our home, it has gone bye-bye. What a liberating feeling it is.

So, you would think that with half the toys rehomed, the girls would be upset. Right?! Well, think again. They do not know that I donated half their toys, despite the fact they were in the van when I took the toys to Goodwill! I am sneaky with double bags. Haha. I am not going to tell them that any of their toys are gone. It's been almost a week and they have NOT NOTICED. Get that?! Not noticed. What does that say?!

In fact, the beautiful thing has been that they have been playing with their toys more because they are not overwhelmed by clutter. They appreciate what they have more.

And in case you're wondering, I also instituted a toy rotation program. I put some special toys in storage and I will rotate them back in when we need to freshen the collection a little.

Anyhoo- this all goes to my second point, which is that when a child has the opportunity to be creative, anything can be a launching pad for their imagination. After I cleared out the front closet, Paprika and Ginger found the umbrellas and insisted we take them with us to the park.

We have been studying artists this summer, and the girls were inspired to live out some of their favorite paintings:

p John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925)_ Madame Roger-Jourdain:

p John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925)_   Madame Roger-Jourdain

Paprika will tell you that her favorite painter is Vincent Van Gogh. She loves all of his paintings. She has two mini calendars which act as flip-books that she loves to look at and be inspired when she is painting.

The main place (funny enough) that we have been learning about artist history is on the iPad. There are so many amazing apps about art history. A few are for kids, and there are many more for adults. I make sure to to study the ones for adults prior to using with the kids because sometimes you can get surprised! ;-)

So, lately Paprika has been really enjoying the work of Monet:

p Claude Monet (1840-1926)_ Woman with a Parasol 1886:

p Claude Monet (1840-1926)_  Woman with a Parasol 1886

The girls were having a hoot at the park playing with their umbrellas (oh, sorry - parasols) and pretending that they were living in Paris in the 1800s.


And if I hadn't cleaned out the front closet, it never would have happened! ;-)

p Claude Monet (1840-1926)_ The Walk, Woman with a Parasol 1875:

p Claude Monet (1840-1926)_  The Walk, Woman with a Parasol 1875

In case you're curious, here are our fave iPad Apps we have been using for Art:

Art Catalog by MoKoo
Western Art by Mokoo
Van Gogh by MoKoo
Flowers for Van Gogh by Institut Van Gogh
TJ's Art Studio

I wonder what new treasures I will unearth today to inspire their play! That's the great thing about letting go, it opens room for new and unexpected joys to fill our lives. :-)


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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Big Six!


Dear Paprika,

You are now six years old. Every day I am thankful for the gift of getting to be your mom. You are an amazing treasure and it goes without saying, my love for you is big. So big that I started a blog six years ago to talk about it, and I haven't stopped talking about it since. ;-)

If I could describe you in one word, it would be: Magical. You are unlike anyone I have ever known, and probably ever will know. Your heart is so pure, and your ideas are so creative, I just have to sit back and marvel at you sometimes (often). You are inquisitive and funny, and you march to your own rhythm without question, no matter what.


The whole world is open to possibilities, and you want to do everything. You want to be on the racing swim team, play soccer, dance as Clara in the Nutcracker ballet, win a gold medal in gymnastics, go to the moon, visit Antarctica, live in China and Japan, go on vacation to Mexico, get married and have ten kids (5 boys and 5 girls), play piano and violin, and be an artist.

I always tell you that you already are an artist - you don't have to wait to grow up to be one.


You love playing in the backyard, and making up your own fairy tales. Sometimes you will be talking and I will ask you what you're saying and you will say, "I'm not talking to anyone, I am just telling the stories in my head."


You love playing games on the computer and the iPad - so far you've just gotten to play educational games, which is fine by you because you love to learn. You learn very quickly, and are able to focus for very long periods of time. Right now I am buying you 3rd grade educational software and games (you've already mastered everything through Grade 2). I am amazed at your love of learning, and I am so glad that you see wonder in learning something new each day.


You are always acting out little stories and plays for us. Here you are dressing up as a "pretend ghost" in a Halloween play you made up. Halloween is still your favorite holiday. This year you say that you want to be a bride - I am not buying your costume yet because you've been known to change your mind! :-)


You love making movies and taking photographs. Here is a picture of you at the park directing one of your movies. You brought your dolls, of course...and your dad and Ginger were helping you make the movie. You have days where all you want to do is make your own movies. Your dad is teaching you how to use Avid (editing software) - but mostly, you just like to make your movies in iMovie because it's easier.

I am amazed at how well you understand these things at 6 years old, especially because you've figured it all out on your own. Someday, I'd like you to teach me a thing or two. Yes, I realize that I have an MFA from USC in Film Producing, and yet I could learn a thing or two about moviemaking from a six year old. ;-)


You love your family so much, and your sisters are you best friends. You have a huge heart, and I have never (ever!) seen you jealous of anyone for any reason. I don't think you understand jealousy. You are kind and patient and giving of your toys and your time. You are a great role model and I am so glad your little sisters have you to look up to - you are a great big sister.


I am so very proud of you, my sweet Paprika. I hope you know how amazing you are - and that your mama will always believe in you and I will do everything I can to help you realize your dreams. I'll even buy you a "snowcoat" for your trip to Antartica, where you plan on raising your family of five girls and five boys. Ha! :-) To the moon and back again, that's how far I'd go (and even farther) for you!



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