...random experiences, observations and thoughts of my daily life as mommy...past journeys and dreams of journeys yet to be taken creating my life story as i go...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

tree decorated and holiday cards sent

 we bought our 7 foot ($20!) tree from ikea the first of the month...just decorated it a few days ago (we've been out of town 2 weekends in a row)...all my holiday cards were printed, address labels and stamps arrived...just couldn't pull the assembly/writing of sentiments together until today...and only the friends in the first half of the alphabet got personal sentiments because i just had to mail them all...here are a few photos of tree decorating...sea almost fell into the tree...nothing the cat and dog haven't both done already...here story is placing "ooh-aah" (rudolph) into the tree...he likes to sing about his "shiny shiny nose"...
sea is placing the snowflakes she cut out...
here is the holiday letter i sent out with details from 2011:

SEAsons greetings from san diego 2011

dear friends and family,

our biggest news this year was acquiring a puppy, kyra and a kitten, pablo…the family photos were taken on our road trip to portland…with that I’ll share what we’ve been up to, what we hope to be up to, and a section with details about sea and story.

2011 highlights
we started out the year at a new year’s day brunch at char and raj’s house. we really enjoy weekly art class for sea with bhavna at char’s house…sea creates with children her age while story plays with the younger siblings…riding bikes and playing with their chickens while I sip chai with char. I’ve also enjoyed weekly meet ups with my longtime friend cara and her daughter bria (zoo, museums, parks and walks to name a few activities). I’ve been busy with my role as room mom and teaching art corps in sea’s class and love being involved in her school activities.

early this year I attempted to create/be a part of two cooperative preschools with story…one with friends from waldorf mommy-and-me preschool and we were briefly a part of an outdoor preschool. when I was new to being a SAHM I joked I was most successful at this role when I didn’t stay home and I was out keeping busy with classes and socialization for sea…now with story I’ve come to believe “less is more” and I find I most often enjoy our time just being at home together.

we spend a lot of time outdoors…m will go into work early and get off early so we can spend the afternoons by the pool, walk/run along the boardwalk at mission beach, and on weekends we will walk around the local swap meet or pack up the wagon and gear and take our doggy to coronado dog beach.      

in february m and I ran our first (half) marathon, the surf city marathon in huntington beach. I originally signed up to support my friend maggie in memory of family lost but we enjoyed it enough to sign up for another. on feb 12 we celebrated m's 40th birthday at our house with friends, family and their children. mid-month sea sang “somewhere over the rainbow” a cappella at her first school talent show. at the end  of the month I co-hosted a baby shower for becki in sacramento (my first overnight away from sea and story).

the first week in march we celebrated story’s 3rd birthday at our house with a robot theme…crafts, decorations and a huge jumpy castle in the back yard. save the date for his 4th birthday party on march 4. I chaperoned sea’s first field trip: we watched an orchestra perform vilvaldi’s four seasons downtown. at the end of the month our family went on a church retreat at pine springs ranch, the camp I attended as a child . the children were super excited about playing in SNOW. on the way home from this trip we decided to stop and look at some puppies (we’d been trying to find a puppy for over 6 months). I told m he could choose the dog since he’d been a part of my cat claire’s life for 15 of her 17 years with several strays acquired in between. I told him I was leaning away from his favorite, a weimaraner, because they can be hyper and neurotic…well you can see where this story is going…we stopped to check out some weimaraner puppies and our whole family fell in love with kyra and brought her home.

a few weeks later, in april, we acquired our black and white kitten, pablo. I’m a cat lover but aware that most cats prefer to interact with you on their terms so we checked out a LOT of kittens before determining this cat wanted to adopt US…evidently we were successful; he lets the children dress him, carry him upside down, stroll him in a doll stroller…he purrs the whole time…for easter we hunted for eggs and shared brunch with friends at our friend kim’s house.

in may I attended my cousin kate’s baby shower. I also chaperoned sea’s second field trip to oma’s dairy farm. at the end of the month, bill, nancy and aunt mandy flew across the country to attend a dedication of my dad's memorial chapel in the department of social work. this event coincided with the 5th anniversary of my dad’s death and though this loss continues to be an underlying ache I’m coming to a place where I can celebrate his life and share with my children and those around me the positive perspective he had on life through my words and actions.

in june we attended our cousin alyssa’s 8th grade graduation (wasn’t she just a little flower girl in our wedding?!)…manuel and I ran in  the san diego rock roll half marathon…sea had her kindergarten promotion and a class pool party and then soon after we left on a 2.5 week road trip stopping to spend father’s day with m’s family in ventura…time playing with cousins skye and ayva, then picked up missy, clarence and cousin meadow on our way north…we hung out with becki and met her new baby cleo, hit the hotel pools on our drive, ate at black bear diner and eventually made it to our destination, portland. the children had a blast playing with iris and auden…tumbling, climbing, making art and watching mary poppins while manuel and I caught up with marc and karri. I co-hosted a baby shower for ana, paul and their new baby skylar at our friend debbie’s house…it was lovely to hang out with ana in her neck of the woods…a BBQ with many friends at richard/tomi’s house, and hanging out with ana, karri and michal with all our kiddos at a neighborhood café.

our friend wendy spontaneously had us over for a home cooked meal, roasted marshmallows and a professional photo shoot in the meadow by her house (the main photo on our holiday card was taken by her there)…her photography is incredible…if you are anywhere near portland you should have her photograph you http://www.wjcphoto.com/ you can check out her blog post with photos from our photo shoot here: http://wjcphoto.com/blog/?p=244

we briefly met up with kathy and her grandchildren and then went camping on our road trip home. this was one of the highlights for the children; we hope to go camping more regularly! arlene and kenny hosted us in their home in pacifica…homemade dinner, walk to breakfast and the beach the next morning…lovely times…we spent much of the day driving around san francisco and walking across the golden gate bridge (bottom photo on our card)…met up with jeremy and lesley for fun with dogs, dinner, ice cream and a sleep over and then we met up with the in-laws and went to the local swap meet in ventura on our way home. we spent the fourth of july back in san diego…spent the day at the beach and then had pizza and watched fireworks overlooking the bay and downtown with mimi and angee marci…we met our new cousin, ryder, katie’s son, and went swimming with his sister chloe. we were sad to say farewell to dear friends sarah, andy, calvin and desmond who moved to georgia. sea had her annual la jolla shores beach party for her 6th birthday. over 100 people came! put sunday july 28 on your calendar for her 7th bday party…

the rest of the summer was filled with beach and pool days…sea taught herself to ride a bike in a few tries, the zoo, sea world, making rocket ship popsicles…story passed the swim test at age 3 with sea’s prompting…they both loved the mary poppins play (and believed she was flying above the audience…asked for a magic umbrella so they could fly, too)…in august sea and story participated in cousin ally’s wedding…walking down the aisle with their cousins kate, lisa and little chloe…

in september  m and I took our first weekend away from the children (thank you mimi and angee marci!) and flew to portland for labor day weekend to celebrate george and lynsey’s wedding at a lovely reception hosted at richard and tomi’s house. it was great to see so many friends together…yair & teresa, tony, jeremy, john, marc & karri to name a few....sea started first grade the day after we returned. later in the month, sea and story both took their inaugural voyage on surf boards at haley’s birthday party.

in october we were blessed to have our friends from australia (we met them on our honey moon in the cook islands) michelle, tama and atina visit us. manuel and I went on a string of dates to various music shows including cold cave, washed out and cut copy, paul simon and a classic band from our high school years OMD…it was an awesome show! I was part of a 1st café booth at sea’s school for the fall festival, sea was a “princess mermaid fairy” for her class Halloween parade and party and story dressed up as a superhero of some sort with a cape…it was our first year trick-or-treating in our neighborhood  and it was nice to run into many neighbors and classmates.

in november I chaperoned sea’s first 1st grade field trip to a play performance of sound of music…sea knows most of the songs (story jumps in and sings along with her in the car) and informed us she wants to sing “my favorite things” for this year’s talent show. she has also mentioned on several occasions she wants to “be on stage someday”. we went jogging at mission beach alongside sea and story riding their bikes (replacing the double stroller from earlier this year), la jolla scripps aquarium…thanksgiving with uncle dave and family at the beach house and met our new cousin clara…spent the weekend with manuel’s family…the children loved playing with their cousins…I was missing lorie on what would have been her 40th bday the end of the month…

it is now december…we just got back from our 2nd trip to sacramento—1st to celebrate john’s 40th birthday and to try to “catch” auntie missy giving birth to our new cousin…roman decided to arrive the week after…lovely cousin time and we had fun making music in missy and clarence’s garage…we have various holiday parties we will attend, class activities…music…story is singing how rudolph had a “shiny shiny nose”…we enjoy decorating and singing xmas songs as a family…drinking “egg milk” by the fire…sea is diligently making decorations with special emphasis on cutting out snowflakes (fascinated since she doesn’t see snow here in san diego).

I am considering picking up a few substitute teaching assignments teaching psychology at mesa college nearby in anticipation I may return to teaching once story is in kindergarten; for now I’m loving staying home and being involved in sea’s school.

2011 goals
one of our top goals is to slow down and enjoy what is…we have no immediate trips, weddings or major life events on our horizon…I turn 40 february 15 so I’m trying to figure out if I’ll do something low key with family or m suggested I type “keep the weekend of February 17-20 (president’s day weekend) open for a surprise party for denise” J This will be my last full year to enjoy having story home with me before he starts kindergarten 2013.  I hope to walk sea to school, garden, cook, read and write but mostly to enjoy playing, drawing, building, parks, etc. before sea and story grow up too much more and don’t need me as much (or at least don’t think that they do).

blog update

I continue to enjoy blogging…combining my love for writing, photography, and noticing the minutia of my daily life as mommy… my goal is to post 2 or 3 times a week…I’ve had my google blogspot account for 4 years now and it is almost full so I’m going to be migrating elsewhere this year...any web/blog advice is appreciated! for now you can catch up with us here: http://mommysjourney.blogspot.com/  as always I hope to balance writing about life with living it…you can follow my photo chronicle of our life on flickr my user name is “sea and story’s mommy”

sea and story
I record a lot of the “little things” about sea and story on my blog…they both love art and creating things…recently they’ve been singing together or making music on the piano/drums/instruments they create…they play well together role playing doggies or kitties or that they are married (when they aren’t fighting)…both love to ride bikes, climb trees, explore outdoors and “down the hill”…sea has recently gotten into reading and has gone from sounding out words to reading full books…I couldn’t be more excited that she can share this passion with me now…she still loves writing and illustrating her own stories…usually about mermaids or fairies…story is all boy in some ways…collecting and noticing garbage trucks, cranes, fork lifts, “ollicopters” and zooming around in his superman shirt and cape…on our recent road trips they were both asking to “do math” where we give them problems to solve…story calls his “hard finger math”…they said “we are going to catch some winks” for a “couple whiles” and like watching the “bouncy bears” (berenstain bears)…in between “hugs and snugs” …trying to hold on to all our little things…

staying in touch
please update us with any address, phone or e-mail changes. all our info is the same. we are on and off facebook…a blessing and a curse in trying to be more present with our family yet connected to you all…we love and miss all of you so keep us updated on your lives. we’d love to have you visit! time goes so fast…we thank God for our blessings daily…appreciating the “couple whiles” we have…

Love always,

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