All Things What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Our oldest daughter was born on New Year's Eve, so every year we have a special reason to celebrate on that fateful day. Although I had a scheduled c-section for January 6th, the little darling picked her very own birthday and chose the very last day of the year to make her entrance at 12:18 pm. For those of you who know our Kata, this makes complete sense. Once a Diva, always a Diva.

Well today,Our Darlingest Diva turned six. Half a dozen years accumulated already. And I always think back to that night, holding this little baby, her dark hair sticking up every which way...watching "Dick Clark's Rocking New Year's Eve" (before Ryan Seacrest tainted that show forever)...and wondering what the Fates would have in store for her. Six years later, I can conclude that she's had a pretty good run so far. She's smart, articulate, creative, funny and Extremely Dramatic. A perfect New Year's Eve Child.

Grandma Sandi has joined in to help us celebrate these last few days of the year and as usual, the kids have dominated her time. Nothing quite like a Game Day with our Maka. Here they are sinking each other's Battleships.

The day was filled with well wishing phone calls from friends and family. And we occupied ourselves with filling the Birthday Girl's Requests, everything from chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast to dark pink Oreo cupcakes for her birthday treat.

She made everyone Very Special Cupcakes. Alex's had blue eyes as did Ken's. But for me (see above image), she made an Edward Cupcake - note the topaz (okay, yellow) eyes to represent my favorite fictional character. The girl already knows her way around diplomacy. Watch out State Department in about twenty years, you may gain quite a negotiator.

Another birthday wish...may it come true.

And more presents...these truly thrilled her. A friendship bracelet kit from her fabulous Godmother (thank you Kuma Alisa!), Petshop Pets and an MP3 player of her own from Maka. We may now have lost her forever to anti-social behavior as she hums along to Jonas Brothers, High School Musical 3 and yes, the Twilight soundtrack (because darn it, I am raising her right!).

Nothing can take away these Milestone Images...

Or the one shot of The Familia...note how we cannot get all of us to look at the camera...it's just too hard, we're too antsy in anticipation of a Brand New Year.

Wishing you a Clean Slate as you face 2009. And for us? A year of Positive Changes. It'll be better than 2008. It just has to be.


All Things It's Not Christmas If The Snow Don't Fall.

We had an amazing Christmas Morning. First, it's just like that Colbie Calliat song, "Mistletoe" for truly "It's not Christmas if the snow don't fall..." And in our case, it fell, in big huge flakes. Amazingly beautiful and so quiet - truly a Narnia or Hogwarts setting just outside our door. And no, I didn't Photoshop that picture...that is truly the early blues of Dawn lighting the street. Notice that lamppost? I expect Professor Dumbledore to put it out any moment now.

All of this was made more real by the fact that Alex woke up at 5:45 am, followed by Bella at 5:46 and our resident sleepyhead, Kata at 5:48. And sure enough, they had to peek into the great big red bag that Santa left for them.

Santa got the presents Just Right, this year. Alex got his Harry Potter Scene It.

And Kata got a game for her Nintendo DS. She's creating pets now left and right. Fully expect her to be a vet. Or if there's ever a chance to build another Ark - she'll be ready with the animal fulfillment piece.

Bella has been driving Sharpay around in the pink golf cart. Now if only Mattel had made the seat belts fully attached instead of detachable, Ken and I would've been pleased. We've attached those dang seat belts a total of 673 times on Christmas Day alone. We can hardly wait for them to get "lost."

My favorite part of the morning is when the kids bring the gifts they made in school. Okay, usually I need tissues at this point. It's for my allergies, of course. Bella was especially proud because this was her first time making gifts in school - a beautiful card and a tissue paper and glitter covered photo album. Oh, she's going to be a scrapbooker like her Mama. Alex, the professional, made an ornament out of popsicle sticks. I love popsicle art the most, next to glitter, of course. Kata made a wonderful card for both of us.

And that last picture you ask? The one with the shiny tag?? Well, Ken made that. Alright, he ordered it for his Twilight addicted wife. He knows me well.

And Santa? He didn't forget Mama. No, he got her a Noise Canceling Headset that fits in both her PC and her iPhone. Oh, Santa, thank you. It's better than Prozac.

And then it was time for stockings. Santa cleverly gave everyone an audio CD book. Thank you, Santa. Bella's listened to "Cinderella" at least four times a day. Anything to encourage our love of reading.

Santa didn't forget the Daddy of the household. He somehow knew Ken's love of Hickory Farms sausage and cheese. And a gift card to Barnes & Noble for whatever sports book he desires. And a few Blu-ray DVDs. How did he know that Ken loved "Horton Hears a Who?" and "Cars"?

Then the play resumed. Bella loved her Barbie lilac dress. This girl loves dressing up more than anything.

Kata got a How to Be a Princess game. It's all about Etiquette. And no, you can never start too early.

As we slowly began to wind down, Ken was still putting together items and slowly his back was giving out. It's hard to be a father on Christmas Day. Santa should stick an elf or two in his bag so they can assist in the assembly and batteries not included processes.

One of Alex's favorite gifts was a collection of NASCAR hats from Uncle Dave and Auntie Angie - you guys rock! These are perfect for our weather around here. And he thinks he's cool. And he is.

See more things to put together. Indiana Jones' Temple Thingey was also a huge hit.

Please note which boy's hand is holding Indy? Yeah, it wasn't just the 9.5 year old that enjoyed the toy?

Oh, with snowfall comes Snow Removal. Alex's is practicing his Harry Potter "Expecto Patronum" spell. Dude, how about the "move the snow" one, do you happen to have it handy? Perhaps my three years of High School Latin can come into use now - Moveo Nivem.

Wishing you a happy rest of this Holiday Week. Enjoy the warmth of family and friends and know that we're thinking of all of you.


All Things Christmas Pageant.

Ah, St. Anthony's Annual Christmas Pageant. It was only our second year putting on, or should I re-state that, attempting a Christmas Pageant, so be kind to us, please.

There were approximately twenty five little ones and the ages ranged from almost 2 to 12 years of age. Bella and Kata were angels this year. And Hell didn't freeze over. So we'll call it a success! They were so proud of their wings, can't you tell?? So fluffy and white??

Alex, after playing Joseph last year, wanted a smaller albeit pivotal role. So he chose, King Herod. He really wanted to be a Bad Guy (his words). With that expression and the blond hair and blue eyes? He'll have to work on it.

Kata's halo, although always slightly tilted...stayed miraculously on throughout the pageant.

Here's Alex marching down the aisle, like a proud king.

Alex is almost busting up here standing next to his High Priest and the Angels. Father George must have been narrating King Herod's part.

And I had to include a picture of our Three Wise Men. Aren't they precious??

The final shot of all the kids and Father George. So beautiful with the icons and the light hitting the stained glass window.

Well, we're almost done. All I have left to do is bake Santa's cookies. He's very picky, that Elf. And bring our cookie platters over to the our neighbors, it's our treat to them this time of year...for putting up with all our noise and nonsense in the last twelve months.

And then I am hoping for some peace and quiet...as in sleep in heavenly peace. Just for a few hours before the kids start screaming down the hallway and into our room that Santa has once again made his way to Reno. Wishing you the very same. Quiet followed by incredible yet joyous shrieking.


All Things Red, White & Blue Christmas.

So on Tuesday, the day before Alex got his braces off...oh, let me pause a moment here.
In case you thought that this Type A Mama was uber-organized, I am now caught in the act of being absolutely positively caught up in Last Minute Everything. So I apologize for confusing the sequential timeline.

Alex's Christmas Recital on that said Tuesday was certainly the most creative and well rehearsed presentation at an elementary school that these tired eyes have witnessed. No, it's not just because he's my son, although that does play a large part in the conclusion.

You see, his music teacher went with a Patriotic Christmas Theme. I know what you're thinking and I thought it as well. But, it worked.

Alex got the prestigious role of the Father of Our Country, none other than the First President of the United States - George Washington. Because I was pressed for time and let's face it clueless as to how to sew Patriot Wear, we decided to dress him as a modern day politician and his music teacher supplied the fabulous wig. Tell me you wouldn't vote for that slick haired, blue eyed, dark suited young candidate?

The girls were ready and waiting to see their brother all wigged out. And when he appeared we held our applause for the raucous end. He even did a congo line with Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and Yankee Doodle! I'm telling you it was a sight to behold.

It was quite a night. And the next day we awoke to...that's right, more snow. See the next storm front coming in on the left hand side? Yes, we're in for a White Christmas. And no, I wouldn't have it any other way. I just wish it would melt immediately the next day.

Wishing you a moment where you re-group. Just like I did right now. A moment to catch up and sit back and admire the season before it passes by.


All Things Off.

It took exactly 19 months but Alex's braces are officially off! Look at that smile, folks. To be Filed Under - Projects with a Comma and a Scary Number in Front.

Yes, he has to wear a retainer, both on top and bottom, until all his permanent teeth come in but...he's done with braces. Before you celebrate completely with us, there may be a Phase 2. There often is as permanent teeth make their descent downwards. But we're done for at least the time being.

And do you know what he said after accepting his gift of balloons and sparkling apple cider? "I look like a movie star!"

Wishing you a moment where you dazzle people with your own Hollywood smile. I know it's cold but see what happens when you just smile at someone? It's catching.


All Things Pinkalicious.

We have a wonderful place called Girly Girl here in town. They specialize in those glamorous parties that a girl who is turning six craves. Why the gatherings call for elaborate up-dos, manicures and there is an absolute pre-requisite for getting glitter everywhere and dressing up in the most confectionery shade of pink imaginable - so what's not to love about a Girly Girl experience?

But wait, they also encourage you to sing karaoke on stage to the tunes of all your Tween Faves, like Miley Cyrus, High School Musical and of course, the Jonas Brothers. You get all this plus the chance to celebrate with your friends while your mother and father act just like the Hollywood paps...watch out TMZ, this Mama's got a new digi-SLR to play with!

Bella fell in step with all of the requirements. At three and a half, she is our Big Girl for sure.

Even the ever patient Big Bro got in the act. What a good sport. Not to mention he got a little monetary kick back from both his father and grandfather for allowing them to do this to his hair. I am going to so save this image for embarrassing slide shows of the future.

And the grandparents were enjoying every minute, can't you tell?

Before we knew it, it was time for the Big Moment. Don't ask me what she wished for...I think it was a scooter...or once again, she wanted to be a mermaid, for real.

When we came back home, I begged them to pose in their frilly hairdos, just one more time. Kata has announced a desire to become a rock star when she grows up so I am obliging her with the necessary PR moves.

And oh my, the scooter was waiting for her when we got home. So of course, we had to test it out in the balmy 30-degree weather.

And Alex had to show of not only his matching sweater and hair...but his hot moves on his scooter.

And lest we forget the original Hot Mover of them all - Ken. Who did it Old School Style. And yes, honey, there's nothing wrong with that. See the goofy grin on his face?

Wishing you a moment where you Kick It - old school style or not. Enjoy the moment. We did. Every glittery, pinkalicious, frosting covered bit of it.