Summer Goals

Thursday, June 26, 2008 1 comment
One of my goals this summer is to get through the stack of books gathering dust on my bookshelf. I am trying to make it through the massive Pillars of the Earth so I can move on to the waiting stack. While I am enjoying reading the book, it is so massive I feel I am not making any headway. I want to finish it before our beach vacation so I can bring a good chic lit book for the beach.

But, the stack of books I hope to get through this summer got me thinking about a reading list for Chloe. I have to admit that I am not very good at using the local and free resources and going to the public library. Chloe just wants to play and never wants to help me look for books. I also like to go armed with a list of recommended books for her age and search them out. It always seems when I go to our local library none of the books on my list are there. So, I end up at the bookstore or on Ama*on and pay for the books. But, alas it gets a bit spendy. Chloe has a mass of books on her shelves and of course, she has her favorites but ashamedly I have to admit that her books are getting a bit tired to me. I also think that Chloe is now at an age that the books we read should have a message that we can discuss.

While I am certain that the current books on Chloe's shelf have a message we can discuss they have become so "old hat" to Chloe that we move through them without discussion or questioning. So, with all this on my mind I have set out with a new list and armed with another book for me to read.

The Read-Aloud Handbook has been recommended so many times to me that I feel I must buy it, read it and incorporate it into our reading ritual so I can feel certain Chloe is getting the most from our reading sessions. In the meantime, I am armed with a new list of books from which to reference for Chloe's summer reading list. I garnered this list here and here and think that they're a fantastic resource.

Besides reading, Chloe and I have been keeping busy. We are preparing for our vacation to the Outer Banks. In doing so, I went to the Lan*s E*d store at S*ars (yes, its definitely the softer-and nicer side) to discover that they were having a "summer's end" sale. WHAT? It's over? Chloe's only been out of school for 2 weeks and they are declaring its over! Wasn't the first day of summer June 20? Since when has a season only been 5 days long? Anyway, it depressed me, so I set goals in my mind that Chloe and I should spend as much time as possible outdoors. I have quite a list going on activities. Our summer camp officially begins now....

Spring Onions Anyone?

Sunday, June 22, 2008 No comments
Chloe and I did a little work in the garden and thinned out our onions. She was very proud of the harvest.

Dan Zanes Groupies

Saturday, June 21, 2008 No comments
I really like this photo....Chloe is watching the concert on Matt's shoulders.
Chloe meeting DZ (again) and getting his autograph too.
This afternoon we went to the Dan Zanes concert. This is our 2nd concert and we are all BIG fans. This concert was in NJ, so it was closer to home. DZ and friends played songs from their new album, so Chloe was a little dissapointed she didn't know all the words to the songs. After the concert was over, Chloe met Dan again, gave him a high five and got another shirt signed by her musical hero.

Happy 10th Wedding Anniversary

Friday, June 20, 2008 No comments
Our wedding day photo. Chloe commented that I "shouldn't close my eyes when you get married!". While I informed her that it just looks like my eyes are closed, they were fully open.

Ten years ago today, at 7:30 p.m., Matt and I were married at the Dallas Arboretum in 100+ degree temperatures. I was too overjoyed to notice the extreme heat or that the caterers and the florist were scrambling to keep the three-tiered buttercream wedding cake from melting and toppling over. My memories of the day are of the beautiful sunset over White Rock Lake (which was the backdrop) and the DeGoyer Estate where we were married. I remember my father's classic toast, "I turn over all financial responsibility of my daughter to you" and my cousin telling me that I should be concerned because "the cheese on the buffet was mildewed"--It was stilton.

But mostly I remember it as being my "dream wedding" at the place I so adored in my hometown to an Englishman I loved dearly and still do.

Ten years down the road, though I didn't imagine some of the twists and turns, I am still in love and looking forward to the next ten years together.

We always said we would return to Vienna for our 10th, the place where we were engaged. We returned their to celebrate our 5th and maybe we will return their for our 15th or 20th, when we can celebrate without toddlers in tow.

For this anniversary we will celebrate with dinner here and as a gift to ourselves we have decided to start planning a nice family vacation to Australia.

The Bounty of Thy Harvest

Thursday, June 19, 2008 1 comment

Chloe and I have a vegetable garden this year in the backyard. We are growing onions, garlic, 2 different kinds of tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers and sugar snap peas. I wrote about it here.

The garden is now growing in nicely, the tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers are flowering, the garlic is growing for the fall harvest and the onions are coming along nicely. But, the sugar snap peas are ready for picking and tonight, we gathered our peas, ate a few straight from the vine and cooked the rest for dinner.

We enjoyed our peas with some strawberries we picked at a local farm earlier in the week. Aunt Deanna, BeBe, Chloe and I picked 6 lbs. of strawberries in about 30 minutes and paid $12 in total. It's a pretty good deal considering its fun to search the plants for the ripe berries and even though they are smaller than the big berries in the store, they taste like a strawberry--not dry and bland like the store-bought ones. Chloe and I plan to return next week for another batch. I am going to freeze them and make reduced-sugar strawberry jam.

Chloe trying a sugar snap pea fresh from our garden.

More Birthday Photos...

Sunday, June 15, 2008 No comments
I thought I would some more photos from Chloe's big day.

Chloe opening her presents.
Aunt Deanna encouraging Chloe to try out her Vespa scooter--she was a little reluctant to try it at first but now she loves it.
Chloe, wearing her official Park Ranger hat and playing a puzzle with Aunt Deanna.Chloe being cheeky with her new scooter.

The BIG 4!

Chloe and Matt outside the house before heading out to the party.

Saturday was the big day for Chloe--she turned 4 years old. She has been eagerly anticipating her birthday and her birthday party. Chloe has convinced herself that 4 is what it is all about...and for the time being, she right.

Chloe's party was at 11 a.m. at our local cooking school. We had 15 children attend the party. Since Chloe's favorite meal is pasta, the two instructor's had the kids make their own spaghetti lunch. The children were divided into two groups and one group made the pasta and the other group made the sauce. While the meal was cooking each child got their own cupcake and got to spread the purple icing and sprinkles as they liked. Then the meal was served and all was quet for a few minutes anyway.

The party was great and seemed to go well. Chloe had a fantastic time and appeared to be tiring out from all the excitement and energy towards the end.

When we got home Chloe was eager to rip into her presents, so she opened her bounty. Chloe received lots of great gifts and it was very hard to pinpoint which was her favorite. Her top three appear to be her ride-on Vespa scooter (child's toy, not the real thing) that Matt and I gave her, her Razr scooter from PaPaw and BeBe and third, a glow in the dark t-shirt given to her by her Aunt Deanna. All her gifts were fabulous and she plays with all of them, which is great news. Now, if I could only clear out the dining room of her bounty....
Chloe waiting to get the party started. She is decked out in her chef's hat we got especially for the party.
Chloe and I during the party.
Chloe making her own apron before the cooking began. Each child at the party got to decorate their own apron.
The making of the pasta sauce.
Chloe enjoying her pasta.

A successful and happy party comes to a close.

A Favorite Place...

Thursday, June 12, 2008 No comments
Chloe and BeBe at the rose garden.

I mentioned in my previous post that this place is one of my favorite's in NYC. I could while away an entire day wondering its expansive grounds. So, for BeBe's first day with us, its just what we did.
Chloe with a Madonna Lily, which we all thought was lovely.

Besides looking at lovely flowers, the NY Botanical Garden has numerous walking paths, a lovely picnic spot, a fabulous children's center and a family garden where kids can water the vegetables and make crafts.
Chloe with a floral caterpillar at the children's garden center.

We are members of the garden and I plan on returning many times this summer with Chloe during the week and as a family on the weekend.

Chloe and BeBe standing in front of a Linden tree, one of the trees in the NYC area that blooms in June giving off a sweet smell in the air.

School's Out for Summer

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 No comments

School's out for the summer (well at least Chloe's pre-school is out). Chloe's class had another party today celebrating the school year. It was sugar overload with cupcakes and ice cream sundaes. Today Chloe's BeBe comes in town for Chloe's big birthday celebration this Saturday so the festivities will remain in party-mode for the next week.
Once things calm down around our house we are going to settle into a summer routine. We have our upcoming vacation to the Outer Banks with friends and Chloe will attend a local day camp this summer for 3 weeks. In between vacation and day camp, Chloe and I plan on taking some field trips to the NYC Botanical Gardens (one of my favorite places in NYC), a you-pick farm for strawberries and veggies, NYC for lunch with Daddy and to tour some museums (its been recently discovered that Chloe is into sculpture) and to the pool. I am sure I can come up with other activities to keep our summer fun and exciting.

Birthday Celebration at School

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 No comments

Today was Chloe's birthday celebration at pre-school. She got to wear a Happy Birthday sticker and a crown for the entire class. I was the co-oping mom. In celebration, we brought a special snack to share with Chloe's classmates...Dun*in Donu*ts in the shape of the number 4.

Chloe was very excited to celebrate her birthday and wanted to hurry through all the typical class activities and get straight to her party. I was eager to get to the party too as it was 97 degrees outside today and the school only has window box units, making it about 80 in the classroom. The strawberry and chocolate glaze on the donuts was melting!

Eventually Chloe did get her party and the donuts were a big hit, with the exception of two girls who wanted cheese and crackers. They got denied and given a donut in a baggie of which I am certain that they scarfed down once they were in the car. I've co-oped enough in the last two years to know you can't win for trying with kids this age.

I've posted two photos from the day--the one at the top of the posting is of Chloe before she blows out her candles and the one below is of Chloe and her 2 pre-school teachers. As luck would have it, the view window on my D80 Nikon stopped working and it had to go in for repair. All I had to take photos today (and on Chloe's party on Saturday) is my little Canon digital. The pictures didn't come out well.

Busy Partying

Monday, June 09, 2008 1 comment
Even though I welcome the arrival of the warmer weather in Spring, I really do come to despise the season because it is so hectic. It seems every event and meeting is delayed until Spring's arrival and then it all fills up the calendar until the arrival of summer.

For the last two months I have had either a meeting, a dinner or a banquet every night except Friday night. I am tired of meetings, pass-downs, parties and banquets. I am worn out! Chloe is truly tired of her babysitter from seeing her so much and Matt is worn out from re-arranging his work schedule to accomodate my meetings.

I know much of the busy calendar is my fault, due to my commiting myself to serve on the Board of Directors on two different organizations. But, seriously, spring seems to be a mad dash to the end of the school year, filling the calendar until everyone escapes from exhaustion to vacation.

Luckily, everything seems to be winding down. I only have three meetings this week and none next week (I hope) and one the following. The break couldn't come at a better time as we are approaching Chloe's 4th birthday and her party--one party we are eagerly anticipating.

This will be Chloe's first party with school friends and playgroup friends. All of her other birthday parties have been with family. We made the decision many months ago to have her party at a cooking school who specializes in children's cooking class. Chloe was their "model" in a local publication last month for their children's classes. So, it seemed like a no-brainer to have the party there. It also ties in nicely that Chloe and I have begun making her bento-box lunches. I am new to the game, but I am getting more creative in making Chloe's lunches into something cute and fun that she wants to eat and try.

Chloe is very excited about her party and now that all my meetings and parties are coming to a close, I can focus on her party. Tomorrow is her birthday celebration at pre-school and I will co-op and bring Dun*in Donu*s in the shape of the number 4 for the party. DD is always a big hit in this area and you can't go wrong.

About a month ago I sent out Chloe's invites. They were designed and created for us by a lady on E*ay. They came out really cute. (I deleted out the location and telephone numbers to post on the blog.)

As part of the goodies given to the children for attending the party, we are giving them bento boxes. Inside, they will have crayons in the shape of cooking utensils. I purchase two colors of bento boxes, blue for the boys and pink for the girls.

A completed (boys) bento box/goody box.

A gift tag I also had designed to tie on to the bento box/goody box.

So, all is on its way for a great party for Chloe's 4th birthday. BeBe comes in in a few days and so does Aunt Deanna (who actually visited this weekend on her way to Maine). I am sure party pics will fill the blog on Sunday.

Cosmo Anyone?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008 1 comment
I haven't managed to make it to see "the movie" yet...but thoroughly plan to once things settle down around here. My mother was able to go to see the movie and I got the BeBe's movie review as only my mother can give it. BeBe's review of course had nothing to do with plot and summary but all about how the actor's looked in the movie. Apparently who needs storyline when the little girl who plays Charlotte's daughter is so adorable and SJP (aka Carrie) is so ugly? Can't wait to go see the movie for myself. But, just for fun I decided to partake in the who am I most like survey. Oy! Not what I expected....

You Are Most Like Miranda!

While you've had your fair share of romance, men don't come first

Guys are a distant third to your friends and career.

And this independence *is* attractive to some men, in measured doses.

Remember that if you imagine the best outcome, it might just happen.

Romantic prediction: Someone from your past is waiting to reconnect...

But you'll have to think of him differently, if you want things to work.