Party On

Gracie had a super fun birthday!  Her friends decorated her locker (they do this by leaving little sticky notes all over it–it’s very sweet). After school, most of her bestest friends came to her pottery painting party.  It was fascinating to watch a bunch of 12 year olds socialize. After, we decided this would be her last official invites-themes-go-to-a-place-birthday-party. Sniff, sniff.


After her party, her dad and I surprised her by taking her to dinner and shopping (we didn’t know what to get her this year) and a hotel stay. We wanted to go to a movie too, but we were all too tired to stay awake so late! I should mention this was all without her sister.  I think that was her best gift!


We skedaddled home the next morning to greet family and have a BBQ birthday lunch.  Cousin D stole the show of course. The girls LOVE that little one to pieces.






She is…

She is kind.


She is considerate.


She is thoughtful.


She is loyal.


She is hard on herself.


She is smart.


She is quiet.


She is observant.


She has a great sense of humor.


She is learning to be brave.


She is beautiful.



She is learning to be confident.



She is 12.


We’re lucky she is ours.

gracie12thbirthdayshoot-16Side note: I’m taking 3 photography courses all at once, so I thought it would be a good idea to do a 12th birthday shoot. It lasted all of 30 minutes, right up until the man on the boardwalk said he saw a snake just down the path.  OH, like a little gardner snake?  NO, it was HUGE.  Thanks. Thanks for that sir.

Happy Birthday Gracie!




My Itinerary Accounted for Everything BUT the Weather-Day 2

Dang it.

Our first plans on Sunday were to visit the Empire State building.  It was drizzly and cloudy, but we charged on.  I had already pre purchased the EXPRESS tickets ( I highly recommend it). Except when we got there, the nice gentleman warned us that there was zero visibility.

ERIC:  Maybe we should come back another day.


Half way up the escalator… ERIC: Uh, are you sure? (It’s not something I like to admit…he’s often right in situations like this)

At the top…ME: OK, let’s do it another day. BUT WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?????

Shop you say?  Ok.

On the way to Times Square we stopped at a Fresh and Co or as Annie liked to call it COFRESH.  She’s got her own style. What can I say?  They had awesome quick food.  I had a vegan falafel and Annie devoured an omelette. She wanted to go every morning. I want to franchise one here. We may have gone 2 more times during the course of our trip.

Then we shopped and saw some Times Square sights.  Exciting things like the NASDAQ and NYPD cars.




Eric had the idea of getting a picture like this:IMG_5489


He was right again.  That’s what I love about him.  I don’t want flowers and serenades.  I want ideas for a good photo.

We had to scurry back to our room to unload the goods the girls had purchased with the money they had been saving.  They had just a little time to play. DSC_5341-1



And then we had to get ready for the 3:00 performance of WICKED!


It was, of course, fantastic! The girls loved it.  Eric and I had seen in it in San Francisco several years ago.  This performance blew that one out of the water!

After, we had dinner at a lovely mexican restaurant on the same block, but not before we walked a block in the other direction and realized we were going the wrong way…and it would be a shame to go a day without bsc, so we ordered our dinners-a caesar salad sans croutons and anchovies for Gracie. The sweet server came rushing back.  THERE’S SOY IN THE DRESSING.  I took that to assume she meant soy sauce.  So we spent 5 more minutes trying to find something Gracie could eat and settled on a white fish that Eric assured her she’d love.  The server said the soy was in the Worcestershire in the dressing.  Then the light bulb went on.  Worcestershire is generally gluten free.  All that fuss for nothing.

In the end, everyone loved their dinner.

We walked several. AND I MEAN SEVERAL blocks back to the hotel. In heels. I don’t recommend it.

After we got the girls to bed, we walked down to the hotel bar to grab a drink to take back to the room.  We ran in to Charles Barkley. He’s a big man.

It was a great day.


Oh Annie

I miss my old blog.  I think this would be a good story for BSC.  I think I need to start a weekly blog called “annie-isms” or something like that.

With the nicer days a longer light, the girls have been more inclined to be outside with friends on the week days we are home. It’s really very lovely, but it’s really interfering with getting anything done INSIDE the house  i.e., chores and homework.

So I instituted a new daily chart that outlines a week of checklists.  Things they absolutely have to do each day, depending on the day.  Then, I decided any time we have something extra to do, I am leaving them a note.  This takes out the growly “MOOOOOOOM” that I sometimes hear when I nag at them.

They came home to this note on monday:

IMG_5759Once they were both home, I asked them if they’d seen my note.

Annie: “What note? I couldn’t read it. The font was too small.”


The school talent show is tomorrow.  I hate the talent show. I’ve only taken the kids to see it one time.  I get so nervous and sweaty watching all those kids go up there on stage. I don’t want anyone to do poorly. I don’t want anyone to laugh if there’s a mistake.  IT FREAKS ME OUT.  Guess who decided she want to be in it?

Yes. Yes, she did.

And then she decided she didn’t want to be in it.  (me: silently whooping it up)

And then she decided she wanted to be back in it.

And the person organizing the show was kind enough to let her in.  (me: silently swearing under my breath)

The rehearsal was yesterday afternoon.  At 7 am yesterday morning, I hear a MOM, RANDOM QUESTION…DOES SHARPIE COME OFF OF YOUR SKIN?

That’s not ominous at all.  She had written the rhyming words of her little song all over her hand in a nice purple sharpie.


Ok, but next time can I help you.


Thanks Grandma.

This morning was the talent show assembly for the k-2nd graders where Annie got to “perform.” In my typical style, I sweat like a pig through the entire show, worrying about each student. Annie went on near to last.  Her voice cracked in the first verse, but she continued on and she ended up sounding pretty sweet.  It’s a very short (and sad) little old fashioned song about birds. She stood up there and sang it all by herself with no music or anything.

I admire her bravery.


Break It Down

There’s this song by Grouplove titled Shark Attack.  I love them and we’ve seen them in concert.  Super fun. The lead singer can seriously rock a leopard print unitard like no other… We listen to them a fair share.  One day we were driving in the car to go skiing, I think, and we heard Annie in the back singing “Bring me down, break it down in the HOT HOT HIZZY.

The actual words are HOT HOT DESERT.

We argued about this for what seemed like hours. Even when she listened to the chorus, she thought it was very funny to continue to insist that she was right.

She’s such a pill.

Last week we took a spring break trip to NY and this is where I found her the first morning.  Up and at em before anyone else.  Yes, I may have purchased special trip jammies just so they’d look cute in hotel pictures.  This effort was thwarted by 1) the fact that Gracie’s were lost for 3 days in offsite laundry and 2)WE WERE NEVER IN OUR ROOM.

We went non stop.  It was awesome!






The best thing I did was throw in this little point and shoot for her to use.  It kept her entertained on every adventure we set on. The dumbest thing I did was bring the wrong charger for it.  I won’t tell you how much we paid for a new one at the camera shop by our hotel. It was WORTH. EVERY. PENNY.

We got all settled into our hotel by 7:30 on saturday night and headed out to our first of many dinner reservations that accommodated our food issues.  Pizza and pasta at a place a few blocks from the hotel.  It was rather rainy and slightly windy.  I silently prayed that our whole trip would not be like that.

After dining, we strolled over to Times Square to show the girls.

IMG_5478They were overwhelmed and amazed.  We visited Swatch, The M and M’s Store and the Disney Store. Then we called it a night.





I have some serious work I should be doing right now, but yesterday I had the privilege of doing a photo session with my good friend and colleague (you know, when I worked) who recently had a baby.

OH. MY. GOSH. Is he ever cute.  I swear I had the best time.  Not only did I get to take pictures of this little cutie, but I got to share some really good laughs with a friend who I don’t get to spend much time with! We ended up running out of time because we were too chatty.  I have to go back soon. There are still shots that I want to get. He was so alert, calm and quiet that he wouldn’t fall asleep.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with the belly laughs coming from his mama and I!  He didn’t cry though.  He was perfect.

I was so chatty with his mama and wrapped up in taking pictures that I didn’t really get ample opportunity to stare at him for hours and delight in his cuteness.  So, I’ve been doing that as I go through editing pictures.  I have a serious hankering to go back and actually hold him!

Erin is an absolutely beautiful mama.  She and Leo have taken to parenting like peanut butter takes to jelly.  He’s only two weeks new and those two have been rockstars, getting out and about.  I LOVE that!

DSC_5146-1So there’s a little sneak for you. Stay tuned for more!

Oh This Kid


She is making me crazy lately. Today she asked me if I was “understanding” what she was reading to me about dinosaurs.

This morning at 7:45 AM, she begged me to let her make little clay figures for her friends in her acting class. Today was the last day and she wanted to give them something.  I sighed and said yes.



…because she is just like her mother.  I would have wanted to do the same thing and I would have waited until the last minute, too.

NOT that I do that at all lately.  Nope, not me.  Ahem… I supposed that’s why I’m writing rather than doing laundry, creating yearbook pages for PTA, getting photos ready for personal yearbooks when we get back from spring break or…you name it and I should be doing it.

She tucked little cards in the envelope to share her phone number.  As to be expected, she had quite the dramatic flair during their little performance they did for families. It was great!

She’s been wanting high tops FOREVER. Apparently, I’ve always said no.  I’m pretty sure I said NO because the high tops she showed me were those puffy, ugly things that give me flashbacks to being a child in the 80’s. No thank you. I don’t need to re live that area of clothing.  I also despise neon, tube tops, leg warmers, overalls aaaaaand off the shoulder sweatshirts.


If I had known she wanted these, I would have got them for her ages ago. Daddy got to be the hero by buying them for her. And I see our walkway is in serious need of some pressure washing.

She recently and FINALLY mastered the art of bike riding. I thought we were going to have to take her to a special bike riding class.  It was NOT good.

I took her and Gracie as well as two of our neighbor friends to the park last weekend.  I jogged while the 4 kids rode their bikes.  I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t dicey riding with Annie.  I kept her between me and the road.  She only turned into me 20 times.  I only actually fell once. She tends to over correct.  It was a very long 2 miles to the park.  Of course, she thought she needed her bag of essentials. Which ended up being too much for a newbie. I jogged with it for almost a mile and then kindly asked our friend to wear it while she rode her bike (Gracie was already carrying my camera).

Apple…Tree…It does not fall far.


Essentials to Annie meant the following: snacks, a pencil, a journal AND her FEDORA.  She’s really into fedoras right now.  Yes, she took off her bike helmet and put on her fedora.

The kids played at the park for a bit but when it was time to go run around in the woods, Annie wanted to observe nature and journal.






Oh this kid.

Good night.




Band Concert No. 2

Well, it’s been a rocky road, but Gracie just had her band concert and the 6th grade performed nicely.  At least I thought they did. Gracie told me that her class rated themselves and decided they didn’t play very well.  Apparently a percussionist was CHEWING GUM.  Not. Professional… I was informed.

It’s been a little rocky because Miss gets a little po’d when she doesn’t get a good grade on a song that she’s practicing on Smart Music.  You know, because she practices it once and gets mad.  Oh these pre teen hormones are KILLING ME. KILLING. ME.

Fortunately she has this friend…


And this friend has this fantastic mom that I can commiserate with.  And someday, we will find time to grab some coffee and chat.  (Jeri, if coffee is code word for wine, I’m totally ok with that).

She finished her Smart Music that is due March 15th.  I’m prepping myself for the next round: tissues, noise canceling headphones and wine.  Lots and Lots of wine. Or Moscow Mules.  Whatever.  Someone get me some copper cups.

(ps how cute are her new glasses?)

Did I tell you the story of the 8th grader who bumped into her so hard that it broke her old glasses?  The 8th grader did not even turn around to check on her. Rude. She cried a teeny bit then carried on.

And in other news…TOMORROW. IS. FRIDAY.

That is all.



These Two

This weekend, Annie randomly remembered she had some money on an amazon gift card that was left over from her birthday and Christmas.

“It’s only $19.99 on prime, Mama.”  The girl is mad for prime (personally I don’t blame her).

Anyway, the toys arrived one day late, much her her disappointment. Instead of monday (a two activity day) they arrived on tuesday (a multi activity day wherein we don’t get home until 9 and then it’s time for bed).  That did not deter the girls from setting them up as soon as Annie walked in the door that afternoon. They had 35 minutes to set up and play before we got out that door.


Mission accomplished.

I grabbed my camera, feeling light in the heart about the two of them playing together.  They don’t get much time during the week to do so and often the weekends are busy with other activities or other friends.  Gracie is slowly growing less interested in play like this.

And they’re both noticing it too.

Gracie lamented to me this week that she thinks Annie doesn’t like her.  I listed several examples to counter that statement.

Annie showed her feelings in a different manner entirely… by crying on the way home from her acting class last night.

“I miss my sister.”  “I want her back.”  “I wish she wasn’t in middle school.” “I wish we were twins so she’d always be with me.”

It was very sweet…and I think those acting classes are paying off.


This Girl…

couldn’t wait to get home to add her money to the coin drive.  Note that her coat is only half way off.

One of our favorite teachers at school does a coin drive every year to raise money for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society.  It’s called Pasta for Pennies.  The top fundraising class gets a pasta party catered by the Olive Garden.

“MOM,” she says, “I don’t care about the pasta, I just want to raise money. ”

Last night, she asked Daddy if he had any pennies, dimes, quarters or CHECKS to donate.”

pennies for pasta

I LOVE her giving heart.