Letter to H - Happy 7th Birthday!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dear H,

My big boy. I can't believe you are 7 today. You seem so old to me yet so little at the same time. I know I have told you this story a hundred times and you love to hear it, on the day you were born no one knew how big you were going to be. There were guesses. Even my doctor said you were probably around 8 1/2 pounds. But when you came out - holy moly you were a whopping 10 pounds 12 ounces. They told us you were the biggest baby in the hospital. You came out all red and swollen but you were amazing!

Now you are 7. You are really showing us who you are. You are so much like both me and daddy. You are smart - really smart. You love math and history - especially anything you can learn about the presidents. You have discovered golf and really excel at any sport. Swimming seems to be your strongest sport. Just this week you have moved up to the Jr. Swim Team and you were so proud. But you are also opinionated and stubborn and have to be right all the time. This is what gets you into the most trouble. You ask a million questions but seem to know the answers to most of them before you even ask. I love that you still like to cuddle on my lap and watch movies (but not so much when Chessa and Brady are already there). Your smile lights up your face and you love being silly. I love how you play with your sister and look out for her when we are out and I even like it when you know how to push her buttons and make her mad (because that is teaching her to stand up for herself and be tough - even though you just want to be annoying). You have been a great big brother from day one even though there are days when that is very had for you. I love it when you want to help daddy and grandpa with all of the house projects. And my favortie thing of all is when I try and kiss you and you pretend to protest but love it when my kisses win out and I get to smooch your cheek.

This year I hope that we can have so many adventures together, that you continue to love learning and asking me question, after question, after question, and that we finally loose the pull-ups at night!

Happy 7th Birthday my candy loving, goofy, and always energetic little boy!

I love you!

Letter to C - Happy 3rd Birthday

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dear C,

Tomorrow you turn 3. It is so cliche to say it feels like yesterday that I was pregnant with you. But it really does. This has been an amazing three years. When you were born I expected you to be just like your brother. To walk when you turned 1 and talk in full sentences shortly thereafter. In many ways you were. But mostly you were so different. You could care less about learning your ABC's or your numbers, but you were fearless and climbed on everything and was happiest in the water.

You have grown so much in these past few months. You started pre-school and began singing the alphabet song, counting to 12, and told me your colors in sign language. This past month you are learning to swim on your own and have moved out of your crib and into your "big girl bed". You also have really started to develop your own interests. You love playing with babies and princesses and every time you see Cinderella you say "that's me!". You make up the best songs. My favorite is "rock and roll". Every morning you insist on accompanying me into the bathroom as I get ready and demand to put on all the make-up I do.

I hope that this year we can say goodbye to your diapers and your binkies. Although secretly I don't mind you are still wearing diapers. Because I would love to keep you my baby as long as possible (plus it is way easier to go out).

C you are my strong willed, shoe loving, jewelry wearing, karate chopping little girl. I love our morning cuddles and night time stories. I love when you pick out my shoes and ask me everyday if I have a snack for you in the car.

Have a great 3rd birthday C Bear!

Love, Mommy

The changing of the guard ... The holiday decorations that is

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The holidays are coming fast and furious now. Every year I have such grand plans for decorating my house...in my head. We have a small house so my decorating usually is just all about one room. But it seems I am always too late and hen I say why bother..there is just a few weeks left anyway. But then I don't want it to be a complete fail!

This holiday started off great. The first week of October I had the Halloween decorations up. We have had a good solid month with them and I have thoroughly enjoyed them. But now it's time for the changing of the guard..to swap out Halloween for the next Holiday. Do I try and hobble something together for Thanksgiving? Or do I wait a few weeks and do Hanukkah / Christmas? Do I even have any Thanksgiving decorations? Let me ask you this, can Halloween decorations stand for Thanksgiving as well, or do you just look lazy?

Most of my decorating revolves around my fireplace mantle. What can i put on top of it or hang from it. Lately I have been seeing a lot of people making pennant banners. Birthday, Christmas, valentines day...what ever, but they can be hung from the mantle and celebrate the holiday. I think I am going to try it. It seems like a simple sewing project, one that I can accomplish in a few hours. I will absolutely share with you the end result and the getting there.

But back to my original delimma, when do you take down the decorations. For me, it's this weekend...halloween is coming down. I will leave up the pumpkins but put away the ghosts, skeletons, cob webs and witches. Then comes hanukah / Christmas. Stay toonec on my post about one Jewish girls story of balancing raising her kids.Jewish and sharing her husband's holiday with her kids and her dark secret of loving decorating for Christmas.

The Microsoft Store at the Mall of America - a review

Monday, November 8, 2010

Friday evening I was invited, with other fellow bloggers and techies, by Suzi of Pink Vanilla Cupcakes, to preview the new Microsoft Store at the Mall of America. Our evening began at Crave with delicious appetizers and drinks. We got to socialize and then we heard all about the store. All I hear was "yes". That is what all of their employees are instructed to say. Basically do what ever it takes to help the customer. They also have a program for scouts to help them earn badges and lots of free classes. Want to learn Power Point? They have a class for that. You don't even need to make a purchase to take a class. Small businesses can send their employees or even those who are job seekers can gain really valuable skills. Thumbs up to Microsoft for this.

Then the moment came, we could see the store. We were escorted with our "media" badges through the back door (because the curtains were still up on the front of the store) and shown around. (BTW - the store is directly across from the Apple store, genius or stupid? I say genius). I wish I could show you some pictures but we were not allowed to take any (more about that later on). My first impressions- it was bright, clean yet colorful. There was a lot to look at. The first thing that hit me was the video wall that wrapped around the store. Apparently once the store opened you could watch your demo of the new Window's phone, play xBox games and more all up on the wall. (yes I got to see and play with the new Windows Phone days before it was available - it was very sweet)

The whole middle of the store was dedicated to the lap tops. I lode that they organized them by size and then by cost within each size. So logical. So smart. Cliff and I desperately need a new one so I was scoping them out and even found a few very viable and reasonable options.

But by far the item in the store that got he most attention was this table called the Microsoft Surface. You could draw, write, play game a, look at pictures. It was so cool. Check it out when you visit the store.

All In all I liked the store, liked what they want to do with the store and with the community. But overall I felt they could have done a better job with us on Friday. They could have let us take pictures (we even promised not to publish them until Sunday and even sign something). They could have let us be more hands on. Nothing but the "surface" was powered up. I wanted to play xbox, Kinect, try a laptop.

But I will go back to the store, I will probably get my new laptop there and I will try out Kinect.

Holiday Cards...almost checked off the to do list

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's that time of year again. The season of giving. This time of year is huge for my kids. In an about a 6 week span they are inundated with gifts. It all starts with their birthdays that happen both to be in mid-November. Then comes Hanukkah about 2 weeks later this year and because we are a dual religion household 3 weeks later comes Christmas. It is a total gift windfall. But budgeting becomes more than a necessity it will break us if we don't.

In the middle of all the gift giving is all the other fun stuff that comes with the holidays. Namely the annual holiday card. I really love the process of finding just the right card that will show off the best pictures of our family and will stay within my limited budget. That budget sometimes is at odds with the look and feel if the card I want to send. This year I have started already scouring the sites to find just the right one and hoping to take advantage of any deals that are there for the early birds. This year I found some amazing designs at Shutterfly.com This year they have outdone themselves. Check out these cards. What I always look for are cards that look custom and unique and are not heavy on the "Merry Christmas" (but check out these super cute religious ones if that is your thing). Like I said before we are a dual religion family so I love when I see many "Happy Holidays" options. Shutterfly has so many amazing options this year. The front runner for me is the Bright Colored Lights Card. But I see myself creating many cards and deciding once I see my pictures in each one I like.

I am also torn between the holiday letter card. Are you for or against? I am not a huge fan, for myself, of the long letter but I am intrigued by quick highlights of the year. Check these out. The Top 10 in 2010 card. The Reasons We Loved 2010 card. Seriously people. Not only do I love the concept of these cards but the colors are so aesthetically pleasing to me. The choices this year are vast. I still have pictures to take so I can find just the right ones.

Which ones will I choose? Well are you on my list? If not, check back in a few weeks and I will show you.

(Full Disclosure: Shutterfly offered me 50 free holiday cards for me to discuss what I thought of their cards. The opinions I expressed are mine and mine alone. )