Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas

Christmas is over- I'm a wee bit sad- but it was so wonderful and relaxing that I really can't complain.  We were greeted with lovely zero degree weather, had 16 family members over to our new place for Christmas Eve dinner of Swedish pot roast and ham and the spent Christmas daily entirely in our PJs- not doing a single productive thing!

This year we did "no batteries" for Eva's gifts so everything she received was pretty simple, but she loved them all. Tons of puzzles, things for arts and crafts, clothes and- of course- candy in her stocking.

I pray everyone had a joy filled Christmas as well and is looking forward to 2013 as much as I am!

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.
To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. ~Calvin Coolidge 

Pretty dress + holding Mommy's hand + listening to Pastor Eric during the Children's sermon

The season is not complete without watching A Christmas Story!

mmmm breakfast

wearing the scarf Baba knit her as a hat- silly girl!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Holiday Cheer

MIA Birthday Week

As many of you know my birthday celebration usually lasts a whole week and I take tons of photos and I blog about it and it’s just a really fun time of the year (for me).  Last Wednesday I spent with my dad- we went to the Cafeteria in Uptown and then saw a really cool documentary about global warming.  Thursday was fabulous, I went to Benihana with 7 of my bestest girlfriends in the whole wide world and then hit up a local bar afterwards. And then Friday came.

I was on my way to south Minneapolis for training when the announcement came on MPR that the shooting they’d be covering in Connecticut had fatalities.  26 fatalities. 20 of them little children.  It felt like someone punched me in the stomach.  I had to slow down and breath deep and once I was off the freeway I called my mom, Jason, my friend LaRae and my best friend Maria and I just cried on the phone with each of them.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that we’re deciding kindergarten for Eva right now (and by right now I mean literally right now, this week we are filling out the paperwork) and the children killed were in kindergarten or if I would have been this affected if they were older but this whole, sad story has really shaken me. I cried a lot the first few days and I've cried at least a few tears every day since.  I'll get back to my normal, post happy self soon enough, but for now I'm just so sad.

And the NRA proposal today that all schools should have armed guards would be laughable if people weren't so quick to sign on.  There was an armed Sheriff at Columbine- he had worked there for over 2 years- and well, we all know how that turned out.

Rest sweetly little angels, you will be missed dearly...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Today is 12-12-12, the last major numerical date using the Gregorian or Christian calendar for almost another century. The next time three numbers will align as they did on 9-9-09, 10-10-10 and 11-11-11 will be on Jan. 1, 2101, or 1-1-1.  Which is, safe to say, long after most of us will be gone.  Except Eva... she'll be 93- totally do-able.

Also interesting is that this post is my 444th post and I didn't even plan it that way!  Must be a good luck sign... maybe I should hit the casino tonight... ;o)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


The ability to unitask | by Monica Trasandes

Recently I found myself walking toward the kitchen with a load of laundry in my arms, two empty coffee cups dangling from my fingers, and car keys tucked between my chin and the clothes.

Oh, and I stopped to clean up a spill, using a fallen sock, which I then kicked into the kitchen. Forty minutes later, as I pulled my fresh-smelling, shiny keys from the wash, I realized I had reached unhealthy levels of multitasking.

This problem has dogged me for years. For example, I never just make pasta for dinner: I put on the spaghetti sauce while cleaning the bathroom, opening and shredding mail and watering the plants. This means I end up with a very clean apartment that smells like scorched tomatoes. I never seem to just drive, either: I simultaneously peel and eat a banana and listen to the news while returning calls for my media-director job (on my hands-free phone, of course).

A man I admire has called multitasking "the enemy of intimacy"—and for me that's certainly true. Often I do dishes or clear my desk while chatting on the phone with friends. I can't seem to help myself.

The problem: I've always felt guilty about doing one thing at a time. On those occasions when I have, say, carried laundry and dirty dishes on separate trips, my evil inner critic has sneered at me: "Hmm, taking it slow today, aren't we, unitasker? I guess some of us don't want to succeed." To which I should reply: "I want to succeed, evil inner critic! I just don't want to have to achieve all my goals at the same time." But I rarely succeed. Usually I give in, reluctantly, to that bullying voice.

So, for Christmas this year, I want to make a change. At long last, I would like to embrace a slower way of life: I'll read and only read. Drive and only drive. I'll be fully present when talking to my friends. Because with all the multitasking, I know that I'm missing so much.

This hit me recently on a business trip to New York. Every morning, a little gray-and-white cat followed me, meowing, from the hotel all the way to the spot where my work event was held. I was vaguely aware of the cat, but it wasn't until my iPhone battery died on the third day of the trip that I realized with a shock that the cat had been plaintively crying for food.
I bought her a can of food and set it down, and I watched as she gobbled it up. I took a moment to be grateful that, at last, I had listened and been able to help. I petted her. And then I thought, Oh, if only my iPhone were charged, so I could text a photo of the cat to my friends. Maybe I could even film her and turn it into a sweet little movie?

Once an addict, always an addict.

I need to keep this in mind this holiday season! 

Monday, December 10, 2012


In honor of the Christmas card that many of you will be receiving in the next few weeks, I wanted to highlight the total goofballness of my child.  Enjoy!

These weren't even plugged in!
"Mommy, tickle me under my arms until I fart." I'm serious- I cannot make this stuff up

Cheese ball getting her hair did
Duck lips!
Messing with kitty Jax

I think you can all see where she gets it from...

salt/pepper/chocolate milk concoction

No more photos please!

"So... you come here often?"

This is just straight nerdballin'

Dance party with the creepster

Is that drool?

Sunday, December 9, 2012


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Snow has finally come to Minnesota and it came with a bang.  Almost a foot has already fallen and it's forecasted to go strong all night.  It's the beautiful, white fluffy stuff that makes everything look like a painting.

I took the chance to take Eva out this morning and finally snap the photo for our Christmas cards; she was a real trooper considering she didn't have a jacket on!


Friday, December 7, 2012

Eva's Book Review- December

We have arrived!

An entire year of reading, reading, reading with Eva and twelve months of book reviews.  Some of them weren't always the most in depth reviews but hey, working moms are busy ladies.  I think this was probably the best new year's resolution I made for 2012.  Not only did I keep it (which I cannot say for the improving my yoga skills resolution!) but I have watched Eva blossom.  I know it is partly from her growing older, but I'd like to believe that taking a zealous approach on her exposure to books is one of the reasons she's well prepared for kindergarten.

Since it's the Christmas seasons we're focusing on- you guessed it- Christmas books.

1. The Biggest, Most Beautiful Christmas Tree by Little Golden Books
Another gem from when I was a little girl. I adored this story when I was a child, so I jumped on the chance to buy this classic when I came across it at a consignment sale.  It's the story of three animal families that live in a big fir tree. Every year, Santa misses them and doesn't bring any presents, which makes the children, Little Nina & Nutley so very sad.  Turns out- Santa doesn't know that they are there! So, they turn their tree into the biggest Christmas tree in the forest and from then on, Santa never missed them again.

Super cute story and Eva always likes when I read her books that I read when I was younger.  It's as though her 4 year old mind can't grasp how a book could be that old, because mommy is ancient. Ha!

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
I have never understood why this book isn't titled "How the Grinch Tried to Steal Christmas" because, well, as any mom of a preschooler and/or book lover knows- the Grinch does not steal Christmas.

Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,
Was singing! Without any presents at all!
He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling:"How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

We both love this story and Eva seems to identify with Cindy Lou-Who... probably the whole tiny girl who wakes up in the middle of the night to be high maintenance and need a drink.  Also, if I may toot my own horn for just a moment, I read this sucker spot on- which is not easy to do with Seuss books- the very first time I read it to Eva. Go mommy!

3. The Christmas Baby by Marion Dani Bauer
This book actually makes me cry. And then Eva looks at me like I'm a crazy person since I'm crying over a book about baby Jesus... c'est la vie.

The illustrations are gorgeous and the story follows Jesus’ birth and then ties it into the birth of every baby since.  It compares the shepherds and the wise men coming to visit to the way grandparents and aunts and uncles and friends all come to visit a new baby when they are born.  The last line of the book freaking gets me and I can barely choke it out, no matter how many time I read it. I’m a sap- I know, but I highly recommend this book for Christmas time reading.  It will fill you with wonder and awe as you stare and your child and remember that they are an amazing gift from God.

P.S. I love the one little lamb in the bottom left of the cover that is looking at the reader while all the other animals look elsewhere.

4. 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
It's a classic, it must be read every year.  Eva isn't a huge fan of this book, the old English style writing is a bit above her head and the fact that Santa smokes upsets her. She is so funny like that.  Also, she thinks I'm tricking her when I say the "laying a finger aside his nose" line- as if I'm saying Santa is picking his nose and that just cannot be true.  So, I told her to learn how to read faster and she'll know if I'm pulling her leg for not :)

That's all folks! Thanks so much for tuning in for our first year of book reviews; I plan to continue this into the new year and add on a review of monthly kid activities as well.  Bring on 2013!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Not on a Test

I came across this photo on a Montessori page and it could not be more true.  In our testing obsessed world, we need to remember that the things that make a person a good person cannot be measured in a test.  There is no question on a 1st grade exam that will capture how the child would handle someone whose feelings are hurt, or how they treat small animals, or what they see in their mind when they look up at the sky.

Tests are needed, of course, to make sure children are learning the basic things they need to know to get by in life. But no test will ever tell you how kind, loving, compassionate and creative you are and to me, that's the real measure of a person.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Newest Wordle

Yup, this about says it all- MUCH. LOVE. EVA.

Click to enlarge to see what other words are used most here at Day in the Parks.

Other Loves

So in addition to my Eva, I felt like making a list of my other current loves.  These are 100% superficial but always fun to look back on nonetheless!

 Hot apple cider

Dark nail polish

Bazooka bubble gum


Cupcakes with lots of frosting

Sleeping with the windows open

 Candlelight Christmas Eve service at church

Bright yellow

Premium TV channels

Tom Hardy

Apple cinnamon candles


Rib eye steaks with lots of marbling

Honey crisp apples

My lazy-boy recliner