Monday, November 24, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

...unless your name is Jason. With the holidays fast approaching I begin to think about all the things that need to be done around the house to make it festive and cheerful. For me this means Christmas lights on the house and lots of baking and cooking. Alas, for Jason the consequences of holiday merry-making are putting up the Christmas lights (yes, they must be straight) and cleaning up the kitchen after I've used every dish in the house. At least he had a little helper this year!

Isabelle and Jason working on the first strand of lights. Note the happy smiles - as if Jason has been counting down the days to these joyous hours he will spend testing hundreds of tiny light bulbs to find the one causing the whole strand not to work.

Five hours later. What happened to your smile Jase? And where did your helper go?
Jason is so lucky to have a wife who knew he would need some time away from those Christmas lights. Just look at this refreshing break I'm giving him!
I'm sure that after washing these dishes Jason was rejuvenated and ready to head back up to the roof.
Please don't feel too badly for Jason. He will get to enjoy all the goodies I made, including this new recipe for cranberry-pistachio biscotti. Besides, doesn't every man love to help around the house?

Monday, November 17, 2008


Since the end of September all Isabelle has wanted to wear are twirly dresses and all she has wanted to do is dance (at least in the privacy of her own home). As soccer is quickly coming to an end we are in need of a new Saturday activity and Isabelle has requested ballet lessons with her friend Laney. Some of you may remember Isabelle's short-lived dance career this summer at The Little Gym. She preferred to watch from the doorway and never did one dance step. While skeptical as to how a new dance class would turn out we dutifully signed Isabelle up for a trial class in ballet and creative movement. What a difference a few months, preschool and a best friend can make! Isabelle blew us away with her direction-following, grace (for a three-year-old) and enjoyment of the class.
Isabelle's class is at the Turning Pointe Dance Centre, which is definitely a step up from the Little Gym program. Isabelle loved the big dance studio with wall-to-wall mirrors to watch herself spin, twirl and leap. She also really liked running into the dressing room with the other girls to change her clothes after class and was very adamant she do this by herself with no help from me. If Isabelle continues to like dancing she will be in a recital in the spring!
On another note, I am quite excited about Isabelle's dance class as I can now spend Saturday mornings enjoying my coffee while I watch Isabelle's class, rather than spend Saturday afternoons chasing after soccer balls in the wind, rain and cold!

Striking a pose

Most of the girls in this class have been attending since September. We thought Isabelle was doing a pretty good job of keeping up! In these videos we are watching through a window so there is a lot of background noise. The girls were hearing music as they danced.

We really like the instructor, Erin. She was very patient and gentle with the girls.

I'm sure Isabelle thought she was in Heaven during this segment of the class. She was the only one of the girls who followed the teacher's direction to twirl across the floor. Little did Erin know that this is what Isabelle lives for. She probably just thought Isabelle was very comfortable with solo routines!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

We Have a Court Date

I spoke with our caseworker Christy today and we are one step closer to bringing Baby M. home! A court date has been set for December 12th but, before anyone gets too excited, there are some stipulations. There is a new process in place for approving adoption paperwork which involves a second branch of the Ethiopian government. Because of this many families do not make it through court on the first try and need to be rescheduled for 1 1/2-2 months after the first date. We are being cautiously optimistic that we make it through the first time. That would mean we could travel as early as the first of January, making winter break from school that much more fun! We are also prepared to wait until February or March if things don't go our way in December. Everybody keep your fingers crossed for us!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

High School Musical

Today Isabelle went to her first movie in an actual theater. So, which show would she choose for this momentous event? Perhaps one with adorable fuzzy animals or a talking dog? No. After viewing several trailers online Isabelle chose High School Musical for three reasons:
  1. Dancing
  2. Singing
  3. Even amongst the preschool set Troy is "totally awesome" (alas, her words)

I do reconcile the choice with the fact that HSM was given a G rating, compared to Madagascar's PG. And really, who doesn't love a wholesome musical every now and then?

Isabelle also decided that today was the day she really needed to have her sparkly pink purse with her.
I took this before the movie started. Later, Isabelle was totally rocking out in her seat.

My very independent girl with her very large bag of popcorn.

We don't have anything to worry about, do we? :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Halloween!

When we were at Disneyland this summer Isabelle saw Tinkerbell fly through the night sky above Sleeping Beauty's castle to begin the fireworks show. From that moment on she has loved everything that has to do with fairies and magic. While there was much discussion with regard to what she would be for Halloween (everything ranging from a monster to Cinderella), it was not a surprise when Tinkerbell was the final selection.
We went trick-or-treating in my friend Meghan's neighborhood, which has something for everyone. Full-size candy bars for Jason, lots of decorations and children for Isabelle, hot apple cider and wine - definitely for me. Meghan's house is quite the attraction and draws huge crowds. Last year she had a Wizard of Oz theme, complete with a yellow brick road, stage show from the balcony and theme music blaring from her speakers. This year her husband decided to turn the house into a scene from Jurassic Park. He spent weeks building a velociraptor out of wood and rigging his garage to open and have the dinosaur jump out at trick-or-treaters. He used a black light and florescent paint to make it really scary and spent the entire night acting out the scene from the movie where the dinosaurs escape from their enclosure. In case you're wondering, this is what a retired Navy commander does with his time. It was pretty spectacular and I'm sure they're already thinking of what to do next year.

As for Isabelle, she thoroughly enjoyed her night as Tinkerbell. As she was going to sleep she looked up at me and said, "Mommy, I wish I was a real Tinkerbell and I could really fly in the sky." Oh, if only personal jet packs were a feasible reality!

Isabelle's wand and wings lit up so she sparkled wherever she went.

Could Halloween really be complete without her friend Winnie-the-Pooh in the form of a trick-or-treat bag?

Now it's time to get down to the serious business of eating that candy!

The hardest part of the evening?: Getting Isabelle to actually say "Trick-or-Treat!"

Let's talk candy.

Remember when a piece of chocolate-covered peanut butter was all it took to make you sublimely happy?