Monday, October 29, 2007


Dear Hazel,

Five years ago you were a tiny, mewling lump of milk and gurgle. I could never have predicted that a few long and short years later, you would become the smart, sassy, prim, plucky, persnickety, perfectly Hazel-ish you that you are today. Five years old.

Kindergarten is helping nurture the side of you that loves to learn, and is driven to succeed. Going to full-time school, by yourself, all day, every day, has been a huge confidence-booster for you, and a challenge you have met head on. You are at the top of your class - a strong reader, a keen observer, always on task and agreeable. Your teachers love you, and tell you so. You take pride in the logic and reason and schedule of your days. You beam with pride and confidence as you march out of the classroom to meet me at pick-up time, and when I ask you how your day was, your answer is always the same:


Your dad and I had a hunch that kindergarten would be good for your soul, be we couldn't be sure until we sent you. So we all took the plunge together, and dove heads first into this thing called school - and none of us, not even you, could be more pleased with how you've taken to it. We are so proud of you. But what's even better is that you are proud of yourself. You are taking pride in accomplishing some pretty monumental achievements - like being dropped off every day. Not easy for you. Like learning how to read. Like trusting yourself, and solving your own problems, and all the while, becoming more and more confident that you can handle what comes your way.

It is a daily joy and privilege to watch you consciously take root in yourself - to watch you come to the realization, time and again, that you are who you are, you like what you like, and that is what it is. You may not be like everyone else, but you are you. Full stop. And absolutely nothing can shake your belief in that one pure, simple fact.

You are a force of nature. You are a hurricane of personality. You are FIVE.

While you still retain many of the characteristics that you had even as a tiny baby - sensitive to sounds and smells, shy and a little quiet, a Mama's girl - your willingness to try and be new things is at an all-time high. An excellent example of your newfound adventurousness: you chose avocado rolls, miso soup, and brown rice tea as your birthday lunch. The fact that you chose boxed mac n' cheese, hot dogs and strawberries for your birthday dinner is a shining example of the wonderful dichotomy that is 5. That is you! Everyone who knows you is impressed daily by your wit and shine (you included). You are a silly little spark plug of a girl, a golden egg, a leggy blonde bookworm with a quiet, old soul and every time I see you, with your knobbly knees, your huge brown eyes and your flapper hair, my heart just about bursts with love and excitement.

Happy 5th Birthday to you, Hazel, and many more. Dad, Violet and I love you so much. We love who you are now, and we can not wait to see who you will be next! You are FIVE! FIVE years old!!



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Friday, October 12, 2007

Project Life Change: Stop Being So Lazy, Alisyn.

My good friend Stefania has sent out a call, to mobilize and motivate people across the blogosphere to make the changes in their lives that they need to make - now. No more excuses. I really like this idea.

For me, participating in Project Life Change isn't about doing a major overhaul, or making drastic changes in my life. It's about taking responsibility for the little things that I keep saying I need to do, or want to do, but don't. Allow me to elaborate.

I am, by nature, kind of a hermit. I like puttering around my house, gardening, reading, drinking tea. I like laying on the floor reading to the girls, making furniture forts with them, doing puzzles. I derive most of my strength and pleasure from being in the comfort zone I've created for our family. I am comfortable in social situations - I like people, am good at making friends, and am probably considered pretty outgoing by people who know me. But I am one of those rare outgoing-yet-introverted hybrids, and often, I get stuck in my comfort zone, when I should be out and about.

Hazel is a lot like me, in that she prefers to operate in her comfort zone, with people she knows well. But as she gets more comfortable in kindergarten, she's making more friends, and starting to show an interest in seeing them outside of the classroom. She's been coming out of her little shell, and I think she's reached the point where she can handle something like a ballet class, or a cooking class, some kind of outside-the-home-activity that is just for her, without getting too nervous. l may have to push her a little at first, because she really hates being dropped off anywhere, but once she gets into the swing of things, I think she'll be great.
Change #1 - sign Hazel up for a class she'll enjoy. Stop thinking about it, and just do it.

Violet is not like Hazel and I. I'm not sure if it's her age (2.5), or her personality - it's probably 50/50 - but she is not a homebody the way we are. She likes to be on the move, on the go, doing, doing, doing. She gets bored with all the drawing and reading and lazing about that we do a lot of at home, and tends to act out when she's feeling frustrated. She's also decided that unless she's in the stroller or the car, she's not napping anymore, so she's extra tired and grumpy in the afternoons. Signing Violet up for a toddler class - I'm thinking gymnastics - will be good for her soul. Not only will she be around kids her own age, she'll also get some of her energy out, and hopefully, nap a little more readily.
Change #2 - sign Violet up for a class she'll enjoy. Stop thinking about it, and just do it.

A major contribution to my hermitude is the fact that I work from home. And my job involves constantly checking my email, scanning developing news, and keeping in contact with my coworkers at StrollerDerby. I am incessantly flipping my computer open, and getting sucked into the vacuum of the virtual world. My girls notice this. And they don't love it. Even though I'm in the room with them, I'm not there, I'm not paying attention to them and we're not making eye contact. I notice it too, and I feel guilty about it, but I do it anyway. There's no way to avoid getting online throughout the day - it's part of my job, and it's how I stay connected with many of my friends. But I'm going to attempt to schedule my days better, so that I have a window of time open specifically for being online, rather than just stolen moments here and there.
Change #3 - schedule a couple of chunks of time during the day for checking email, etc., and only open the computer during those times.

When Mike and I decided to stay in California indefinitely, we outlined a plan for making our tiny little house a little more livable. We re-landscaped our front and back yards to maximize play space for the girls, and are in the process of converting our garage into an office/playroom. We have a lot of little things that we need to get done around the house, and have made a list of everything we plan on completing by the New Year.
Change #4 - cross one thing off that list every weekend, no exceptions.

And lastly, I want to commit to this blog more. It's been so neglected. I don't do baby books for the girls, though we do take a lot of pictures. This blog is our main childhood archive for Hazel and Violet, and so I vow to post at least once a week.
Change #5 - update the blog (at least) once every week.

I think that about covers it. Not a bunch of crazy deadlines, but enough to keep me busy and get me better organized. Hopefully. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

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