I have lamented, on occasion, that my birthday falls on one of the shortest days of the year. Let's face it, January 2nd - especially up north where I live - is cold and dark. It seems like you get cheated out of a lot of birthday fun compared to, let's say, Donald, who has an August birthday. He has sun from 5 am to 9 pm, plus warm weather which opens up so many possibilities for outdoor recreation and parties. January 2nd, not so much.
Anyways, Alexandra recalled me having talked about that fact before and took charge of my birthday decorations.
"You always say that you don't like how your birthday is on one of the darkest days of the year, so I brought you the sun."
And so she did, flowers, bright wrapping paper, yellow lemons and party goods. It felt like a ray of sunshine awaiting me in the kitchen, and I felt loved.
She also wrote me a looooooooong birthday note (see photo below). It is filled with the most beautiful things - memories we share, things we laugh at, and reasons she is grateful I am her mother. I imagine that I will read and re-read that letter hundreds of times over the course of my life. It is a treasure.
There was also an adorable note from the dogs to 'Master Lisa', composed by Lorelai. It was the sweetest! The best was Scarlett asking for her own Instagram page like the other mutts...and she has since gotten it!
Other images from my 37th birthday:
Birthday snuggles with my baby (above).
The girls, breaking their 2016-fast-food-fast (below).
This year I am going to take the time to feed Elisabeth by mouth more often so that she can enjoy flavors! (below)
Lorelai likes to hold Elisabeth on her lap and bounce her around and move her arms. And while she does is she sings, "Stimulation, stimulation!":
I can recall being pregnant with my oldest, Alexandra. I was so excited about gathering children's books for her to read. In fact my friend, Janice, hosted a baby shower for me with a book theme! All of the guests brought along a copy of their favorite children's book to help me build a collection of beloved classics.
I also recall my mom giving me a complete set of Beatrix Potter books (top right shelf in picture below). I remember being thrilled, yet also feeling like it was going to be forever until my newborn baby would be old enough to listen to stories being read - much less read them herself!
Fast forward to yesterday. I was working on cleaning out and organizing the upstairs hallway and bedrooms. While in Elsa's room I realized she has advanced beyond children's books and on to more difficult chapter books. In an effort to open up shelf space I decided to move the collection of children's books into the hallway.
As I placed each one on the shelf I reflected back to that baby shower and the beginnings of my collection. Oh, how time has swiftly passed! Not only did my first baby grow and read and love those books, but three others that came after her. And now, now they are on to the next stage of reading (and life!).
(Well, maybe not Elisabeth, but she is a special case!)
[My children's book collection, relocated to the upstairs hall.]
"Well, I guess now I wait for grandchildren to enjoy them one day,"I told my mom.
I know I have said it before, but I love having back to back new years. First, the new calendar year and then the new Lisa year. Needless to say, I really feel the pull to start afresh and improve myself the first week of January!
It's hard to believe that I am 37. With each year that passes the proportion of one year to that of my entire life gets smaller and smaller, and so the illusion begins that time is moving faster. It isn't, it's the same, but one year feels fast!
Here are a few of my resolutions and goals for the year ahead:
Feed Elisabeth by mouth every day so that she can enjoy food!
Do a makeover on Elisabeth's little corner of our bedroom.
Become an official for USA Track and Field.
Research and study the composers and pieces I perform with the Symphony.
Write a dinner plan at the beginning of each week.
Create a miniature village in the back corner of my yard (like seen on the Storybook Land Canal Boats at Disneyland!).
And here are some of the things that I am most proud of at age 37:
I love my job. When I am there I feel energized and inspired. I am one of the lucky ones that gets to do what they love and earn a living at the same time. This job was meant for me, of that I am sure. I am constantly brainstorming ideas so that I can provide rich and educational experiences for the boy I work with. And more importantly, I make sure he is happy, comfortable, safe, and included.
I am a musician and I use my talents. As a child my parents spared no expense to make sure that I was able to develop as a musician. Now, thanks to them, I am able to teach others, perform with a symphony, and use my abilities to provide music throughout my community (church services, weddings, etc.)
My home. I love my home. It suits me. I have no desire for more or better because I feel that what I have is perfect. I am grateful for the gift of contentment. As I look at the world around me it is easy to see that many fall into a pattern of always wanting more. That seems like a dreadful way to live! So yes, I love what I have and I cherish this place I call home.
I am proud of my home library. Over the years we have filled our home with books (Lex recently counted and the number exceeds 1200!). They bring me such happiness!
I am excited for the year ahead. I have a feeling a lot rich experiences await me...so here I go!
It is my favorite day of the year. When you wake it feels fresh and new. And to make today even better, snow started falling just as daylight came. Soon there was a blanket of white covering the earth, like a blank page.
I also love that today is Sunday which means the year started in church at 8:30 am. Church makes me happy. There is something about the tradition of it all that is so classic. Friends and neighbors congregating together; dressed in our most respectable clothes; teaching and learning and progressing. Yes, it was the perfect place to be on this, the first day of the new year.
I printed these off for the children at church:
A little about me:
Name: Lisa Favorite food: avocado Age: 36 Favorite activity: reading Favorite color: green Favorite books:The Giver and 11/22/63
Greatest Lesson Learned: Never ever ever leave coban on my child's arm for 28 hours. Hardest thing this year: Watching Elisabeth struggle as she recovered from her spinal fusion. What I loved about 2016: Elisabeth's spinal fusion. Isn't that interesting? The hardest thing was also the best thing. That's how it often is in life. Yes, it was difficult to watch her endure that, but oh, how it has improved her quality of life! She is alert and plays with toys and stays awake all day. It's been miraculous, and quite frankly, I think it saved her life.
Looking forward to 2017:
Want to learn: About bird watching! Want to get better at: Having dinner planned each night. Goals for 2017: Carve out time each day to write this blog!
After 8 years in dual language education, we made the decision to pull our children from the program. At this point, Alexandra and Lorelai are 100% fluent in Spanish and Elsa has a strong foundation on which to build.
In the last year we faced many issues in regards to the low income school the program was placed in and determined that it would be best for our children to be in a safer learning environment.
We have plans to have them tutored privately in Spanish so they don't lose their bilingual skills - that is something that is very important to me. I have distinct memories of daydreaming about motherhood as a child and in those daydreams my children were bilingual!
Alexandra and Lorelai are at a brand new middle school opening this year. It is fun for them to be a part of creating traditions that will be passed down to future generations. They are starting the first few months at a temporary location and will move to the new campus when it is finished in January.
Elsa was able to get transferred to the same school Elisabeth attends - which is also the school that I work at! And even better, she was placed in the same classroom as me!!! ( I am a one on one with a boy with cerebral palsy) It is so wonderful! We are together all day, eat side by side in the cafeteria, and play together on the playground (though I noticed that after the first two days Elsa was already running off to do her own thing - which makes me happy!)
So new schools, new experiences, new friends!
It is going to be the best year yet, I can just feel it! Happy