Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Christmas Trees

No, that's not a typo, that's correct. This year we got two matching trees for Christmas. We were planning on getting our Christmas tree after our ultrasound, and the news we discovered was how Andrew decided we needed two "twin" trees. It was fun to decorate both trees - not too bad for "unbreakable" ornaments - a necessity with a toddler. So, our trees aren't identical, but from our ultrasound we don't know if the twins are fraternal or identical. We do know we can expect two little girls and that they are in separate sacs - which I believe increases the odds that they are fraternal, but if the splitting that occurs with identical twins happens early enough, then they could still be in separate sacs. Next year Andrew thinks we might need three trees, one for each child...and on and on as our family grows. This could get out of hand if we actually reach our original goal of eight kids.

Christmas Traditions

Last Sunday we made Gingerbread Houses. Unfortunately Hope fell asleep, but she was still impressed with the fruits of our labors. Maria and Adam made one house together, Andrew made a house, and I made a house too. Can you guess which is mine? Do you have a favorite?

This year I wanted to do start an advent calendar with Hope - but something she would enjoy, and not just because candy was involved. I actually didn't put any candies in these, but it could be an option next year, we'll see. Anyhow, I found this idea online to use a 24-cup mini-muffin tin. So, I cut my circles out, decorated with stickers, laminated, and put magnets on the back. Inside each cup I put an activity to do and a Christmas book to read. Some of our activities that we've done or will do include visiting a retirement home, going to the Creche Exhibit, going to the Sing-Along Messiah, watching the Survivor Finale with family, going to a tree lighting among others. Some are things that are routine and probably gonna get done anyway, like taking holiday pictures with her cousin or stamping and mailing Christmas cards (at least I aim to get those done)...and some days I admit we've just read the book because of tiredness. Anyway, I liked the idea of the circles being magnets for each day, and then they turn into an ornament that can go on this Christmas tree I made for the refrigerator. Hope loves magnets anyway, so she's enjoyed putting the magnets on. Also, for an extra step of fun, I wrapped each day's book - and she's LOVED the unwrapping part.

Happy 2nd Birthday Hope!

We had three fun celebrations for Hope's birthday. We celebrated with the Compton's during Thanksgiving. Then we had the Ringlein's over for another celebration. Then, we celebrated with friends at the Zoo. We played Nursery Rhyme Pictionary at the Ringlein celebration, and it was pretty hilarious how few the guys' team knew. We had a great time!


One present that Hope enjoyed was a baby doll. She has very much gotten into babies...which hopefully means she'll be a great big sister. However, cousin Joe also was pretty impressed with one of the dolls, Hope had to keep getting it back from him.Hope's present from Grandma Dori was a kitchen. Aunt Maria got her the culinary attire and she had fun playing pretend.Here's Hope and her playgroup friends, Lily and Karina, whose birthdays are just a few days before.
At the zoo, Hope enjoyed the sites with her buddy, Luke.

Dickens Fair

One of my favorite traditions over the past few years has been attending the Dickens Fair. I love the music, dancing, attire, smells, sights, sounds...all of it! This year my sister and I enlisted my mom to make us costumes. It was so much fun (well, fun for me to wear a costume, maybe not fun for her to sew it). Although, I must say, that getting around in a hoop skirt wasn't the easiest thing. My mom was so sweet and made Hope a darling dress as well. (Yes, there is a not-so-flattering picture of myself here, but I wanted to show off how full my skirt was).

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I figured if I don't post some Halloween pics soon I'll start getting harassed by my more faithful blogger friends. Anyhow, Halloween was pretty simple. We meant to do more, but Hope took a late nap and we missed Trick or Treating at the Hub. We did go to our ward's Trunk or Treat which was enjoyable. So...we actually still have the Yoda costume that Hope was last year (sorry Sarah)...and well, she hasn't grown a whole lot, and I almost thought of just doing that again for sheer laziness. But when I tried it on her, it didn't even last two minutes before she wanted to take it off. So, our back up plan was a fairy princess with a cute dress that was given to us and we haven't gotten much use out of it. When we added wings, it made a cute fairy princess...or fairy? Hope didn't actually want to wear the princess crown or carry the wand that we had...and we barely got a couple of shots with her actually wearing the wings. I think by the end of the evening she did get used to them. She was very interested in Kelvin and his siblings' trick-or-treating pumpkins and even before the candy was in it, he wasn't happy letting her play with it. He did make a handsome Captain Hook though. I did get Hope to say a slight version of "Trick or Treat" as we went to the cars, and when she realized she was getting candy, I think she got more interested in the whole activity. There's also a shot here of Hope enjoying her loot from the evening. (You can almost see the thought process going on...
"He's got more pumpk
ins than he needs...let me slip over while he's not looking..." "Hey, little girl, did you think I wouldn't notice?")

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Grand Witches' Council

So, the other thing keeping me busy (when I'm not nauseous or taking a nap or catering to the whims of my toddler) has been a fabulous Halloween Party. My friend, Maren, got me reading one of the many fabulous blogs about moms much more motivated than myself, Last year she posted all the details for a wonderful Halloween Party, but I didn't catch the posts until it was too late to do it for last year. So, I've been anticipating this party for a whole year and keeping my mouth shut for a whole year (not even telling Andrew). She calls it the Wanda Witch Ultimate Halloween Party. Basically, it's like an Amazing Race/Scavenger Hunt party with several teams made up of couples. One of the fun parts about the party is that it's thrown by Hilda and Zelda least ours was. And RSVPs are sent to an anonymous email, so there's a lot of buzz and guessing who the witches are before the party and then the identities of your hosts are revealed at the end of the evening. I will say that many people had me pegged...but I was able to keep it from Andrew and he didn't even know until the end of the evening. He was surprised as he looked at me and said, "it's you?" It was amusing because leading up to the evening he would say things like, this seems like something you would do...but he was clueless because there was no evidence at my house. Big Thanks to my partner-in-crime, Denise. She was the perfect co-host and helped out immensely. Here's a pic below of Hilda and Zelda Witch about to give out the Golden Broomsticks. I forgot my own camera, but there's another picture below of a team getting one of their clues in a graveyard. It was a lot of fun scouting out locations (the creepier the better) and thinking up clues to get the teams there. Denise and I were both on teams keeping our mouths shut, and being amused at our teams trying to decipher our clues. I'm sure both our teams thought we were a little less than helpful, so I guess it should be no surprise since neither of our teams placed first (maybe they should have gotten bonus points for the handicap).

The party was a great success and it seemed like everyone had fun. The one big snag we had was setting up our clues. All was going smoothly until we got to our last clue to place. Denise had the great idea to put our "brew ingredient," eyeballs, in a ziploc bag of colored water, placed in another ziploc bag with the clue, tied to fishing line tied to a stick at the edge of a creek with the bags sumberged in the creek. Teams would then have to pull the line up and try and find their team color. An interesting idea, except that the gauge or our line was too small and when we tossed the first bag in the creek it broke and sunk, and our bag sprung a leak. We spent a good bit of time trying to avoid stepping in the gross, disgusting water and finding a branch long and strong enough to fish our clue out. Meanwhile, on one of the windiest days this fall, Hope is standing on the sidewalk on the bank next to her stroller that the parking break isn't on and a big gust of wind blew the stroller in the creek. Ick. We ended up with a reasonable compromise for the clues, but there was still more than one team that had a wet clue when they got to this point.

Pumpkin Patch

Hope and I went to the Pumpkin Patch this last week with our playgroup. Hope had the most fun riding in the wagon for carrying your pumpkins and didn't want that part to end. We were a little sad that the farm near our house, Ardenwood, isn't doing their big pumpkin patch this year, but my friend, Mimi, still managed to find a cute one relatively close. It was cute and small...though probably doesn't compare to the one we went to last year that launched pumpkins from a cannon.

New Ringlein - Coming in April

Well, it's time again that I've neglected a whole month of blog posting. But with good reason this time. We're expecting a new arrival due at the end of April. So, for those of you that have been through that first trimester before, you know how exhausting it is and how nauseous you can feel a lot of the time. I'm hoping it passes in the next couple of weeks. We're so excited that we were able to conceive naturally this time, not to mention it's a thrilling savings over IVF. Andrew and his mom have nicknamed our little fetus "Cheap, Cheap." Not sure if that's much better over the nickname Hope had for a while in utero, which was, "Goldfinger." My CNM says with second (and later) pregnancies that "you'll get bigger faster, and you'll be more tired" [because you already have someone taxing your engery]. And, so far, she's right. So, needless to say, I've been taking a lot of naps, putting on a lot of Blue's Clues in the background, and sending Andrew to make me toast in the middle of the night. He's super supportive and caters to most of my whims. Here's a pic of Hope in her "Big Sister" t-shirt I got to announce our positive test result to Andrew and my parents. Poor Hope has no idea how much her world is going to change.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Catching Up

Well, you may have noticed the lack of posts lately. July was crazy busy for me as I decided to take on a little project of leading around 30 French Students for three weeks. It was fun, but exhausting. Hope was such a trooper and came along with me everywhere from Mission San Jose to the Golden Gate Bridge to a Giants game to LA. It was fun to get to know the students and teach them things about America and California. Here's a shot of Hope at Treasure of many stops we made with the students.What else has been going on...I started a toddler music group at church - Music Makers and we get together every week to do finger plays, sing songs, march around and have fun. It does take a bit of planning, but Hope and the other kids seem to enjoy themselves.

Hope had fun at the park during the ward 4th of July breakfast. She ended up chasing two boys around...perhaps it was because they had a ball...but we can still say she started her boy chasing early.
As usual...we've been playing online - here's a couple pix of Hope trying out my headset.This was a fun summer activity - trying on Grandma's necklaces - all of them at once. Hope was so happy with herself.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Cousin Victor

We stopped by Dean's house after church yesterday and Hope and Victor played for a short bit. They're starting to interact a little more together...although during church it was really more of a Hope showing Victor her cheerios and not letting him have any.

Here they are watching the dog, Chancho, in the yard.
Victor's amused
And here's Chanco - Hope has really been enjoying seeing dogs and animals recently. The other day she would hardly focus on her lunch because some people nearby had a couple of dogs.
Just a silly face
Sweet Victor, muy guapo

Hanging with Gil

We stopped by and visited our friends, Becky and Gil, and enjoyed some time hanging out in their yard. Hope loved going up and down the stairs, walking in the grass, playing on the rocking chair - all the typical things a toddler loves. It was such a pleasant afternoon, Gil showed us his new Bose remote speaker for the yard, which Hope also enjoyed playing with. I enjoyed listening to the music of "Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" while Becky quietly hummed along, and Gil whistled along as he was buzzing along in the yard - sounds simple but it evoked such a quiet, positive feeling for me. My mom, too, likes to hum along as she goes about her business - I enjoy that too.Here's Hope running around in their yard.Gil even showed her the hose as lasted a few minutes.

Happy Retirement, Dori

A little over a week ago, Dori's co-workers threw her a wonderful Retirement Party (Thanks, Kristi and Linda and Snow School Staff). Andrew's mom, Dori, is retiring from teaching this year after more than twenty-five years. She's practically a local celebrity in our small town of Newark - we can hardly go anywhere without running into a former student, parent, or district personnel. Fortunately, she's not saying good-bye cold turkey and will still be doing a little bit of part-time teaching for Snow School. In Dori's honor, people made a donation for her favorite charity - she raised $824 for the Snow School Library - what a great charity! A couple of staffers put together an amazing slideshow of pictures and comments from current students, former students, and fellow teachers. Maybe 10% of the students' comments included Mrs. Ringlein's stern view of breaking pencils...from the mouths of kids:
"Tells us not to break pencils" -Taylor

"Doesn't let us throw pencils around" -Janisa
"We can't break pencils because they cost a lot of money" -Yvette
"Mrs. Ringlein doesn't let us break pencils" -Lesly

"Broken/short pencils we can trade in for a sharp one" -Nolan
"She keeps us safe from doing bad things like breaking scissors." -Christina

Had to throw in one about broken scissors instead of pencils...but I think we've
got a new title for her, The Pencil Nazi. Andrew promptly came home and scattered a couple of broken pencils around.

Does this mean we can expect more cookies?The newlyweds, Adam and Maria - looking great, you wouldn't hardly know she was 21 weeks along!
Here's our little group - this day was at the end of a heat wave week...I think Hope looks a little ragged - but we still love her!

Redneck Car

So, a while ago I pulled a little too close to the stub distributor in a parking garage, and left my mirror hanging sadly. Andrew was all stoked to help repair it and come to the manly rescue, until he assessed what he'd need. I bought said supplies, and Andrew's steam disappeared. (I'm sure if everything was on hand at the time, I'd have a fixed mirror). I drove with a dangling mirror for several months until the wind seemed particularly strong one day and the mirror dangled in newer ways. I had driven to my brother's house and asked for a quick-fix from him. Dean and my brother-in-law Jim assessed the situation and produced the man's solution to everything - duct tape. So...Andrew now believes that it's fixed, and I haven't been able to get him to truly fix the situation. I'm not sure which was worse, the dangling mirror or the duct-taped mirror.

Fun in the Park

For Mother's Day my family celebrated with a BBQ in the park. Good family + good food = good fun.

Hope had fun running over to daddy while he was sitting under a tree. I'm not sure who had more fun with Victor's little car, Hope or Aunt Renee.Julia had fun playing on the playground with Hope.
(By the way - I'm amazed with what they're doing with playgrounds these days - this was the first park I've seen that had recycled tire bits on the playground instead of sand or tan bark)

How to get ink out...

Hope, like most kids, likes to draw. Hope, like most toddlers, doesn't always render precise control over drawing instruments. As such...when I did not take the ballpoint pen out of her hand promptly, it ended up on her darling dress, the first time she wore it. Thank goodness for the internet - the solution I found that I hadn't heard before was nail polish remover. The instructions that I followed were:

  1. sponge the stain with water to first remove as much ink as possible
  2. allow spot to dry
  3. apply nail polish remover (it suggested to back side of stain, but as the dress was lined I couldn't do that)
  4. blot dry (it said to use a clean terry cloth washcloth - I just used a paper towel)
  5. apply laundry pretreatment
I circled the ink in red, the pen she used was actually black, and I took this picture after step one - sponging the stain with water, so it's a little faded from the initial stain.
Okay, so there are wrinkles - but no evidence of the ink. Success!

Note: As I'm writing this Hope is eating cherries in a white shirt...okay, so I'm not the smartest mom (live and learn, right)...and I'm thinking I'll be looking up a new stain soon.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Hollow Zoo

Friday we took a little trip to Happy Hollow Zoo with some playgroup friends. Hope had fun seeing the animals, although often times it's like Where's Waldo - there's a leopard in here somewhere...She liked feeding the goats too, as long as they kept their distance, a little too much licking was overwhelming at times.

Here's a pic with Anusha, Roshni, Mimi, Lily, Angela and Hope

Hope also had fun riding the carousel. She did great for her first time!