Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Day

Honor to those who never sought it;
Fame to those who never wished it;
Glory to those who never dreamed it;
Immortality, for they earned it.
~ Mike Grissom
Before talking about our Memorial Day celebration, I wanted to take a minute and remind myself that it is intended to be a day spent reflecting on the memory of fallen soldiers. Without revealing too much about my political views, I'm terribly saddened by the loss of life our country is experiencing (and other countries are experiencing as well). I'm proud of those who have volunteered to serve and pray each and every one comes home safely to their families.

In Israel, there is a Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron) followed immediately by Independence Day (Yom Ha'atzmaut). Memorial Day is somber and reflective and Independence Day is celebratory and festive. I think that is a good way to remember those no longer with us while still honoring those who remain.

That being said, we did have a great time at a poolside BBQ with some of our best friends. The guys did the grilling (or hiding from the kids as we like to say), while we swam, chatted, and just relaxed. Couldn't have asked for better weather or company. Enjoy the pictures :-D.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kiki's Last Day of School

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.~William Butler Yeats

Kiki’s last day of school was Friday, and we celebrated with a luncheon in her class and a trip to the park that included a magic show. She has had the same teachers and many of the same classmates for a year and a half- pretty much since she started school- and we are a bit sad to finish this year.

Kiki has grown and matured so much, and I want to acknowledge her very caring and devoted teachers (I’m not sure they would want me to mention their names, so I won’t, but they are terrific!).

I can see how much she LOVES her teachers by the way she interacts and talks with them. She is so curious and has a real passion for learning, which thrills me, and I know that has been cultivated during her time at school. I see such potential in this child, as does every parent, and hope the fire inside her only grows bigger.

We have to put so much trust in others who care for, and in turn influence, our children out of our sight. I couldn’t be more grateful that Kiki’s teachers encourage the students to be who they are while also being respectful and kind. And as much as the students love the teachers, it’s obvious the teachers love the students as well. Any time a story about Kiki’s (or any of the kids’) day is shared with me, I can see a genuine joy in the storyteller.

Kiki is also very lucky to have had a classroom full of bright and charming children that she calls her friends. We are delighted to have found such a wonderful school, and look forward to summer camps and the next school year. Change isn’t always easy, but it can be exciting, and I am sure she (and we) will adjust just fine.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Braves and Billy Goats

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned. ~Maya Angelou

Eric B. got lucky last week at work and won four tickets to the Braves game last night, 7th row behind home plate. Amir and I joined him and Allyson for the evening while Lorraine and Rhiannon watched the children.

We started out at STATS for what we thought would be a quick dinner and drinks, but turned into a storm watch. We were happy for the short diversion and joined everyone at the bar watching the news and waiting for the second tornado in history to hit downtown Atlanta (it didn't). In between drinks, we also fielded multiple calls from Meemaw warning us of the imminent danger :-D.

The storm passed and off we went to the game where Eric and Amir tried their hand at pitching- sadly, no scouts came calling. Amir, not being from these parts, had to ask Eric how to hold a baseball. It was very cute.

Ever the gentleman, Amir was hauling around my piece luggage that I call a purse, and the ticket taker told him he was sure he could find some shoes to match at Macy's. Funny!

We had such a great time! Meanwhile, back at the Balzuweits, Sophie and Kiki got manicures and again Kiki declared that I do not have a future in nail polishing.

During the last inning, a player from the Mets was injured. The game was over, the Braves had won, but no one left their seats until he was back on his feet and off the field. I'm no expert in baseball etiquette, but I do know something about southern manners, and was really touched at this display of respect.

Which reminds me of a sign I saw posted the other day at the front of the neighborhood of our newest rental property (see picture). This struck me as very, very funny, but also made me feel nostalgic. I grew up passing farms on my way to school- they aren't there anymore- but after college lived in downtown San Diego and then Manhattan. I'm glad I found my way home where somebody is still going to go looking for a missing billy goat.

The only thing we need is water...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Our Beautiful Ballerina

You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back. ~William D. Tammeus

Yesterday was Kiki's ballet recital where we finally were allowed the chance to see her dance! Typically, we are shunned to the waiting room taking turns with the other parents peeking through the tiniest hole in the blinds over the studio door.

But, for the recital, we were honored guests and got to take plenty of pictures and video which I joyfully share with you now. All of the little ballerina's were provided a costume to wear- Kiki begged us to let her take it home but no such luck.
She wasn't the least bit shy about having an audience, and you could tell she takes her "craft" quite seriously! She truly enjoyed showing us what she's learned, and we were extraordinarily proud and elated to see the performance.
Meemaw joined us for the festivities as well!
Kiki loves her ballet classes and even though it was the first class she has taken where her Mommy and Abba weren't with her, she always runs to the studio and never looks back. I know she is as proud of herself as we are of her.

Here is a video collage of the different dances where you can see what a wonderful job she did :-D:

And, last but not least, here is a little video of the leaping portion of Kiki's show. The little girl just before her slipped and fell on the scarf, so let's just say Kiki was reluctant to try it herself ;-D. Too cute! Miss Eleanor is so graceful and helpful. She got Kiki right over.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Project Complete

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. ~Michelangelo

The renovation at the latest house is complete so I thought I'd share a few more before and after pictures. This is probably my favorite house to date, but we've just had an offer accepted on another that I think will be the most fun!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My First Sleep Away From Home

To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while. ~Josh Billings

Kiki spent the night away from home without Amir and I for the first time this weekend!

Meemaw wasn't feeling well, and Allyson and Eric stepped in and offered to have Kiki spend the night with them (and Sophie and Jack of course) so Amir and I could go to a shower for Tiff. I can't think of a better family to look after our daughter.

I didn't realize what a big deal this would be until I got out of the shower Saturday afternoon, and Amir and Kiki were gone :-(. Off she went for her first sleepover away, and I didn't get to give her a kiss goodbye. What a stark reminder of how big she has gotten.
Allyson said the girls were great and had the best time. They did exactly as Sophie said they would "laughed, talked, played, and... slept!" The pictures the Balzuweit's took speak volumes.
I'm very proud of Kiki for being so at ease sleeping at someone else's home. It helps she's known the Balzuweit's since she was 4 months old :-D.
Take a look at Allyson's blog for a better description of the nights events!

Thank you again so so much!!!

The party was also a lot of fun. We drove up to Flowery Branch and got to hang out poolside with great friends, listen to a live band, and be in a beautiful home on the lake. We're so happy to celebrate with Tiffany and Daniel and are ready for the Big Event in Charleston next month!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day, Part 2

There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it. ~Chinese Proverb

I won't even begin to try and put into words what it means to me to be a mother. Far more eloquent women long before me have written about the trials and triumphs of motherhood and I'll leave the task to them.

I will say that I will never be the same after having Kiki, and that is a good thing, and that my family means everything to me.

The Mother's Day celebration began at midnight for me because my loving husband just could not wait to give me the most beautiful and touching and charming and moving (you get the point) portrait that my friend Crystal photographed and had made for us. See his post below...

It is without question the best gift I have ever received.

In the real morning, Amir picked up Kiki from her first spend the night out party with her best friend Sophie(next post!), and served me breakfast in bed. That evening, we celebrated for the 3rd year in a row with Sophie and Jack's parents- our dear friends the Balzuweits at JCT. The dinner was delicious, the company wonderful, and the evening perfect.

I'd also like to take the opportunity to thank my own Mother. These days I forget sometimes that I am also a daughter. My friend Danielle, who always gives the best advice, said this weekend that our job as parents really is to simply make sure our children know we love them. I can say without any hesitation, my mother always made me feel loved. Thank you.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mommy Day

If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? ~Milton Berle

It's Mother's Day here in the US today and I wanted to take a few minutes and wish Cynthia, Mee-Maw and Safta a Happy Mother's Day! These three are all amazing mothers and their children are the luckiest in the world. Happy Mother's Day to all the other mothers out there as well. Being a mom is a tough, endless and sometimes thankless job, so here I am, thanking you all for everything you have done and still do each and every day. I hope you all have a wonderful day!

I surprised Cynthia last night with the help of our friend Crystal. Back in February, at Kiki's birthday, Crystal took a lot of amazing pictures and together we picked a beautiful portrait and had it made into a canvas. I sat on this gift for more than two months (it helped that Crystal actually kept the canvas all that time or I would have broken down for sure). Here's a grainy picture I took of it this morning. I will probably get a better one later and update Here's a much better version as well as a picture of the actual canvas:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

While Abba is Away, Part 2

Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy. ~Robert A. Heinlein

Amir and I have been talking a lot lately about how lucky we are to be living such a wonderful life. But, we also know that this doesn't give Kiki much of a taste of the "real world", and we are working to find ways to help build her strength and character. It's not easy, but it's important, and we will do everything we can not to spoil her too much.

That being said, just had to put up pictures of my Kiki's darling toe-toes (as we call them).

We had another girls day out yesterday, and our first stop was Polished. The manicurist asked Kiki if it was her first time getting her toes painted. Kiki says, and I quote:

"Actually, my mommy did paint my toe-toes at home, but actually she did not do a very good job."

She is using "actually" quite a bit these days.

We laughed :-D. In fact, I'm laughing so hard right now that tears are coming out of my eyes, but I know that's just because she's my child.

Last stop, ice cream to try and keep her awake on the ride home and bribe her for all the errand running.

I sure do love that kid!!!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Tiffy's Beach Weekend

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. ~Mark Twain

I debated quite a bit on what to write and what pictures I would include from our beach weekend celebrating Tiffany's upcoming wedding.

Having decided to err on the side of caution (especially since we don't know for certain who reads the website except our mothers), I'll simply say we had just the right amount of fun and include the safest pictures :-D!

Tiffany's sister Brittany planned an amazing time for us, and I'm personally thrilled to be celebrating this momentous occasion with my friend.

We all made it home no worse for the wear, except for what I am convinced is a third degree sunburn.
The wedding is merely weeks away, but we can't wait!

Such a great group of girls!
By the way, the blonde dancing in the black dress above went straight from our night out to catch a 5 am flight back to ATL to run a marathon that started at 8 am! Liz and Allyson would be so proud...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

4 Year Anniversary

I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. ~Rita Rudner

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart! I love you!

Yes, today marks four years that Cynthia and I have been married. It really is amazing how time flies when you're having fun. We just talked about it the other night and we are both shocked that it's been that long. I know we have a long and happy future ahead of us and I am very excited about that.

Here's a picture from the honeymoon taken on the beach at sunset. We stayed at the beautiful Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida and had an amazing time.