Monday, January 31, 2011

Visit with baby Ellie : )

Zoey and I made the journey down to Palo Alto yesterday to visit our dear friend Torrey and meet her sweet baby girl Elodie Iris born 12/26/10! She is a precious little peanut with the most beautiful, wild hair! I got to hold Ellie for a bit and soak up her newborn sweetness. And Zoey had fun too - while she did terrorize Torrey and Dave's place a little bit (sorry guys, just an early hint at what you'll need to baby proof someday soon - ha!), she had fun checking out Ellie's toys and pointing at the "bay-beee". It was a lovely visit. : )

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Zoey's Tutu!

As cute as I thought it was (I mean come on people, an adorable little toddler running around in a hot pink tutu.....precious!), Zoey totally hated it and kept trying to pull it off with a frustrated scoul on her face. But I couldn't resist - I had to keep it on her long enough to snap a couple of pics. Sorry Zoey, you'll understand someday. ;)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Most days....

...I'm still a bit in shock when I look around and realize that David and I are parents of a TODDLER! What happened to our precious little baby? I know it sounds so cliche, but they do indeed grow up so fast! Thankfully we're savoring every stage of this amazing journey. : )

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Zoey in Action!

Here are two cute recent videos of our little from Christmas morning when she opened her princess mobile present from Auntie Leah, Uncle Lukasz and cousin Hayden, and the other from a random night playing at home last week. I am still amazed that my little baby is a TODDLER now! Enjoy! : )

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Important Feline-Related Facts

Just in case you didn't know...

Thanks for sharing Torrey! This not only taught me some interesting facts about my feline herd, but made me laugh as well. For all of you cat lovers out there: )

Monday, January 24, 2011

I heart the San Francisco Bay Area!

Especially on gorgeous, sunny weekends like the one we just had (FYI - I was wearing a t-shirt and capris in January!), I am reminded how much I love living in California, and how special of a place the Bay Area truy is. : ) We were able to get out for a lovely walk around Lake Merritt with Zoey on Saturday, and we went on the swings and saw all the cool birds. Then I went back on Sunday for an awesome jog and a few trips up and down the Cleveland Cascade stairs, and got a much needed dose of cardio and sunshine.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Laila's 1st Birthday!

This post is a couple weeks late because I've been a "blog procrastinator" lately, but I wanted to give a shout-out to my dear friend Jenn and her GORGEOUS baby girl Laila who just turned the big 1!

I just know Laila and Zoey will be good friends as they grow up - they are so cute together!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Our little ham!

Zoey now says "Cheeese" while flashing a huge toothy grin, says "mow mow mow" as she stares down her toy Tiger, Tiggs, with raised eyebrows, and LOVES giving kisses to people, her toys, and pictures of animals and babies in books - too cute!

Makes you think.....The "Value" of our Public Education System

This greatly resonated with me, and inspires me to want to help change our flawed system to become one where multiple intelligences, the arts, and creative/divergent thinking are SUPPORTED and ENCOURAGED, not stifled. What are YOUR reactions?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My friend Pamela

You know how once in awhile............someone enters your life, a new acquaintance, a new friend who simply enlightens you, inspires you, motivates you and just makes you feel GOOD when you're in their presence? And with this treasured person you develop an instant friendship, a special connection, and a mutual feeling of trust and comfort. And even though you've only just recently met, it feels as if you've known each other your whole lives. Have you ever felt this way?

This is a rare and special kind of friend, indeed. And Pamela is one of them to me.
: )

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"A Sad Day for California" :(

Brown's proposed budget cuts $1.4 billion from higher education
By Donna Hemmila

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a balanced, deficit-closing 2011-12 state budget today (Jan. 10) that relies on painful cuts in state services including a $500 million reduction in support for the University of California.

The 16.4 percent drop in state general fund support for UC would result in a historic shift in how California's public research university is funded: For the first time in UC's 143-year history, student tuition revenue will surpass what the state contributes to the university's core operating budget.

"The crossing of this threshold transcends mere symbolism and should be profoundly disturbing to all Californians," said UC President Mark G. Yudof, calling it a sad day for California (read Yudof's open letter to California).

Funds would drop to 1998 levels
Brown's proposed state general fund budget will return UC to 1998 funding levels when the system enrolled only 161,400 students, 73,600 fewer than today's enrollment of 235,000 students.

The governor proposed a $2.5 billion general fund contribution to UC while the university estimates student tuition will contribute $2.7 billion in revenue. UC's core operating budget funds instructional costs, including faculty and staff salaries and benefits, energy expenses, campus building and lab maintenance, and financial aid.

"Undeniably, the governor's hand has been forced," Yudof said. "He has produced, as he calls it, a tough budget for tough times, and the university will stand up and do all it can to help the state through what is a fiscal, structural and political crisis. There can be no business as usual."

The $500 million cut to UC represents a "best case scenario," said Patrick Lenz, UC's vice president of budget and capital resources, and is dependent on successful passage of Brown's tax extension package.

Higher education to be cut $1.4 billion
The governor's budget also includes a $500 million cut to the California State University and a $400 million cut to the California Community College system, resulting in a more than $1.4 billion reduction in state support for California's three public higher education systems. The budget would also raise community college fees $10, from $26 per credit unit to $36. Brown said he would keep public safety and K-12 funding stable.

"Given the vast demographic shifts underway in California, now is not the time to shrink public higher education, but to grow it," said a joint statement from the leaders of the three higher education systems. "The road to recovery from this recession and prosperity far beyond it runs straight through our many campuses. These universities are the economic engines of California."


Monday, January 10, 2011

Things that make me laugh every time!

Random thought of the day......
What always makes you laugh?!

1. Bad knock-knock jokes

2. Animals dressed as humans (tee-hee)

3. Being tickled

4. The sound of Zoey laughing!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Speaking of my toddler....

Here she is, some recent pics to share with you - my Zoey just 3 days shy of 15 months!

Drinking out of my big girl straw sippy cup

Look at that cute crossed-ankle action - such a little lady! : )

Sometimes I like to scream at the top of my lungs, just because!

Who me? And yes, that is water dripped all down the front of my shirt. Because I spit it out - ha!

Just me and my mommy. : )

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Raising a Toddler...

Yes, Zoey is officially now a TODDLER! What happened to my squishy, immobile, innocent baby girl?? : ) She is now successfully walking, chasing the cats, throwing tantrums, expressing her strong-willed personality, and getting into trouble wherever she can. I'm quickly learning that while this new phase is so much fun and I love watching Zoey grow into an amazing little girl, we also need to adopt some new parenting strategies - STAT!

So far we've had great success using the "Art of Redirection" and the "Art of Distraction". She's still a bit too young to fully understand the concepts of reward and consequence, but distracting her from a potentially dangerous or inappropriate activity, and helping her focus her attention on other, more acceptable behaviors and objects as a form of "discipline" seems to work well....for now.

As we've learned thus far in our 15 month journey of parenthood, EVERYTHING with kids is a phase - both the positive and the challenging pieces. Once you've mastered one stage and begin to feel confident in your parenting skills, you're thrown for another loop! Parenting is both the most rewarding and the hardest job out there, and our little ones keep us on our toes that's for sure! So in preparation for the emerging toddler stage, I've bought this book: The Happiest Toddler on the Block, and I look forward to reading it and absorbing some new parenting wisdom. Because when it comes to raising a baby we've got that down pat, and we can look back at Zoey's 1st year with feelings of nostalgia and success. But our little toddler is already starting to test us, that's for sure, and I'm preparing myself for the adventure! : )

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year's......Resolutions?

I used to think that New Year's Resolutions were cliche, over-utilized, empty promises that were bound to fail. Not just my own specifically per-say, but ALL of them. In some ways, it kind of feels forced upon us by society, like arbitrarily asking 100 addicted smokers to quit their habit on January 1st, just because it is the first day of the year and "ya know, everyone is supposed to promise they'll do something good for themselves this year"....Right?

So now in my life, instead of just setting new goals for the upcoming year, I work on my personal and professional development year-round, and I regularly set and achieve "mini goals" for myself, a good habit to get into I believe. So when people ask me if I've made a New Year's Resolution, I say "Why yes I have!" But not just because 2011 has rolled in and guilt has motivated me to change my ways from 2010, but because it's just any other week, any other new month where I'm looking for ways to improve and change.

Now don't get me wrong, goal setting isn't easy by any means. And to be honest, it can be down-right hard! It not only takes dedication, perseverance, and hard work to make personal goals come to fruition, but it also takes the initiative, the insight, and the self-awareness of come up with those goals and "to-do" items in the first place. Now I do have a head start over some people because I'm naturally a self-analytical, results-oriented, over-achieving, list maker. : ) So sometimes I am just as motivated by the satisfactory feeling of saying that I was able to cross something off my list, just as much as I was by the act of doing it. I love getting things done, and I love improving myself, my life, and the lives of others. Stagnancy not only bores me, it scares me to death.

So with that being said, here are a few of my newly set goals for this first month of 2011, aka my "New Year's Resolutions":

1) Train for and run my first 5K (already signed up for the See Jane Run 5K in June!)
2) Help David find and train for a new career, in whatever ways I can
3) Get back into Bikram Yoga - eventually go twice per week to Funky Door Yoga in Berkeley (LOVE it - and I already have my cute yoga outfits waiting for me)
4) Have friends over more regularly for dinner/brunch/cocktails/etc, and host more events at our condo (such an easy, affordable way to see our friends more often - if you're reading this and want to setup a date, call or email me!)
5) Read more regularly - always have a book in-progress! (I have a stack of books at home waiting for me, and I have a whole list of items I want to borrow from the library and buy from Amazon)


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Our New Year's Weekend

WAS SO MUCH FUN! We had such a relaxing, fun-filled, happy time with my parents in Manteca! Lots of sleeping in, yummy food, relaxing together at home inside away from the cold, lots of laughter and play, fun-filled trips to Primavera park and Bass Pro Shops, and silly times in the kiddy tent. And Auntie Lucia came over on NYE to have a yummy dinner with us to celebrate our last evening of 2010 - ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans and sparking wine! It was such a great get-away, and such a special way to ring in 2011. Happy times.

: )