Friday, June 27, 2008

And We're Off

We leave tomorrow for Florida. A 4.5 hour plane ride with an almost 2 year old while I can't keep any food down (sometimes not even water). Sounds like fun, eh? But I am looking forward to seeing family, helping out where we can, and getting a break from "the daily grind".

I may be able to post from Florida and will do my best to do so. I read a blog whose author leaves lists of 100 things about her when she goes away for a while. Instead of packing....

100 Things About Me

1. I am the oldest of three girls.
2. There is only a three year difference between me and my youngest sister. God bless my mother!
3. I grew up in a small town near a larger town on the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan.
4. I miss the beach and the water more than anything (living in the desert).
5. I graduated 3rd in my class of about 80 from high school.
6. I graduated with honors (cum laude) from both undergrad and law school.
7. I was the president of my sorority (Alpha Xi Delta) in college. Joining a sorority is one of the best things I did in college. I loved it and still do!
8. I am scared to death of bees (or anything that is black and yellow with a stinger). I will running crying to get away from them at all costs.
9. One of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 3:5-6.
10. My undergrad degree is in... theology but I had a music scholarship.
11. I studied both French and Hebrew in college. French was easier.
12. While I really, really, really loved my four years as an undgrad (can you tell?), I am very, very hesitant to encourage my kids to go in to debt for the same experience (as I did).
13. We find out July 15th if we are having a boy or a girl in December.
14. While I'd love for my hubby to get the son he desperately wants, raising a son scares me to death (see number 1).
15. I love having sisters and while we fought INCESSANTLY growing up, my sisters are my best friends today.
16. Going gray young runs on the maternal side of my family and mine have started showing up already.
17. I played the flute in middle/high school because my school only offered band -- no choir or orchestra.
18. My real true love was (and is) singing.
19. My music scholarship (see 10) was for voice.
20. I performed in something like 20 musicals from 6th through 12th grade -- my singing outlet!
21. I haven't performed in a musical since my senior year in high school.
22. I switched to opera in college.
23. There was 14 months between the time I met my husband to the day we got married.
24. That was 4-5 years ago.
25. My favorite book of all time is "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott.
26. Someday, I just know that Jo is going to say yes to Laurie's proposal. I just know it.
27. My daughter Ella is named for the jazz artist Ella Fitzgerald.
28. I met my husband through Yahoo personals.
29. I was in law school and he was working on his doctorate in music at Michigan State.
30. I really miss the jazz department at Michigan State -- we had so much fun with them. It is one big family.
31. One of my favorite meals is chicken schwarma and it is hard to find good schwarma outside of Syria or Lebanon.
32. I have traveled to 10 other countries in the world (11 if you count Canada). That probably seems like a lot to some, but in the circles I run in, that is nothing.
33. I have never been to Central or South America.
34. I have been to Iran.
35. I wish Americans were more adventurous in their travels. We miss out on so much from being afraid!
36. I'm trying to pick a top destination, but I can't.
37. Some of my favorite places in the world: Petra, Jordan; Damascus, Syria; Dublin, Ireland; Istanbul, Turkey.
38. In my 20's I had a goal of visiting all 7 continents by the time I was 30.
39. I didn't make it. I have been to 4 continents.
40. Someday, I am going to travel the world with Stephanie and we shall wear purple hats together!
41. I am a morning person.
42. My hubby gets up at 5 AM for work and that is too early for me!
43. I love coffee but I only drink one cup per day because I am afraid of getting addicted.
44. I haven't had coffee regularly in 4 months because I don't really like it when I am pregnant.
45. I don't drink alcohol (pregnant or not) because I don't like the taste of it.
46. Except pina coladas. I love those!
47. I hate TV (in general) and I don't watch any show regularly.
48. I want my kids to be readers, not TV watchers.
49. I often feel terrible about allowing Ella to watch an hour of Sesame Street in the morning.
50. I just sold or gave away all non-educational DVDs including two Disney Princess DVDs Ella loved. I felt bad.
51. I struggle with step-parenting and am lousy at it. Probably because of the distance and infrequency of visits.
52. I tell Sarah "I'm sorry" more often than anyone else in my life.
53. I may be lousy at the step thing, but I love having Sarah in my life. I can't imagine it without her.
54. I have learned more about myself and grown more as a person due to the "step" situation in my life than due to any other circumstance in my life ever.
55. All of my close friends are from college (I know, you're shocked).
56. I keep in touch with one friend from my hometown/high school.
57. I don't keep in touch with anyone from law school, which is weird.
58. Except Jen, but she doesn't really count because we knew each other before we got there.
59. We now live in Las Vegas, which is still weird for me.
60. We rarely go down to the Strip.
61. I have made many friends here, which I never expected.
62. Before Vegas we lived in Flagstaff, Arizona.
63. It was awful and great at the same time.
64. I love being a mom and I have no desire to go back to the marketplace ever.
65. I am not a procrastinator. Ever.
66. I plan as far ahead as I possibly can.
67. I am rarely late. Blame my dad.
68. Everyone in Vegas is late so I am usually the first one to arrive.
69. If it was the night before something was due and I hadn't completed it yet, I probably would just not do it.
70. I obviously don't work well under pressure.
71. Yet, I am a total messy, I hate housework, and my husband hangs all my clothes up for me.
72. I have no problem keeping my kitchen clean, but my bathroom takes strict discipline (and a lot of bribing) even though it grosses me out when it is dirty.
73. I live in 900 sq feet but I wish I had a house cleaner!
74. I never once wore sweat pants/work out pants/wind pants to school -- EVER!
75. Or a hat.
76. So in some parts of my world I am extremely "Type A", but in others....not so much!
77. I am my father's daughter.
78. But not the messy party -- I am sure he asked himself for years where that trait came from.
79. I am not a pack rat. I err too much on the other side -- I often get rid of or throw out things I later wished I'd kept.
80. I am serious ALL THE TIME. I have a hard time joking around.
81. I frequently told my sisters, as they were goofing around as kids and I was trying to play something, to "Be serious".
82. Thus the clowns at the circus drive me crazy because they aren't serious.
83. But I do love to laugh!
84. My husband and my middle sister make me laugh the most.
85. I often read my sister's blog and am crying I laugh so hard.
86. God knew what He was doing when He made us sisters!
87. I have a deep faith in God and in Jesus.
88. My goal in life is to glorify God in everything I do.
89. I rarely mention my faith on my blog because I also believe in absolute truth.
90. Which means that I want to avoid alienating anyone by having to say "You are wrong".
91. But I love you anyway and we can certainly disagree! I love to disagree!
92. My favorite theologian is Jonathan Edwards. If you haven't read him or heard of him (or his amazing family), you are missing out. I try to model my life as wife and mother after his wife, Sarah.
93. I find it sad and disturbing that our schools do not teach about Edwards (or many other influential people who shaped our nation and happened to be pastors) in history classes.
94. I would love to home school to fill in the gaps in our public education, but I probably won't. I'll still fill in the gaps, though!
95. I have a hard time admitting when I'm wrong, especially to my husband!
96. The last time I bought clothes for myself was in December and it was to replace really old underwear!
97. The last time I bought clothes for my kids was Sunday.
98. If I could afford it, I'd go to the spa every other week for a pedicure.
99. I would love to someday make money taking photos of kids and families.
100. After all that I've written -- do you REALLY think I'd be doing this if I didn't already have us all packed and ready to go tomorrow?!?! :-)

Just Sarah

I could put up all of them, they turned out so well! We ordered the first one with the basketball. Is it just me or does she have the greatest, perfect smile ever? All smiles are beautiful, but there is just something about hers -- maybe those apple cheeks help out a bit. In a few of the pictures I see the teenaged Sarah peeking through...sigh. Too soon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Picture Day

Last week was Picture "Day". We ended up going twice because Ella was such a handful! She refused to sit still -- at all. I wasn't planning to order any pictures of Ella, just of Sarah and the two together, but we got a good one so I ordered it!

Sarah was great with pictures from 3 until about 6. Then from 6-7 we got "the flash hurts my eyes" phase. This summer, though, she was totally in to it. I did not like any of the photos at the first session of her (at Target) and she was having so much fun that I re-booked her and took her back alone a few days later (to JC Penney). I can't wait to show you those! We put a basketball in her hand for a prop and the girl's whole demeanor changed -- she relaxed and totally lit up.

Date Night

Last night was date night for Daddy and Sarah. They went to their favorite place in all of Las Vegas, the Bellagio, and spent 3 hours there!

Sarah and the Dale Chihuly sculpture on the lobby ceiling.

Watching the fountain show

The chocolate fountain

A view of the Eiffel Tower

Other random pictures

It looks like they had a great time!

The Girls

Sarah was just hanging out on the couch and Ella suddenly plopped herself over Sarah's legs and just laid there.

Sarah reading Ella a book before bedtime.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Planning Ahead

The passing of my mother-in-law this past week has started an interesting line of conversation between my husband and I and my parents, siblings, and I. While my mother-in-law's death was unexpected, it was not what I consider untimely. Yet big decisions and plans had not been made in advance causing quite a bit chaos during a time that is already difficult.

We are only in our 30's so our plans in the case of death lie in life insurance. We talked about making more permanent plans, but we really do not have the financial resources for it right now. We have enough insurance to cover the costs (plus cover a loss of income) and the coverage is good for the next 30 years or so. We have a trust set up and as we build assets we have them titled to the trust. We have also put our wishes for our children's guardianships in the trust papers. This week we discussed what we would like to happen if we die. Morbid, maybe. But now we know!

My dad is planning to retire in the next year and he and mom have determined to make their arrangements and plans when he retires. They are at an age where they have the financial resources to plan ahead and where life insurance is not worth the cost. My mom dealt with the death of her mother 10 years ago. My grandfather bought cemetery plots for him, his wife, and a handicapped child years in advance. Funerals were pre-paid -- you can pay for your own service years in advance (who knew??) or in their case, the funeral company invested money for them and made enough to cover all expenses.

I guess my point is this: this is an area of life you can plan for. Ten out of ten people die so there is a good chance you and I will, too! The conversations may not be easy, but after this week, I would say they are worth having. Just a suggestion and observation after a few long days.

The Circus

We took the girls to the circus on Friday. We bought the tickets months ago and since we were still in town, and Sarah was looking forward to it, we went. It was a nice break from "reality". We had a great time! Ella made it about half-way through before her toddler need to move kicked in. We all agreed that while we liked the show, last year's was better.

Ella waving bye-bye to the horses.

I don't often think Sarah inherited many Jewish traits, but in this picture I totally see it! She looks like her older cousin.

We got a super cute picture last year of Mitch with girls. This year Ella was not participating so I got this super cute picture instead.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Another Week

It looks we will be around for another week. Due to a combination of late decisions, budget restrictions, flight schedules, and Jewish burial customs, we will not be attending my mother-in-law's funeral. We will be heading to Florida in a week to spend time with my father-in-law instead (and to cool off!). So you get another week of Gabel blogging. Lucky you!

If you have any suggestions for fun family oriented activities in the Boynton Beach/Boca Raton/Delray Beach area of Florida, I am all ears! I found lots to do, but I do not want to miss anything super cool.

The one thing I wanted to do this summer was go to the beach. I would rather we were heading to the Florida beaches for other reasons, but I will be happy to be near a shore for a while! My silver lining....

Our Beloved Bubbe

My husband's mother passed away unexpectedly yesterday. Mitch remembers her most as his #1 fan on the sidelines of his soccer games as kid screaming "GOOOOO MITCHELL!!" at the top of her lungs. She was definitely an encourager! A few months backed I checked with her to make sure I had all of her family's favorite recipes and she assured me I did plus she sent me a few "newer" ones she liked. I am glad I asked as all of my Jewish recipes and cooking skills are from her!

We are headed back East to be with family so I will not be blogging for a week or two.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Pink Bubbles

NB: Poor Ella gotten eaten live two nights ago by a spider! She has 4 bites on the front of her legs and one on the back. I have terrible reactions to spider bites and it looks like Ella does, too. I put cortisone cream on them and then Band Aids to keep her from scratching at them! Thus all the bandages in the picture. If you have a home remedy for itching, I'll take it.

Cool Cuts 4 Kids

We took Ella to get her hair trimmed today. I just wanted some shape and to get rid of the scraggly ends. I decided to try out Cool Cuts 4 Kids and it was awesome! I am pretty sure we could have dropped off Ella and left as she paid no attention to us whatsoever. She sat in a yellow car and watched "Melmo" (Sesame Street) and did not budge an inch except when the hairstylist got in the way of her seeing the TV! It was pricey at $17 before tip but totally worth the stress free visit! She got a balloon and they even gave us a "First Haircut" keepsake.

Unfortunately, I forgot the camera and the cell phone was home charging so no pictures. Here are some take tonight -- her hair looks so blonde to me now.

Sarah and B.J.

Per Sarah's request: a pic of her and B.J. on the blog.

Trumpet Lessons V. 2

Sarah got a beginning trumpet lesson this evening. It certainly is not her first time attempting to play a trumpet, but tonight she got some real noise going! In some states, students begin playing instruments in the 3rd grade, which is where Sarah is headed this Fall. She won't begin until further down the road, but I can see how great it is to start them young.

Ella "played" on her "bumpet" -- a small trumpet tie tack that she has claimed as her own.

All three of them "buzzing" on a mouthpiece.

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