Friday, February 27, 2015

A questionnaire: FIVE

Tomorrow is Daisy's birthday. In lieu of a babybook, I ask the following 20 questions to my birthday girl (starting with the third birthday). You can see Daisy's previous answers, here and here. So, this afternoon while making our traditional pizza dough for Friday night pizza movie night I fired away. 
  1. What is your favorite color: red
  2. What is your favorite toy: legos. leapreader. dollhouse. magnets. all our toys! 
  3. What is your favorite fruit: watermelon 
  4. What is your favorite movie: Beauty and the the Beast
  5. What is your favorite thing to wear: my long skirts 
  6. What is your favorite animal: ladybugs. zebras. 
  7. What is your favorite song: "Let it Go" 
  8. What is your favorite book: any Bearnstein Bears books, any Ivy and Bean, Never Girls or the Rainbow Magic Fairy Books 
  9. Who is your best friend: Annie and Lily 
  10. What is your favorite breakfast: oatmeal  
  11. What is your favorite lunch: peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cheese crackers, fruit 
  12. What is your favorite dinner: pizza movie night (Mom's note: on Friday nights we make pizza and watch a movie together as a family. Basically, it's our favorite night of the week). 
  13. What is your favorite snack: popcorn; grapes 
  14. What is your favorite dessert: cupcakes  
  15. What do you sleep with at night: blankie  
  16. What is your favorite thing to play outside: pirates and princesses (a pretend game the girls and J play together), potions (we have various colors of water in various types of bottles and we mix them and pour them and measure them and pretend to cast spells on the bugs and flowers in the yard), jump rope
  17. What do you want for your birthday dinner: fruit salad and roasted cauliflower (I'll also be making panko crusted chicken tenders and we'll be having vanilla almond cupcakes with blackberry buttercream for dessert) 
  18. What do you want to be when you grow-up: an astronaut (Mom's note: She has wanted to be an astronaut for a while now and her knowledge of space is incredible. She wants to be the first girl on Mercury. She says she'll send me a postcard.) 
  19. Where is your favorite place to go: disneyland
  20. What is your favorite game: memory, who shook hook 

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Letter to my little Violet: 182 (+ 6) days

Dear Violet,
Last Monday was your half-birthday. At six months you are 15 pounds, 25 inches long and a full-fledged baby. One who can roar like a lion, roll to across the playroom in the blink of an eye, and wave hello. Over the past few weeks, you have really blossomed. Where was once a cuddly little baby, there is now a BABY! who MOVES! and SCREECHES! and EATS REAL FOOD!

It’s like you’re a real person or something. 
Your first food was butternut squash. You loved it. You've since had cauliflower, sweet potato, avocado and carrots. 

You have never been a particularly loud baby. You have always loved to watch and let your environment just soak in, but lately that has been changing as well. You are beginning to make all sorts of noise – squawks, roars, grunts. You babble at your toys. You squawk in your carseat. You squeal in delight in the bath and grunt at the dinner table when you’ve finished but the rest of the family has not.

You’ll notice this letter is a bit later than usual; that is because this past week will go down in the Rossini family history books as The Time We Were All Taken Out With The Flu. In fact, on your big day, instead of celebrating with great fanfare (you know, with bites of sweet potatoes and a flurry of photos) you and I spent the better part of the day curled in the fetal position, feverish, shivering and moaning.
But, you know what Violet, even in the midst of your misery; you were still such a happy baby. You spend most of your time smiling or laughing or gurgling with a sort of unyielding delight. You love to be placed on your back with your Sophie the Giraffe above your head, so you can flip, roll and grab it yourself. You love to watch your sisters play, smiling at their antics and laughing at their silly faces.

Lately, your hand-eye coordination has improved exponentially. We would not have know it a few months ago, but it turns out that you are a hand-eye GENIUS. I brag about it all the time. You can grab your toes! You can splash water! You can turn the pages in board books! You can practically feed yourself! Your father, sisters and I delight in watching you grow and learn and change. I think I can speak for all of us when I say we could have never imagined that having you would bring us so much joy.
Sometimes I pick you up, shower you with kisses and exclaim I LOVE THIS GIRL! And it feels like I just cannot contain it, like there is love for you popping out of me in twelve direction at once. But, it’s true, sweetheart. It’s true.
I love you more than all the stars in the sky and the water in the ocean.

Love, Momma

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Sick Girls

Today is a sick day at the Chez Stars household. Me and all three girls are recoving from bad colds, so we're on our third day of Operation Lay Low, feel yucky and Mostly Do Nothing At All.

Actually, that's not true. We've read about a million and one books. We've watched several movies. I've read two novels (The Parent Backpack and 46 pages. Both are fantastic reads, especially the latter one). We've been playing with our doll house. We've finished several puzzles. We've been playing Rainbow Brite. Daisy and Lily have been wearing their rainbow brite belts and sprinkle star dust on Violet in hopes she'll feel better. We color. We paint. We snuggle. This morning we ventured out to the backyard for some much needed vitamin D to make chalk pictures and blow bubbles.
While I feel pretty miserable, and I hate when my babies are miserable, I have enjoyed all the snuggles and down-time that comes with sick days. These days we don't have much time to lie around and read story after story, and I rarely have a chance to watch a whole entire movie with the girls snuggled on my lap, and a baby sleeping in my arms. So, while we're snotty and coughy and generally gross we're not so miserable after all.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Letter to my Sweet Girl: Lily is THREE

Dear Lily,

You are three years old, THREE!, and you are learning all manner of new tricks. These past six months alone, you have learned how to make a harmonica produce different sounds, how to write several letters in your first name (and Daisy's first name), how to cut scissors to cut along a line or make a paper snowflake, how to ride a scooter, and you have mastered the lyrics to several new songs.
Your maternal grandparents took you and your sister to Disneyland for your birthdays. You met Minne Mouse, Cinderella and Elsa. You now believe that Disneyland is the source of all the happiness in the world, except for any of the fast rides. Like the Carousel. 

Lily, I love watching you grow, and I constantly wonder what you are learning and what ideas you most fervently will express. This being said, you are so fiercely independent. You are passionate. You and I butt heads - I think it's because we are so similar. We cry. We yell. And then, half a second later, we snuggle up to one another and we laugh and hug and read. Some mornings we are the best of friends. Other mornings, it feels as though we have drawn up troops to march into battle.

That being said, your imagination is really blossoming these days. You spend your days pretending to be Rainbow Brite (a recent obsession), or a baby or a pirate or a dog. Recently, your absolute favorite is to play Cinderella with your father. He plays the part of Prince Charming and I play the part of the Evil Stepmother, Violet plays the part the Fairy Godmother, while Daisy is the beautiful Queen who sits upon her throne and sings the ballroom music for you and your prince to waltz too.  You start by engaging in a dramatic curtsy to the ground, and conclude the entire game with your prince slipping on one of my high heels for the glass slipper test. I'm not entirely sure how I got cast into the part I did, but I love watching your eyes sparkle and your face light up when you dance with your prince.
Meeting the real-life Cinderella. You were almost trembling with excitement. 

Also, you have started a ballet class (in which you insist on wearing tap shoes) that you absolutely love. Oh, and you've started drawing rainbows all the time. That's pretty cool too.
While visitng your grandparents, we also went to the beach. You now believe your grandparents to live in a magical place of sand, princess castles and unlimited ice cream. 

You are three years old Lily, and having you at this age is amazing and wonderful. Three is clever and curious and creative. Three is loud and three is quiet. Three is painted fingernails and whizzing by on your scooter and trudging up to the house covered head to to in mud and sopping wet from running through the sprinklers.
Watching the parade with you in my arms. 
I love you more than all the stars in the sky and all the water in the oceans.

Love, Momma

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Bumblebee is three

Tomorrow is Lily's birthday. In lieu of a babybook, I ask the following the following 20 questions to my birthday girl (starting with the third birthday). You can see Daisy's answers, here and here. So, this afternoon while coloring and painting, I asked the following questions: 
  1. What is your favorite color: green (Momma's note: this is a very new development. As of yesterday and each day before that, her favorite color was blue.)
  2. What is your favorite toy: princesses and her tea set (She has these 4" Disney princesses and a pretend tea set that she carts around everywhere.)  
  3. What is your favorite fruit: avocado, blueberries and bananas, but pancakes are my favorite. 
  4. What is your favorite movie: Cinderella 
  5. What is your favorite thing to wear: my Rainbow Brite costume (Momma's note: This was her homemade Halloween costume which we wear on a weekly wear. And Oh, My Heaven's if this is in the wash!) 
  6. What is your favorite animal: a moose or an elephant
  7. What is your favorite song: "The Apple Song" (Momma's note: This is a song that Daisy learned in preschool for "Apple Pie Night" and Lily has since picked it up with the hand motions. She will break into song at random times, but it is oh so cute.) and "Let It Go" (also another song she has learned all the words too. She has been known to steal my nursing cover to wear as a cape and sing the song while we are out and about.) 
  8. What is your favorite book: any of the Llama Llama by Anita Dewdney; anything with Minnie Mouse or anything with Rainbow Brite 
  9. Who is your best friend: Daisy and Karly 
  10. What is your favorite breakfast: daddy's pancakes 
  11. What is your favorite lunch: macoroni and cheese 
  12. What is your favorite dinner: pizza movie night (on Friday nights we make pizza and watch a movie together as a family. Basically, it's our favorite night of the week). 
  13. What is your favorite snack: a smoothie
  14. What is your favorite dessert: Gold Coins (Those chocolate gold coins from Trader Joe's. I got a bag in my stocking, and we each had a gold coin for dessert each night after Christmas. Lily has been begging Santa to bring me some more.) 
  15. What do you sleep with at night: my Minnie Mouse 
  16. What is your favorite thing to play outside: pirates and princesses with Daisy. 
  17. What do you want for your birthday dinner: cheese pizza and a Rainbow Brite cake. (We are having a mini-birthday party with Lily's two best friends where we are going to do an art project, eat homemade cheese pizza, have cake and watch Cinderella.) 
  18. What do you want to be when you grow-up: Rainbow Brite 
  19. Where is your favorite place to go: To the park with a playground. No, the beach! BOTH!!
  20. What is your favorite game: Pretend with sister or the stretchy game (Momma's note: A Disney Jr. version of Twister. We basically play it every day). 
Rainbow Brite herself hosting a tea party for her princesses. 

Monday, January 05, 2015

I vow

I vow to have a blast with you at home. I vow to show you girls and your father every day how much you mean to me. I vow to remember what's important and let slide what is not. I vow play a little more and work a little less. I vow to work on my patience. I vow to dance with you in the afternoons and snuggle with you in the morning. And I vow to let you twirl in your party dress for as long as you like.
Because I remember twirling in my own when I was little.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


For the past couple of years or so, I have written a sort of New Year’s Eve question and answer blog. I discussed all sorts of manners of things about the year, and this year I went to sit down to fill out the same predicable meme, but found myself uninspired. This past year was good, hard, but in the end, really kind of boring. I mean, we bought a house and had a third baby. Two extremely good things; great things, really, but they took most of the year to prepare for and most of the year to recover from.

When I was thinking back to the year I was reminded of songs more than moments. You see, I am of the school of thought that if a song sounds good played once, it sounds even better played ten times in succession. That makes sense, right? Of course it does. I do this with every single song I’ve decided I’ve fallen in love with, until it is ingrained indelibly on my brain for the rest of my life, and this particular habit of mine is how I still know most of the entire Journey canon from 1994 to 1995 or the U2 album of 2001. Hey, I never said it was a useful habit. Although, you know what, get back to me when Jeopardy has that as a category, because I would ROCK THAT, no pun intended (okay, it was intended).

Of course, this particular characteristics is also something inherited by my daughters. Which is why many of the songs of the year are dominated by their picks, and not just my own. Now that we are in the last few hours of 2014, I thought I’d put together a playlist of all the songs I’ve had on repeat this year. 

Basically, this is a crazily long-winded introduction to what I originally wanted to post, which was a list of songs I’ve had on repeat this year. Now, I want you to note, that only a few of these songs are actually from 2014, so it’s not like I’m claiming to be some magical musical tastemaker who has captured the zeitgeist of the past year or anything, mainly because a) we have established that I’m not up on the trends having once been enthralled by Journey in 1994, when this was not a particularly cool time to be enthralled with them, and b) these songs are really only from my past year, not the general past year of the collective public.

But, anyway! If you’re still reading, and you’re still interested, here are a few great songs I listened to in 2014. And then listened to again and again and again and again. 

1.     A Million Years, Alexander: I heard this on the radio a few times and kept thinking for the 30 seconds that it was Simon & Garfunkel, but realizing that while it definitely isn’t Simon & Garfunkel, it’s still rather Simon & Garfunkel-ish. Don’t know about you, but that always gets maximum points in my book. I discovered this a few weeks after Violet was born, and I sort of feel like it sums up in the best possible way of her arrival in our little family. It’s a “rainbow crash” and an “exploding sun” but “I found my girl.” She makes our family complete.
2. Let it Go, Idina Menzel: Anyone whose anyone has heard this song, but those with young ones have heard this over and over and over regardless if they wanted to or not. In fact, before we owned the album, Daisy had it memorized this song word for word. Lily has been know to steal my nursing cover to wear as a cape and sing the entire chorus complete with choreography. We spent most of the spring, summer and fall singing and dancing in our backyard to this song. I'm sure the neighbors are thrilled we moved the party indoors. 
(ps: my girls LOVE this version. We’ve spent many a nursing session all cuddled up watching it together.)

3.  Thrive, Casting Crowns: This has been etched on my heart so much of this year. When I felt alone. When I felt like I was drowning. When I was suffering from nights of insomnia. When I felt like I could barely survive, this is what I would repeat, “joy unspeakable, faith unsinkable, love unstoppable; anything is possible.”
4. Floatin’ Bubble Song, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: We spent the better part of the year potty training Lily. This has not been an easy learning experience for her, and a lesson in patience for me. Her learning would progress and then be interuppted. All year long. I mean, heck this year alone she moved, transitioned out of a crib, and welcomed a baby sister. That's alot of changes for anyone, but especially for a two year old. Finally, though we learned her motivation: Micky & Minnie songs. She got a new song every time she was successful until we had the whole album. This is one of her favorites.
5. Home, Tandy: I think I heard this for the first time on a Grey’s Anatomy episode (which I have stopped watching this year, I just couldn’t stand the drama anymore. Come on, a plane crash and a hospital shooting in back-to-back years? No one has that type of luck.) But, I love the lyrics. I'm generally a sucker for songs that talk about "home" and this one is no exception. 

6.  Piano Pieces from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic Era: For two reasons, a) Daisy has become interested in the piano. She wants to learn to play, so we started listening to classical piano in the car and b) sometimes my life is filled with so much talking that I like listening to quiet, calm, wordless music. It centers me. I have a playlist I listen to in the car, or we put on in the late afternoons while I make dinner and the girls play. 
7. Best Day of my Life, American Authors: I’m not entirely sure where this song came from, but it came on my iPod during one of my first runs after Violet was born. I loved the beat for running. Just fast enough to keep a solid tempo, but not too hard-core to make me crazy.
8. Any way you want it, Journey: I told you I wasn’t cutting edge. But, this song is always part of our late afternoon dance parties. When we were desperate for J to get home, tired and hungry and needing a distraction. We put this one and dance in our family room. But, the best part is when Lily sings from the top of her lungs, “Anyway you want it that's the way you need it.”
9.  Peace like a River, Elizabeth Mitchell: This is a song I remember singing when I was a child, complete with the hand motions. There are a million versions of this song, but I love this version in particular. I love that my girls sing it. I love the lyrics. We sing it when we are having a particularly rough moment. Sometimes when Lily is having a meltdown or Daisy is mad, I just start singing this song while I rock them. It almost always calms them down so we can work through the moment. 
10. All the Little Lights, Passenger: I heard this on the radio early in the year driving to work, and then it stopped me in my tracks a few weeks later when I heard it playing at an independent book store I frequent with the girls. I finally found the song on iTunes, and it has been playing on repeat ever since. I love most of the album, but this song has particular stolen part of my heart. 
So there you have it, the California Stars 2014 playlist. I’m sure the neighbors are looking forward to a new playlist for a new year, even if the song is on repeat ten times in a row.