Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jacqueline hearts Joe Paley

Jacqueline Bear knows her own mind. She likes going fast, she likes driving cars and she likes Joe Paley. It's true, she really likes him.
When Joe comes over to Dan and Jani's, Jacqueline is quick to remind him that she likes Pepperoni Pizza like he does and asks him when they can have their next sleep over.

She has even been known to ask him to dance with her. She can't help herself she likes Joe.

We are pretty sure that Jacqueline knows that Joe and Shan are going to be married soon but I think she doesn't plan to let that get in the way. Hey, it's hard to find someone who will share their pepperoni pizza. When you find them it's best to make your feelings clear.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Happy Holidays 2008

Here it is, the second annual Bear family blog posting [instead of a Christmas letter]. As luck would have it I really don't need to write a summary letter since I've been pretty good this year posting blog entries for the majority of our major life events (at least those that I was smart enough to remember to capture in photos).
Since I'm sure you got the Christmas card already, here are a few "outtake" photos on the same day. The story of the photo was that grandma came through at the last minute with the beautiful dresses (with matching doll dress) and we took the opportunity to take another photo. I was actually set to go with a "backup plan" from our Disney trip. We took a break to get some breakfast and came back to find the fedex shipment of dresses on our doorstep. Instead of troubling ourselves with baths we decided that the dirty bodies would be hidden under the dresses so we did a quick hair fix-up and headed out back for a quick photo.
It is actually very hard to get a good photo of both girls together. They both take good photographs easily, just not together! The process of getting them both looking at the camera with a good expression takes a LOT of tries. I honestly don't know how anyone did that before a digital camera.
In thinking back through the year with this blog, I realize I haven't been as good at capturing the generally interesting things that happen (or that the girls say and/or do). I seem to mostly capture the places we go and holidays since those seem logical to take a photo and that is what prompts me to blog.
So in the new year I'll attempt to blog a few "hey this is what cool things they can do now" posts even if they didn't go anywhere interesting or have a cute photo to accompany the topic (I'm SURE I'll have some file footage to dig up to cover for the photo part). So there you have it, a news years goal for the blog. I suggest you check back and keep me honest on that one.

Otherwise, I must say that we are fortunate to be moving right along with our family. Bob has been successfully self-employed for most of the year and I'm still at ORCL doing more blogging and general work stuff there. Time is marching on quickly and we are blessed every day with our great family.

For all of our family and friends who are stopping by the blog for the first time we are hopeful that you have a wonderful holiday season and we are looking forward to all the photos, letters and updates from you as well. And for those of my friends who still use the telephone and call on occasion, I know I am not worthy of you and yet I am really grateful you don't give up on me!

Love to all this holiday season. We wish you health and joy (and a safe passage through the recession) in 2009.

Bob, Meg, Ashton and Jacqueline Bear

Potty training holiday

We've been making progress on the potty training this holiday season, spurred on by the need to be able to attend ski school in January. Jacqueline is very happy to let everyone know that she and daddy are "big" and "strong". She is also very keen on doing things the same.
  • Daddy and Me are wearing gray socks
  • Mommy you are wearing boots, I can wear my boots
  • and so on
For the last week the Santa hats have been a big deal, we are each given our hat on entry to the house and ordered to put it on. She herself does not take hers off. I'm actually pretty happy about this as there is something (that she will keep on) that keeps her hair out of her eyes.
The wearing of the Santa hat wearing is very serious business these days so I couldn't resist snapping a few of the "fashion photos" as well. We have all the required elements: our princess slippers, our Santa hat and a smile!

Turns out she even sleeps with her Santa hat. This thing is going to need a serious washing before we put it up for the year.


This was the second year that Dan took Ashton to the Nutcracker. They go on the BART train into the city and enjoy the show together.

Jani found a gorgeous dress for Ashton and Jordyn's coat made another trip with mom even pitching in to sew the muff so it could go as well.

This year they got 5th row seats and Ashton told me that her favorite part was the Russian dancers (I agree that is cool). She also got her sister her own nutcracker so now they each can have one on the mantle for the holiday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving weekend

Thanksgiving weekend started off with Suzie and the girls coming to stay on Wed night. Thursday Tash and Jordyn took the girls (mostly to get them out of our hair) while Suzie and I cooked and Bob did any required heavy lifting to prepare for the feast.

The girls got dressed up and went for a bit of a photo shoot to attempt to get a holiday card photo. Unfortunately, none of them made the cut for the actual photo. It's wicked hard to get both girls with eyes open, looking at the camera with good expressions on their faces. These are cute photos but don't really show their faces too much so they made the blog instead ;-)

After returning from the day away, Tash needed a beer to recover as we made the final preparations for dinner.
Jordyn was, as always, calm as could be through it all. She got employed by her mom to get the things off the "high shelves". I get a sense this is a normal job for J. these days. She really is getting tall.Of course, also as per normal I didn't get any photos of the rest of the family, the dinner or anything else that would make for a great thanksgiving photo post. I guess we were too interested in the food by that point. My cousin Kathi and Aunt Linn joined us just in time for dinner. It was wonderful having them, although we were sad that Uncle Johnny could not join as he is still recovering in the hospital in the city after his stroke.

So as per normal we had a lot to be thankful for, and while our mouths were too full to express our gratitude we were all very grateful to see John recovering and to have the rest of the family with us safe and well.
Later that weekend we endoured the Chuck E. Cheese adventure with the girls. They were much more impressed with this dinner choice but we are certain that they will grow to like Turkey dinner as the years progress. They had no trouble enjoying the desserts so as always Judy was the big hit.

Bravo to Suzie for cooking an excellent turkey for us all to enjoy, sorry I didn't take a photo.

Thanksgiving remains my favorite holiday, there is something really special on friday night when you realize that you have 2 more days off. I really should do more 4-day weekends, they are awesome.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The great photo adventure

As often happens, the need to get a group photo hit our clan a few weeks back. My sister, my cousin and I wanted to get a group photo for the family that included all the "girls". This great idea involved a lot of planning of colors, dates, etc. I should have saved a few of the email exchanges as there was a lot of humor there.

Suffice to say that Natasha did a lot of the leg work in figuring out what everyone should wear, how their hair should be styled and what was an appropriate amount of makeup etc. We all arrived to the studio on time (actually early) and looking lovely. Of course there was no one there to actually take our photo and we got to wait for a good 45 minutes to even get the process started. This isn't such a bad thing but when you have two squirmy youngsters this can be problematic.

Luckily Tash and Jordyn entertained the girls with a variety of creative pasttimes including putting them in the fake christmas box (which turns out to be one of the cutest photos we took that day but alas I get ahead of myself.After a very long wait for photos to be taken with a (now) couple of cranky children and a few frazzled adults we all attempted to do our best to not look stupid in the few photos that Jacqueline was actually looking at the camera.

Before picking out the photos we went and got some food to attempt to help keep us from going over the edge. On the way out Jacqueline wanted to try her hand at the "cars" in the automotive section. She was a bit confused why they didn't "work" though.

Hopefully the photos themselves are actually ones we like when we get them back this week. All I know is that after the 4 hours at the mall we were all happy to get home.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Disney 2008 - Swim day and Last day in the park

We took Saturday off to enjoy some time at the pool. The idea was to slow down a bit and rest but with a big and small water slide that really didn't happen. What did happen was a full day of swimming in the pools by both girls.

There was even a baby pool that the girls played in some. Mom and dad liked this the best since we could watch from the lounge chair. Sadly there was no pool bar service though. I guess it was just as well with our fast moving girls.
The room had a bunkbed and a trundle for the girls. Both girls were very excited to have their own bunks. The first night Ashton slept there without a hitch but the second night she hit her head and didn't really want anything to do with it.

So the bunks became a place to play during the day and then sleeping happened on the bottom bunk and trundle combination
We had a balcony that overlooked the pool. The best balcony story happened with Jacqueline getting a time out there in the evening. She was only in a diaper and she decided to yell (loudly) I'm cold! from the balcony so we couldn't really go through with a full time out for fear of having someone turn us in.

The last day at the park we found one of Jacqueline's favorite rides (Pooh). Actually, most rides, after completing them she'd ask to go again, so it was hard to really know what was the favorite.

One she talked about several times was the Buzz Lightyear ride where you got to use blasters and get points. She wanted to get her own blaster after that, I'm guessing I'll regret that moment of weakness.

The big event of the last day was the Princess lunch. Both girls were very excited to see the princesses up close. They do such a nice job stopping at each table and spending a few minutes with each girl.
Surprisingly, it is also one of the better meal experiences in the park as well. Jacqueline was very happy to show everyone her "Rose dress".

We even managed to find Alladin and Jasmine late in the day. Of course this always brings memories of Jordyn's Jasmine experience where she was completely unable to speak when she saw her.

The last day we went until Jacqueline completely collapsed into the stroller (I'm tired mom) letting Bob and Ashton do a few bigger rides. Ashton was very anxious to push the envelope and show she was big enough for the big kids rides. So far Star Tours was the one she was most proud of. She was up for the Matterhorn but it was a huge line and we overruled it on her.

Jacqueline did the Toon Town roller coaster with us but announced afterward that it made "my tummy sore" (the first day she said it was too loud).

I think we should have listened to her since she woke up in the middle of the night getting sick (oops sorry hotel housecleaning). She got sick again this morning but rallied and had an excellent day, even napping agreeably on the flight home.

Disney Videos

Decided to post a few videos that are exceptionally cute. The first two are Ashton and Jacqueline at dinner on the last night of Disney. The dinner place had a Pirates theme so the girls decided to share their thoughts.

The last video is Jacqueline dancing with the Princesses. She was very excited to do all the princess stuff this time insisting she was "A Rose" (Briar Rose, AKA Sleeping Beauty). Took me a little while to figure out what the rose business was all about but now I think I'm all straightened out.

Disney Pilgramage 2008

This was our first Disney trip with no additional help. Just Bob, Meg and the girls. We all had an excellent time with everyone very enthusiastic about the good times we had. Also this was the first trip with my iPhone so I was able to send back early photos to friends and family so that was a kick as well.

We went to the park first thing upon arrival and did some rides and things. The next morning we started the day with the character breakfast
Jacqueline was not sure what she thought of that and mostly didn't want the characters to touch her. Ashton was showing her the way though and after a bit she was happy to have Chip and Dale say hello (from a distance).
We then went off to do the full day at the park. Here is my favorite photo of Bob and the girls at California adventure.

There were hardly any lines on our first days. This was an excellent time and it was gorgeous weather. In fact we all got a bit hot waiting to see Tinkerbell.
By the time we got to see Minnie Mouse Jacqueline was "all in" and had no trouble at all posing for photos and getting autographs.
She even posed with mom and Mickey at Mickey's house. Dad and Ashton were off riding the roller coaster again in Toon Town.
This rocket ship ride was another one of Jacqueline's favorites. Unfortunately she rode with mom and the camera did not allow me to take our photo. I got a great one of Ashton and Bob taking flight.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Thankful for Julianne

As many of you already know we had a scare this month with our other girl Julianne. She had a lump on her hip and a bump in her mouth. We found out they are tumors that had to come out.
Her surgery day had a bit more drama than normal when Ashton decided to share her sandwich on the one morning that the dog was to not eat for 12 hours prior to the operation. After a quick call to the vet and some schedule adjustments we went ahead with the getting the tumors removed which were large and complex. We had to wait for the rest of the week to find out the results.
In the meantime we had to keep her from messing with her stitches. Jacqueline decided to try on the collar and see how it looked on her. This did not make Julianne feel any better about the process.
The surgery left a mean spot on her hip that was really sad to look at.
And of course she hated the collar. So after a week of recovery we got the call that everything was ok. So thankfully we are all back to normal with us being so happy that our girl is well.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

Today we finally got a chance to go to Lemos Farm in Half Moon Bay.  I have had an intention to go there for years now but the travel time always makes it seem like a bad time.  
Today we were invited to a birthday party so that gave us a reason to follow through.  The place is all that and then some as far as pumpkin experiences.  There is hay, pumpkins, people in festive attire.
There was face painting and a nice picnic area for the birthday party.  All of that made it seem like it might have been worth the hour and a half in the car going 8 mph (tops) to get over the 92 into Half Moon Bay.  Of course the weather was perfect which probably added to the traffic.
Those who have been paying attention will remember that Jacqueline was going to be Tinkerbell for halloween.  When I mentioned that we already have a Tink outfit she got herself an Ariel costume.  Of course that one is too big on her so we were not too upset when she wanted to wear a random outfit in their dress up cache to be a "princess".  So this is Jacqueline's third outfit, I'm still not sure what will be used on the actual halloween day, I guess you'll find out then (although I must say that history shows me to be very poor at taking photos on the actual day of trick-or-treating.  Something always seems to come up when I should be snapping photos (like a dead battery).
And special thanks to Courtney for having such an excellent birthday.  We did the train (twice for Jacqueline), a short time in the bounce house and even the pony rides for Ashton.  The trip home took 20 minutes so we had time to take a bath and get all that face paint off before school tomorrow.  Excellent weekend.