Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 Holiday Letter

Julianne with the girls
 As we take a moment to reflect on 2010 we can't help but feel extraordinarily blessed.

After 14 years of talking about adding on to our home, we are weeks (ok months) away from being complete.  We are fully aware that as the girls look back upon their lives, they will think of this time as a big adventure, one that helped put some color in their charmed lives.
Two letters for Santa this year

As you might have guessed, the fact that space is tight in the rental really doesn't register with the girls.  The biggest thing they are looking forward to with the move back is not getting their own rooms or having closets that are not bursting, but rather being back on the block with all their friends kids and Dan and Jani next door.

Of course, when we move back they also get the bonus of Joe and Shannon on the other side as well, (as I'm sure Joe and Shannon are looking forward to something other than a construction war-zone next door too).
Holiday lights at the rental
On the school and work front, things are mostly as expected.

Bob has been working with Zoomsystems for over a year now, sometimes as a contractor and sometimes as an employee (confusing for me too).   Lately, he has been helping to setup the European operations with somewhat regular trips to Germany and Italy (hmm... too bad vacation budget has been eaten up by house stuff).

Meg is still plugging away at ORCL and both the girls are now in grade school with Jacqueline starting Kindergarten and Ashton in second grade.

Everything else about our lives is still extremely fortunate, with a year of good health and reasonably care-free living.   Our rental house is a close 6 blocks from our construction project so there are weekly progress visits that are a delight for Bob and Meg and a bore for Ashton and Jacqueline. 

I guess the rest is pretty well detailed in the blog, so do take a look for more year in review.  We wish you all the best this holiday season (which I do realize is past...) and that 2011 is as exciting a year for you as we know it will be for us.

All the best,

Bob, Meg, Ashton and Jacqueline Bear

+ Julianne

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Breakfast with Santa

Our gym does a breakfast with Santa that is very nice. We didn't manage to do this last year so I wanted to make sure we got our photos this year.

For those of you who have been following along at home, you will recognize the dress on Jacqueline from two years ago. The doll had to come along as well, there really was not choice given that she had made the effort to dress up for the occasion.

We even managed to get a couple photos of the four of us together. This is a rare occurrence for us.
and finally one more photo of the doll. This is for grandma.

On Fairies and Jammies

We are all about Fairytopia these days. Our life is a series of fairy experiences we even fall asleep drawing fairies.
You might not have realized that even normal jammies can become fairy-ready just by adding wings. Older sisters, on the other hand, are much too cool for wings and fairies. They are just about the dancing.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A trip to the Nutcracker

 Every year Dan takes the girls to the nutcracker but this year the arrival of Baby Eli had him out of town so mom got to attend instead.

As you might have guessed I'm a bit less extravagant than Dan on the venue and I was thrilled to find out that there was a shorter/cheaper show at the Zeum so I immediately got tickets.

Ashton with the cast

Front row seats!

Since the show was smaller we were able to meet the cast after the show which was nice for the girls.  We also managed to get a nice family photo (seems the best photos are taken without a lot of thought on our part -- when we try to pose for a photo we tend to have a disaster with one or more of us looking the other way).

All in all it was a great show, and I managed to get a few photos for the holiday card but the girls did mention the differences with the "real" show and I'm sure they are looking forward to next year having Dan back in charge!
Jacqueline showing some attitude

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Jacqueline made us this Thanksgiving card. She asked me what the card should be and I told her "our house". I mention that as you might have trouble being sure that is what you see. What is cool is that she wrote Ashton, Bob and Mom without asking us how to write them and I've never seen her write anything before other than her name (which this is not her best work with the "ne" bleeding onto a different line)

This year we had all our stuff packed away. I had honestly intended to skip Thanksgiving and go to Hawaii instead but alas we ended up not being able to swing that. So I broke down and decided to cook instead. The Turkey was gorgeous and the dinner was lovely. Suzie and Dad joined and it was a wonderful and relaxing time.

We also went to a birthday party for a friend of Jacqueline that had parrots.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Both girls had to do try-outs to join a new Gymnastics class. They are both beginners but are in different classes due to age. We have done different classes in the past but never really took to it. This time they both seem pretty enthusiastic about the opportunity.

We'll see how it goes. For now, it's a reliable thing to do on a rainy Thursday afternoon so that's good. My goal is for them each to learn a cartwheel. I've never been able to do one myself and I've always wished I had learned.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

This year mom found herself on a plane returning home the day of the Halloween parade. I missed the parties but managed to get to the parade and snap a few photos. Bob got to the assembly but due to over-crowding we didn't really get any photos that were recognizable as our children.
Ashton was a very colorful witch. A seasoned expert at the parade I didn't really get to see much of her. The parade was almost foiled by rain and the construction of the new school building has shortened the playground so the route wove through the classrooms instead.
The glasses are completely decorative. The girls were so anxious for glasses that we bought some readers at Target and popped out the lenses for them to play with. They were a good addition to the cheerleader getup.
For the actual Halloween you will notice we had one family member do a super costume change. In fact, she had done three different ones but one fell apart completely. First she changed her mind to be a witch like her sister.

Then supergirl.

Then she put on a poodle skirt to match me

and last, back to supergirl which managed to stay through the trick-or-treat event.

There was a block party on our rental neighborhood with lots of cute kids dressed up and playing in the street. What a great time. While we missed having Grandpa Bob join us in the rental, Bob and the girls did trick-or-treating in both neighborhoods so a lot of candy was procured.

Traffic at the rental was much lighter than I'm used to so manning the door was not as fun as I had hoped. We are all looking forward to returning to our house for next Halloween.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jacqueline 5th Birthday

Jacqueline had a huge birthday celebration at Pump it Up. This group photo even missed one kid who accidentally got stuck in the maze.

The theme this year was Fairies and mom got both girls poodle skirts as well so Jacqueline was a Rock N Roll fairy.

Ashton was not entirely sure how she felt about the gift but she sure looked cute!

The rock climbing wall was a huge hit. Georgia was pretty far ahead but both girls were smiling when they came down.
We actually arrived early so girls were showing their sisterly love. Jacqueline was wearing her gorgeous birthday dress from Jani which got a lot of compliments.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Birthday party at school

In the tradition of her mother Jacqueline celebrated her birthday over several days. Judy made her a fairy cake and took her and her sister to Build-a-Bear where Ashton recorded an "I love you Jacqueline" message in her bear.

Auntie Suzie came over and brought some presents and had a good night cuddle.
Jani took her to buy a new party dress and the cousins got her some Ugg boots -- of course, they go together for a cheer!
At her school her mom came to class and joined in a 'walk around the sun" clebration where the Jacqueline got to carry the earth (a stuffed ball) around the sun (a candle) with months listed in a circle once for each year of her life. As she walked around the sun the teacher told something about each year of her life.

It was very cute to see and also educational. There was singing and blowing out the sun candle at the end.
This picture was her walking back to her classroom after recess. She just looks so big!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Back to school night

This was our first back to school nights with two kids. I'm honestly not sure what parents of three kids do as we found two a challenge. I somehow thought we would have time for both -- so I started in Jacqueline's room and Bob started with Ashton's.
Then in a frantic dash at the end I ran to Ashton's room and checked out her work. She had been very specific that I was to look at her self portrait and her letter on her desk. I did manage that as well as pick up the wishlists for the classroom supplies.

Other than that I have no real clue about how second grade works myself. I did get a great feeling about kindergarten (again). It was interesting how I focused on different things for Jacqueline than Ashton and I realized that the curriculum has things that uniquely appeal to each.
I found myself really excited for Jacqueline about all the "discovery" elements and the very concrete approach to math. In the day where they are disproving the theory of "learning styles" I find myself even more convinced of the idea with my very scientific experiment of two girls. I am already observing their learning experiences will be different but that they will both find school something they enjoy and appreciate.

I am so lucky as are they!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First day of school 2010

We now have two Lincoln Lions! The girls could not be more excited to be back to school and Mom and Dad (and Judy) are all thrilled as well. I'm pretty sure Jani is the only one who loves the lack of structure in our circle ;-).

The big "get ready" item this year was the book bag. This year Ashton was insistent that she did not want a backpack but a more age-appropriate messenger bag. She found the perfect one at her new favorite store Justice

The day started by dropping off Ashton at 8:30am. She was thrilled to find friends in her class that she knew and everyone was looking ready and happy taking their obligatory photo for mom.

Next we went back home to get Jacqueline ready for her "late bird" drop off. She had to wear her fancy "cherry dress" and could not have been more excited. The teacher let the parents come into the classroom and get settled and she had spots on the floor marked out for each of the kids. Jacqueline put her bookbag away as requested and found her spot on the floor.

The rule is that each child is to stay in their own square which is harder than it sounds when you are wearing a cherry dress!

After an hour and a half it was time for early pickup. Jacqueline's teacher helped the kids find their parents. We are all thrilled as can be with her teacher. She is smart and sweet but very much in charge of the class. I have no idea how you do that, especially while having a very quiet and measured voice. I'm not going to suggest there is pharmaceutical help or anything, I'm just going to say I could never do that myself.
Next, we picked up Ashton and went to lunch to recap the day which all agreed was a great success.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Girls being cute

This is a post of a couple recent strike a pose moments. This is Jacqueline practicing for their statue pose.
Here is the statue pose -- John and Charlie's back yard just seemed to be missing something with that statue all by itself, the girls were there to lend a helping hand to that situation.
This is how I found Jacqueline after I stopped by the house to check on something. It seems the driver seat is more usable when you put a booster up front.
Here is a typical Saturday afternoon -- getting out of the swimsuit is a challenge. In fact, often Jacqueline wears swimwear around the house with or without any hope of swimming. Today she decided to add a pair of boots and to lay on mom's pillow while using dads iPod touch to play games. You will notice that the shoes are still often on the wrong feet. I figure if she doesn't complain who am I to switch them.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


In the last couple years it's worked out that Bob (and Judy) have done the dentist trips. This year both girls were excited to go. I guess it helps that their dentist has mastered all the tricks, toys, movies, purple chairs.
Jacqueline, of course, had to wear a dance outfit (thanks again Gabriella!) and strike a pose in her pink chair. I'm not entirely sure if this was before of after we discovered a cavity (ugh!)
As you might expect Ashton has the whole thing figured out -- notice Jacqueline in the background using the chair as a jungle gym.. ?
Thankfully, Ashton's teeth all checked out -- Jacqueline is going to need to get used to dentists as her mouth seems a bit small for all her teeth so I'm guessing that's going to be a fun time as she grows.