Tuesday, December 24, 2013


This is rare for us - we got to spend Thanksgiving with both sides of grandparents. Grandma flew out from California for it and we spent the day at Nanna and Grandad's Scottsdale house. For once, I got pictures of everyone and used them for our Christmas card.

Abigail reading her Thanksgiving message

Bryony Turns Three

I know every mother thinks this but, really, this child is so special. Happy 3rd Birthday my love!

school pic

She got to choose her own present because we had no idea what to get. She flipped over this singing Ariel money bank.

opening presents with nanna, granddad & Aunty Alex

the restaurant was way too much excitement that night

Ariel candle in her dessert and her eyes went as big as saucers

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Halloween 2013

Abigail's favourite movie is 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' and she couldn't wait to get to Halloween so that she could be Sally for a day. I have never seen her as excited as the night Jake took her to the costume store and she came home with it. In true Jake form, to give her his support, daddy dressed up as Jack. She was thrilled with this idea and all the kids in the school parade were waving at him and shouting 'hi, Jack!' She was beaming that Jack was her daddy, and she could be her idol, Sally.
Bryony got to be the third-time Madonna family Strawberry Shortcake and couldn't have been any cuter. She was most excited over the freckles.

school parade

our neighbor, Rich, as a pirate

Maggiore family friends

Friday, November 29, 2013

Girl Scouts

In August, Abigail and I went to an open house meeting about joining the Girl Scouts. I myself was a Brownie, and then a Girl Guide growing up. My mother made it all the way to a Queen's Guide - the highest level of Girl Guides you can get to in England (fit to serve the Queen!)

In the open house meeting, it came out that when you have a Kindergartner or First Grader, there are no Troops to join yet. (Second graders and up can most likely join an established Troop). But because Kindergartners and First Graders are the youngest, and new at the school, there are no Troops yet. U...n...l...e...s...s.... the parents step up and volunteer to start one! So, just like that - with a flash of my signature, and a wide-eyed-big-smile-face from my daughter, I became a Daisy Scout Troop Leader!

Luckily, the other mother that signed up to be my Troop Co-Leader is the Director of a small family-run daycare and comes with twenty years of creative ideas and supplies. AND a classroom at her daycare for us to hold meetings in. She is GREAT and I have quickly learned I couldn't do this without her (thank you Nicole, if you are reading this). Neither her or I knew what we were getting into, and we had no idea that the whole Girl Scout movement only happens because of dedicated volunteers. Other than $25 for an official uniform, there really is no money involved - Girl Scouts is supposed to be open to ALL girls, and dues for a meeting are around $3. Our activities are centered around the Girl Scout Promise and Law, which at the Daisy Level looks like this:
The girls have to collect each petal for their vest by earning them at each meeting or outing. This is the part I'm excited about, and what I remember most about Girl Guides in England. So far, the girls have earned 'Courageous and Strong' and 'Be a Sister to Every to every Girl Scout'. This month they are earning 'Considerate and Caring' by donating some of their old toys to children in need this Christmas.
I am excited to see Abigail grow in the Girl Scouts. Grow in personality, and confidence, and spirit. Last month we took the girls to 'Princess in the Park' - an event for Daisies and Brownies hosted by Juniors and Cadettes (15/16 year olds). Our Troop loved it and the older girls told them that they have been Girls Scouts since THEY were five or six. They confirmed what Nicole and I have hoped for our Troop - that they will make lifelong friends in this. Go Girl Scouts!

P.S. We are looking for two more Kindergarteners and two more First Graders for our Troop, or it may fall apart next year (long story). Please let me know if you know anyone interested!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee

 Another good one!

Saturday Night Sisters

My favourite way to do 'date night' is to bring them with us! OK, it's not that I don't love to go out with Jake, it's more that our daughters LOVE going out to dinner. Yes, because they are big eaters, but also because they love the whole experience - choosing what to wear, telling the waiter what they'd like, getting dessert, staying up late. Some of our best nights out this summer were trying new outdoor patio Scottsdale restaurants as a family.