Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year - 2009!!!
Happy New YearHappy New Year

So I just wanted to take a moment- as the last 10 minutes of 2008 are slipping away (and as my kid keeps waking up in the other room- lol) to reflect on what a year it was for me.
  • Ella and I joined a great playgroup at the end of 2007 and 2008 allowed us to cultivate some amazing friendships with a great group of women!
  • I grew closer with many of my friends in my neighborhood over 2008 and even met some new friends!
  • Jimmy and I added a beautiful baby with such a patient and adorable demeanor and personality to our family (which balances Miss Ella nicely so far- lol).
  • Related to the above, I saw my parents become Grandparents for the FOURTH time!
  • I started working with a life coach and gained amazing clarity on parts of my life that had brought me much anxiety/stress.
  • One of my sisters got engaged (YEAH!) and one sister moved in with her boyfriend who I think is a wonderful addition to her life!
  • My family SURVIVED and got even better at adjusting to the difficulties of having a one income household- (experts say we are doing this today with 60% less money then families who were one income households in the 70's- due to inflation and the increase in cost of goods/services far outpacing the increase in salaries.) We are not perfect yet but we have many more years to get better at adjusting and BUDGETING!!!! Yeah for us =)
  • And much much more this past year...
{side note: as I am typing this at 11:58 a neighbor somewhere behind me just started BLASTING "Celebration" I feel like I am at a cheezy family reunion right now... "WOO HOO!" And now I hear some fireworks!}

Anyhow, I am not saying I didn't hit some bumps in 2008, as I certainly had my share. And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that 2008 was a really hard year for millions of people around the US, especially for many homeowners who found themselves losing their homes and many families who suddenly found themselves unable to make ends meet and put food on the table due to the ridiculous increases in gas and grocery prices. But as I enter 2009 I am thankful for what I am fortunate to have in my life, and I am filled with so much hope... I have such hope for the new Presidency, the housing market, the economy etc. I hope 2009 is a turnaround year for many people.

Anyhow I hope all of you have a wonderful safe and healthy 2009 and that there is much happiness and peace and love in all your hearts this year!

{for those wondering, yes the neighbors behind me are STILL blasting music and I am dreadingly wondering how much longer they are going to do this, since I wont be able to sleep with it playing and my kids windows are open tonight... Oh Well! Good thing I have a good book to occupy me till they stop the partying!}

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!!

Myspace Graphics

Guess what??? I turn 31 today! Yeah!! Happy Birthday to ME! But I share this birthday with my Twin Lori so it is only right that I say Happy Birthday to her too! So, my gift to myself this year is... DA-DA-DA-DA.... I just signed up to participate in my first TRIATHLON!!! Yeah...ummmm... no! That was not a TYPO. You read it correctly!


I am super excited for this. It is April 19th, which is the weekend after my sisters wedding in Boston! I have always wanted to participate in one of these but always thought I would do a half or full marathon before attempting this. But it actually doesn't seem so bad. This year's the event will take place in Chandler on the Chandler High School Campus. The swim will take place in a 50 meter pool. The event will involve a swim of 8 laps, 8 miles biking and a 2.25 mile run that finishes Olympics style on the Chandler High School track. My family or friends will be able to cheer me on and watch the whole way!

So why this Triathlon you ask? Well basically I figure I spent the first half of my twenties lending my body to the right of passage I like to refer to as excessive drinking and partying! The second half of my Twenties I lent my body to childbearing. Now that I am 31 and done with both of these, I figure it is time I lent my body to fitness and health and make an investment in ME! Also see the logo below... The Triathlon benefits Susan G Komen for The Cure to raise money for Breast Cancer, which as everyone knows by now, is an important cause for me (and one that is prompting me to walk in my FOURTH three day walk next Nov.)

Jimmy and I got a sitter on Sat night and went to dinner at The Keg Steakhouse. We then went to a "new" Irish bar in Downtown Chandler called Murphy's Law. They have a really big and cool bar in there! Today I relaxed and spent the day with the kids and Jimmy and then we had birthday cake. Ella insisted I use an Elmo candle and she wanted to blow it out with me! =) She waited all day (very patiently) for this cake! We decorated it half for her and half for me! Here are a couple photos:

My hubby also gave me my new laptop today! Yeah!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008 and ZOOLights

We had a very low-key Christmas here at home. We didn't have any family or friends to spend it with so we hunkered down as a family and had a nice breakfast, opened presents and then watched the fake yuletide log on our big screen for a while... GHETTO! LOL Here are some pics below...
After nap-time the girls opened their stockings! After an early Ham dinner at 3pm we played with the girls till bedtime. After Jimmy and I put the girls to bed we hopped in the hot-tub for a while. It felt so nice in there and the wind died down as soon as we got in. It was awesome! We have been trying to use it more often lately and it is great. Here are some more Christmas photos below (no hot tub photos- lol):
We also went to ZooLights on Christmas Eve with our friends The Palevskys and their two boys Hudson and Sawyer. We went last year too, and intend to do this every Christmas Eve. My Twin Sister Lori is hoping to be living here next Christmas to get to see this with her family. Enjoy the Slideshow I created below. Sorry some are blurry but it is hard to capture all the Christmas Lights with the camera! We hope you all had a Merry Christmas too!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Fun and Yummy Treats!!

Ok. So here I am sitting on my computer getting ready to blog and post about the fun Christmas dinner I had with a group of my girlfriends recently. We had a Secret Santa Gift Exchange and a wonderful dinner at Buca di Beppo. There is a slide show below for fun.

As I am sitting here writing this my cell phone rings. It is my friend Yolanda (one of the girls from our Christmas dinner slide show above). She asks me to come to the front door and as I open it, has a bagful of the most delicious looking cookies and goodies I have ever seen! She must have been reading my mind because I was just thinking I could curl up in bed under my warm covers with a hot cup of peppermint mocha coffee and some type of goodie/sweet but I didn't have anything sweet in the house (till now thanks to her). And not only was she just in time with some sweet treats but her sweet kids are yelling MERRY CHRISTMAS from the car while their Mom is getting rained on to bring my family something yummy. How sweet is that? No Pun Intended! Yolanda is a great cook and a great friend who opens her home up to her friends and family during the Holidays and generously cooks huge portions of yummy food for anyone who feels like celebrating with her and her wonderful family, or who doesn't have any family here of their own. And during the craziness of the Holidays every year she finds the time to bake either cookies or loaves of bread for her friends and neighbors. Thank you Yolanda for the most delicious "dessert thingy with creamy filling and hard chocolate top layer thingy" that I have ever had. I just gobbled it down, let my dog lick my fingers and am restraining myself from not eating the other one tonight!!!

I love Christmas! Another gift exchange with a group of friends is tomorrow!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Ok so for those that dont know, I am a huge Football Fan and a HUGE Fantasy Football Fanatic! These photos below are my fantasy football icons. These are what my opponents see when they play me each week... One is Ella making her famous "chucky doll" face and one is of Ryen flipping everyone off at a couple weeks old! LOL!

I am SO SO happy and excited right now because I just came in first place in one of my fantasy football leagues AND as if that wasn't enough, I won $225 bucks for coming in first! (I had to beat my sister Lisa to win the championship so the victory is bitter sweet, as she had a great season and I know she wanted to take the trophy this year... Sorry Sis!)

Fantasy football is the most entertaining, nail-biting, frustrating and exciting game to play. It is a great and sometimes horrible way to spend your Sundays! And I LOVE IT!

This is my fifth season playing fantasy football and my outcomes are below:
2004- 7th place out of 8 (MY ROOKIE YEAR)
2005- 5th place out of 12 (nice improvement)
2006- 2nd place out of 8 (my first time making the championship playoffs!)
2007- 5th place out of 8 (injury ridden year)
2008- 1st place out of 8 (WOO-HOO!!!)

This year I was in THREE fantasy football leagues. I made the playoffs in two of them (not easy to make the playoffs as I only made the playoffs twice in five years before this year) AND I just missed the playoffs in my third league. I finished 4th out of 10 and 6th out of 10 in my other two leagues. Pretty respectable!!

Anyhow the end of the fantasy football season is a sad day. On the one hand I can sit back and relax and cheer on The Patriots in their bid to make the playoffs (and hopefully watch them make it and succeed); but on the other hand I know I have to wait till next SEPTEMBER before I can play fantasy football again. This is a PAINFULLY LONG time for football fans to wait.

So although tonight I will bask in my glory, next Sunday I will be depressed that I have no team to stress over, to analyze, no players to scream at or jump up and down in joy over. No watching 8 games at a time on one channel thanks to The NFL Sunday TICKET and the brilliant guys over at DirecTV. What is a mother of two kids to do.....???? YEAH RIGHT!!!! I am sure I will find plenty! LOL! =)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thanks to Sue!!

So my friend Sue turned me on to this GREAT website called where I can post videos of my kids and create video "montages" of short video clips that I take with my camera. This is the coolest site I have seen in a long time. Sharing videos with family is the hardest because of their size, download time, etc... So this is perfect for me! Here is a video I made of Ryen talking below followed by Ella singing laughing and dancing!

Enjoy the video.

Ella Video:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Chandler Christmas Tree Lighting

Every year Jimmy and I attend the Chandler Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in downtown Chandler. They had free photos with Santa in Santa's house! Ella did not cry or freak out at all! She LOVES Santa! Ryen had her first photo taken with Santa too, although someone needs to teach Santa how to hold a baby! LOL! CLICK ANY PHOTO TO ZOOM IN

This is a real cute event which features lots of cool stuff for kids! There were free pony rides, Radio Disney performances and local dance troupe performances, a bunch of bouncy houses, food vendors, a Christmas Light parade and it all ends with the official tumbleweed tree lighting! For those non-AZ residents the city creates a "Christmas" tree using stacked tumbleweed. See the photos below! We had a blast again!

Family Photo Shoot #1!! Yeah! (Another one to come!)

Ok so my friend Tanya (her blog is on the right) has been practicing her photography and is having a lot of fun with it! I asked her if she would like to shoot our family for practice and she was all for it! Lucky us! She gave me the proofs and allowed me to do some editing on them. Here is a slide show of the photos below! I hope you enjoy and thank you Tanya!!

FYI Tanya- I mostly just sharpened some photos, cropped a few, added some blur or glow, removed Ryen's baby acne, made some black and white or combo pics and threw in a few sepia tones.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Really Cool


If you go to this web site, you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq . These thank you cards were designed by children and are really cool!

You can't pick out who gets the cards, but it will go to a member of the armed services. How AMAZING it would be if we could get everyone we know to send one!!! It is FREE and it only takes a second. You can send as many as you want. I sent 5 yesterday!

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these? Whether you are for or against the war, our soldiers over there need to know we are behind them.
This takes just 10 seconds and it's a wonderful way to say thank you. Please take the time and please pass it on for others to do.

I also want to add the following that was sent to me by my friend Adrianna! When you are sending our your Holiday Cards this year, consider sending one to a soldier recovering at Walter Reed. Here is how- just mail it to:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue,NW
Washington,D.C. 20307-5001

We can never say enough thank you's. Please take the time to support our military!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ping Pong Match

Happy-Sad. Ashamed-Proud. Grateful-Relieved. There are so many emotions going through my head right now that it is like a ping pong match. I have officially stopped breastfeeding Ryen and I am so mixed up about it. I don't know if it just hormones or what but I can't seem to choose whether to be ok with it or dwell on it. Here are my thoughts:

A part of me is happy to be done with breastfeeding, cause let me tell you... it is hard! It is time consuming, confusing, painful at times, and requires a big commitment. You would think it is so natural that a baby would be able to latch on and feed immediately without needing to be taught or trained. Not always the case with humans. Some women are cows and produce a ton of milk and have a baby that latches on right away with little or no effort. Breastfeeding is a breeze for these women! But a lot of women, like myself DON'T. If Ryen were my only baby perhaps I could have invested the time needed to train her and train my body for breastfeeding. But that wasn't possible for me. Even when I fed her every two hours like clock work it didn't seem to increase my milk supply. In fact it seemed to get worse. I was so sad to stop that I was trying to feed her all the time, pumping around the clock, and really putting a lot of pressure on myself to breastfeed for as long as I could. I am still sad to have stopped. But the time was right.

So why do we as women feel like failures or feel ashamed if we don't breastfeed or if we are not as successful at it as some other women? Feels almost like it is a test of your Womanhood or Mothering abilities. Even though we have no control over it and can only do our best with what we have. I have so much respect for anyone who tries breastfeeding at all whether for 1 day or 1 year or longer. So I am proud that I made it 8 weeks and would have loved to have made it longer. There was closeness, convenience, bonding, and a feeling of accomplishment that I got from breastfeeding that I am mourning right now. I have to keep telling myself that I don't really have control over it. It was not my fault that Ryen was not gaining enough weight and the doctors were concerned and pressuring me to supplement with formula. It is not my fault that I wasn't producing enough milk to satisfy her at feedings. I wish I was! And I don't have the luxury with a 2 year old of breastfeeding all day long or setting an alarm and waking up every 2 hours at night to breastfeed as I would not have anything to offer Ella during the day if I was that sleep deprived.

So I am trying to stay positive and remind myself that Ryen will be just fine. There are many babies that are formula fed and are thriving, wonderful, smart, happy, independent, well adjusted and healthy children. Ella is a PRIME example of this. I am trying to be grateful that I was able to breastfeed at all since I was robbed of that experience with Ella due to her start in the NICU. And the other part of me is relieved that I will not have to worry about her weight gain, or wonder how much food she is getting or have to be a slave to my breast or my pump anymore.

So then why is giving it up almost as painful as trying so hard to be successful at it was...

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody! I wanted to quickly share some photos of today before going to bed for the night (and so I can have something to do while I make sure Ryen is really back to sleep before I shut my eyes!)

I also want to share what I am thankful for this year. So here goes. I am so thankful for my beautiful family. My husband and my two little girls and my two beagles. I am so thankful that we have a mostly ;-) happy home and we all have our health. I am thankful for my parents and siblings (and their health) and am thankful that my Grandfather (Papa) is still with us as he is getting very old and every year with him is a blessing. I am thankful for all my wonderful friends (some new some old). I am thankful for the neighborhood I was lucky enough to have moved into it where I met wonderful people to socialize and raise my children with!

I am sure I can come up with a dozen or so more but those are the basics I am sure we all share and sometimes it just feels good to put them out there! Enjoy the Photos and Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you all have as many things to be thankful for.

PS: It actually rained HAIL here tonight! Hail the size of chic peas! I couldn't believe it so I took these photos below! It was coming down so hard it felt like someone was pouring marbles on my house! Cool huh??

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My Other Love... OH and I have to mention TWILIGHT!

I have another love in my life... reading! Books were not a memorable part of my childhood that I can recall and later when we were assigned books to read in school, they were so dreadfully boring that it turned me off to reading all together. I hated Shakespeare or books like Jane Eyre or To Kill A Mockingbird. I know these are supposed to be classics but they can be intimidating books for young readers and they are not entertaining or engaging in my opinion. (Any book you have to read with a dictionary to look up words that haven't been used in 200 years, just are not for me.)

One day in high school I picked up a novel and read the description on the back. It sounded like such a cool story! That book was "The Bad Place" by Dean Koontz. It was Thriller/Sc-Fi/Horror Fiction book that kept me on the edge of my seat, gave me nightmares and had me reading under my covers when my Mom thought I was sleeping! I was hooked ever since.

In the last 14 mos I have read 40 Books. I am reading 4 simultaneously right now (my husband can NOT understand how I can do that). My friends don't understand how I find time with a newborn and a busy toddler to read over 3 books a month. But when you love reading and find it relaxing and engaging, like I do, you make time. My good friend Sara shares a passion for reading also! She introduced me to a fantastic website called SHELFARI! Where I can read and write reviews, find new books to read, set up a reading list and a virtual bookshelf too. It is awesome and I love it!

Sara also introduced to me an AMAZING series of books known as "The Twilight Series". Even if you are not a reader I am sure you have heard about these books. If you haven't just walk into any Barnes and Noble or Borders and you will be inundated with tables and signs advertising this series that has a cult like following of teeny bopper girls and women! Not in a long time have I come across a series that I couldnt wait for the next one and couldnt put it down. I begged my Mom to read the first book and she is now on the fourth. Now my sister Lisa just finished the first book and cant wait to read more! So of course being such a HUGE fan of this series I have been excited for months for the Twilight movie which racked up $70 mil in its opening weekend and caused lines at theaters around the Country. I finally got my chance last night. Honestly... it was painful to sit through. I have not seen a movie this bad in a long time. The movie honestly probably needed to be 3 hours long to do the story justice and develop the incredible characters! But the acting was horrible, the casting was horrible, the screen adaption from the book failed miserably. About 30-45 minutes in I told the girl next to me that if I hadn't read the book I would have walked out already. No surprise a few moments later two women did walk out... straight into the parking lot. I covered my eyes and shook my head through most of it. But it was like a train wreck I couldn't take my eyes off of. And the worst part of all...I love the books that much that I can't wait for the sequel!!!! Masochistic- I know, but I can't help it!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ryen ROLLED Over!

I forgot to mention something HUGE this week! Ryen rolled over! Not once but TWICE! After the first one I grabbed the camera and got it on video! Here it is below. Sorry it is so dark! She rolled over at exactly 7 weeks!!! Yeah Ryen!!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Busy Week for Us!

So we have been trying to stay busy lately. Ella started an Art Class through the city of Chandler. Class one was learning about texture. Ella wasn't really into it actually. She wanted to leave and play on the stairs outside the classroom so hopefully it gets better and more stimulating for her. Thanks to inspiration from my friend Tanya (see Tanya's blog under my friends list)I have really started to make an effort to do creative things with Ella. Recently we made jellyfish and a fishbowl. Here are some photos:

Jelly Fish:


Also this week Ella and I had our friends over for a pre-Thanksgiving Pie Tasting. We all made a pie and for lunch we sampled each others pies. It was a lot of fun and the kids got to taste some too. The White Chocolate Strawberry and the Peanut Butter Pie seemed to be the most popular but I think because they were unique and not your normal Thanksgiving pie. Yummy!!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Boycotting Thanksgiving?

Ok, so I have never been a fan of Thanksgiving! I enjoyed going to my Aunt & Uncle's house ever year as a kid & stuffing my face with my Aunt Janice's AMAZING meatballs. But about 10 years ago Thanksgiving started to lose its appeal for me. I know it is because I am a HUGE fan of Christmas & I wish people could start celebrating on Nov 1st instead of feeling forced to wait till the day after Thanksgiving. I always saw Thanksgiving as an obstacle to my being allowed to celebrate Christmas. My husband LOVES Christmas as much as I do. No surprise that Ella is OBSESSED with Christmas & Santa. She cant walk by a Christmas decoration or tree without yelling "Yeah- CHRISTMAS!!" She LOVES Santa too! See the video at the bottom of this post of her with dancing Santa!

So The Carillis are boycotting Thanksgiving this year! Well sort of! We are going to our friend Yolanda's house to have turkey dinner, (thanks for the invite!) but we decided not to be pressured to wait till after Thanksgiving to show our Christmas spirit! So we put our Christmas decorations up inside the house already- including our tree (see photo above) & we will be putting up our outside decorations this weekend!

We also have a radio station out here 99.9 KEZ that started playing Christmas Carols on 11/8 for the REST of the year! So we have had that station on at all times in the house and car and Ella is already learning Christmas Carols and singing along! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

10 in 10 Update

Well one fabulous year almost done and another about to start. Got me thinking what did I accomplish this year? Some of you will remember last year I issued a challenge to all my friends and family to join in me in what I call "10 in 10"! Here is how it worked- I asked you to come up with 10 things you want to do before you die. Then for the next 10 years try to cross one of those things off your list each year. No worries if you don't do one every year. You just have to try. I know at least Crissy and Deanna said they would join the challenge (and I am pretty sure Crissy got to cross another Marathon off her list!). Anyhow below was my list that I posted last year.

1. Have another Baby (completed Oct 2008)
2. Renew my Wedding Vows
3. Run a Half Marathon
4. Sky Dive
5. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
6. Spend a weekend in New York City
7. Go to Europe
8. Get really fit
9. Take some cooking classes
10. Take my children to Disney

Yeah! I was able to complete one! So looks like I need to add another one to my list to replace #1. See my revised list at the end of this post. Now looking at this list I see two things that I am looking to cross off this list in 2009 (renew marriage vows for 5 year anniverary, get really fit) Lets see if I can really attack this list in the next couple years so I can have lot of fun adding new things to it!

1. Renew my Wedding Vows
2. Run a Half Marathon
3. Sky Dive
4. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
5. Spend a weekend in New York City
6. Go to Europe
7. Get really fit
8. Take some cooking classes
9. Take my children to Disney
10. Go to Atlantis in the Bahamas

Date Night at Jason Mraz Concert

Ok so hubby and I had date night last night and WHAT A BLAST! We went to The Dodge Theater to see JASON MRAZ (I LOVE HIM!!!!!!!). He puts on an awesome live show. You probably know him as the singer of Remedy which was a hit off his first album (Waiting For My Rocket To Come) back in 2002 or so. I am OBSESSED with his Mr. A-Z album that he came out with in 2005/2006 and now his latest album (We Sing We Dance We Steal Things) has produced one of the biggest hits of the Summer... "I'm Yours!"

I have played this song so many times in the car that when it came on about a month ago Ella yelled out "Mommy's Favorite Song!" Yes my not even two year old knew it was my favorite song with out my telling her! *Weird side note that this song came on during my C-Section with Ryen just as she was being born! The nurse turned it up for me because Jimmy told her it was my favorite song. Moments later my surgeon asked the operating room staff "who is singing?". She thought it was one of the nurses or doctors singing behind their mask and someone answered her and said "the patient is singing!" They all started laughing and said well that's good news! I think it was a first for them! Check out the song (and video) to "I'm Yours" here

Not to mention the girl that opened for him was AWESOME! She reminded me of Bjourk but she was fresh of the boat from Ireland with an ADORABLE soft spoken voice and accent. Her nature was humble and appreciative and she got so into her music she looked like she was in a trance and I LOVE when artists get that into their music. Almost like she forgot we were in the room with her. To learn more about Lisa Hannigan or hear her music (highly recommended) click here

Monday, November 17, 2008

Turkey Crafting?

Ok so I came across this craft on a website and thought I would try it with Ella. I invited my friend Amanda and her 18 month old Paxton to join us. Well needless to say the craft was adorable as you can see in the photo below. Only problem was Amanda and I did all the work.

Paxton just wanted to chase my dogs all over the house and Ella was trying to stick googly eyes in her mouth and kept begging to get down from the table so she could chase Paxton, who was chasing the dogs. Amanda and I trucked on like troopers however and completed the craft, wondering why the heck we tried to have them do a craft that was more for a 5 year old.

But live and learn. Either way the Turkeys came out good and the kids at least had fun holding them (and trying to ruin them!)

To learn how to make them click here. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm BACK!!!

Well looking at this REVITALIZED blog of mine, I can’t believe it has been almost a year since I have posted something. I stopped blogging because I was worried I would have nothing to say... can you believe that? An East Coaster who can't find something to say? Normally I don't shut up! LOL

Anyhow I guess I felt pressured to write about something other than my kids. But now I realize why shouldn't I blog about my kids and all the joys and TEARS that come with raising these little angels! So although I do send out a ridiculous amount of photos to my friends and family on both coasts through our family website, I wanted a place where I could share my trials and tribulations, thoughts and tales of my days striving to be SUPER-WIFE and SUPER-MOM.

Hope you enjoy the posts! Subscribe to my blog to receive notification of new posts!