Friday, December 28, 2012

Forgacs Family Photobook 2012 - Ugh.

At the end of every year I print our yearbook, cleverly titled Forgacs Family Photobook from my favorite website: Shutterfly.

2012, however, has been my most disorganized year.  That's the reason for the "ugh" in the title. 

Most years I have updated the book at the end of each month so I can easily recall the big and (more importantly) little moments from the month.  I like to write a little blurb to accompany each month's entry and most years leave me feeling restricted by the 100 page limit (which, coincidentally, I don't think exists anymore!)

This year, after returning to work (unhappily) in January - I just couldn't do it.  The yearbook is still of utmost importance to me, but I couldn't drag myself away from my girls to keep it updated.  And, I also couldn't stay awake after they went to sleep to update it.  Thus I found myself at the end of the year staring at a very incomplete book.

I am seriously bummed about this.  But, I'm also trying to give myself adequate credit for everything I did do over that past 12 months.

I was also thrilled to use Shutterfly's Storyboard for the first time which made it possible for me to complete our 2012 book in a timely manner!  This was a super cool addition to what Shutterfly already does really well!  Great for busy people!  Although I am motivated to produce a better 2013 book, one that I will update monthly, but I am also proud of my 2012 book once I consider everything else that was going on in our lives.

So without further ado, I present to you the best 2012 book I could do (click on link):
Forgacs Family Photobook 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012!

It is not yet 7PM on Christmas night and I am blogging.  I have time to do this because Shyla went to sleep at 6:15 and Harper is being rocked as I type.  It was a blessed, successful, tiresome, wonderful day!
After a great Christmas Eve lunch at my folks with Uncle Miguel (hereafter referred to as Monkey Pow), Sofia, and Aunt Sherry, we headed home for night-night time.  

After a nice bath and dinner Shyla got a plate of cookies and brussel sprouts ready for Santa and his reindeer.

She didn't have any trouble falling asleep but she woke up around 1AM, in tears, asking if Santa came yet.  He, in fact, had already been here but I just tucked her back into bed and she drifted back into dreamland quite easily.
We must have all been on the good list, because this is what we woke up to:

Shyla's stocking was packed full, but she was most interested in the candycane.  That was, after all, the only thing she had "ordered" from Santa.

And, as you know, she had "ordered" a plunger for Harper.

If Shyla becomes a big softball star, this picture may be famous.

The girls got cabbage patch dolls - sisters!

We sang happy birthday to Jesus and let Shyla blow out the candle.

Then we headed over to my parents!  Amongst other things we gave Mom the gift of a paver in the garden at St. Pius dedicated to her parents.  We can tell she loves it because she has a real smile!

This was probably a common scene in cars everywhere today.

We later went to Grandma Barbara's house and celebrated Christmas with the rest of the family over there.  I don't have a lot of pictures but it was a lovely time.  Great food, fun peeps, and good entertainment in watching Harper wrestle with Shyla.

When we got home we realized that we had missed two presents!  Santa must be really good at hiding things!  Shyla got a new guitar and Harper some marachas!

I know I sound a bit like a broken record but we are so very lucky.  We don't take anything we have for granted, though, and we try to do our parts to help others.  These 2 girls, Harpey and Shy-Shy, are the greatest gifts we could ever ask for.  Each and every day with them is amazing and they fill our hearts with joy.  They are so different and yet so similar.  It was so fun to watch Shyla this year, as it was the first in which she really "got" Christmas and what was going on around her. 

Now that Christmas is over, I am really looking forward to the rest of Winter Break and spending as much quality time with my girls and Stevie as I can.  Speaking of that, one of my Christmas presents, Scrabble, is awaiting.....

Merry Christmas!

A Few of our Traditions

We have quite a few traditions around Christmastime, sometimes I even wonder if we have too many.  Our evening have been packed full, but there is nothing I'd be willing to give up.  Furthermore, I know each is making memories for the girls which, of course, is why we do any of them in the first place.

A few of our traditions revolve around Christmas lights:

Every year since Shyla has been alive we have gone to Zoo Lights at the Reid Park Zoo.  It is always crowded because we go on member's night but beautiful.  We always bring a toy for the marines collection of Toys for Tots, spend about an hour, usually get a cookie and/or cocoa, then head home.  This year Stevie was out of town for work but Grandma and Grandpa went with us.

Another yearly activity we do is walking through Winterhaven to look at the lights.  It was a cold, windy night but beautiful.  The girls really enjoyed themselves for the first 45 minutes or so then tey got too cold and it got too late.  For the first 15 minutes Shyla pointed at every single house exclaiming, "Look!"  It was so fun how "into" Christmas she was this year.

And finally, each year my parents' neighbor Elf John takes the kids on a magical journey to the candycane forest.  So we got bundled up again ....

And finally made our way to the magical candycane forest where the brightly lit trees were full of candycane and slim jims, ready to be harvested.

The evening concludes with chili, egg nog, and mac n cheese.  Oh, and hot cocoa as you can see:

We are so blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family members with whom to share these traditions.  And also to be living in such a place where all these outdoor activities are possible and enjoyable even in the middle of winter.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Savoring Every Second

Tis the season!  It has been super busy around here.  In looking at our family calendar, there has been and will be at least 1 activity planned everyday for the last week and through Christmas in 2 days!  This has meant some added stress, late bedtimes, loss of routine, and an overall feeling of disorientation.  But I love it!  The fact that we have so many occasions to celebrate is due to the fact that we have so many friends and family.  We are blessed and I am behind in blogging about all this fun we are having!

However, I also really love the down-time we sometimes have together.  And that is what this post is about.  In the wake of the devastating tragedy in Connecticut, Stevie and I have found ourselves really relishing in the little moments around here.  We have found ourselves to be much more patient with the girls and found ourselves hugging them a little tighter and a littler longer.

But I literally cannot stop thinking about those families in CT and what they must be going through.  From the very second a woman finds out she is pregnant she has one job - to keep that baby safe.  Every decision we make has that fundamental base.  It is unthinkable to drop your child off at school, and have that be the last time....  

I am a worrier.  I always have been but as I became a mother that trait grew exponentially.  In my family we call it "hearing sirens."  I worry about my girls having friends at school and feeling included. I am terrified that one of them will get some terrible illness.  I worry about car accidents.  But until last week, school safety was not something I worried about.

I'm truly at a loss right now.  I'm not even certain how to wrap up this rambling post.  I guess I will end with these pictures of us doing nothing, but meaning everything, because we are together and savoring every second.

Friday, December 14, 2012


We knew we would be taking the girls to see Santa at the mall the day we returned from Vegas.  So, in preparation, we talked about it for weeks!  Shyla was so excited!  She even picked out a ridiculous beautiful dress to wear for the special occasion.

But ... as per usual once we arrived she clammed up and wouldn't go near him!

Harper was okay.  A little weary.  But also a little curious about his big white beard.  

Eventually we convinced Shyla to walk over toward him, this was the best picture we got:

Then last night we attended Harper's holiday performance at her school.  There will be a separate post about that cuteness.  But Santa showed up there too!  After waiting in line to see him, Shyla ran right up to him, jumped on his lap, and had this brief conversation:
SANTA:  How old are you?
SHYLA: This many. {holding up 3 fingers}
SANTA: Tell me two things you'd like for Christmas.
SHYLA: A candy cane (pronounced "can") and a plunger for Harpey.
SANTA:  Well, here is a candy cane. 

And then it was Sadie's turn!  She loves Santa!  It makes me so happy to know that she is growing up with my girls and she's going to have a baby sister to take care of too!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Las Vegas Half Marathon!

We just got home from this year's Las Vegas Half Marathon!

If you read frequently you saw that I had been blogging about my training.  And then you would have seen those posts just end.  That dog bite, a respiratory illness, and PRIDE duty really set me back.  I didn't stop training altogether, I just stopped tracking it.  In fact, in those weeks I did a 4.7 mile run in Vail and an 8.5 mile run in Green Valley.

Anyway, we got a great deal on plane tickets so we flew to Vegas on Saturday afternoon and left the girls with my parents.  We decided that they would have a lot more fun in Tucson with Grandma and Grandpa than they would in Vegas with us.

Upon arriving we hustled to get checked into The Flamingo where we got an awesome upgrade to a suite!  This thing was 750 square feet!  About the same size as our first house!  Then we headed to the expo to check-in for the race and then to meet friends for what would be the most expensive meal I have ever eaten!

Sunday we hung-out with Uncle Pete and went to the "gift give-a-way" where my amazing husband spend half of his points on Starbucks cards for me!  They gambled a bit and I got a lot of uninterrupted rest in the room.

Then it was time for the race!  The temperature was perfect - but there was a wind advisory and we felt it with every step!

Here are our results:

This was a PR for me - which makes me feel really proud.  It also makes me more motivated to train for whatever is next.  We are both hurting today and walking kind of funny, but we feel accomplished.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


With Shyla starting preschool this year, we thought it would be a good idea to get her in a routine of doing homework.  As a young girl, I loved homework (NERD ALERT!) and I want to instill in her a love of learning and I also hope if we can make it a routine now, we may prevent some fights in the future - PROACTIVE PARENTING!

So I bought her a preschool level workbook and told her she needed to start doing homework each night.  She got SO excited!  {and my heart grew 10 sizes that day!}  She assumed that her teachers sent the book home for her, and I didn't correct her, so she bought into it big time!

I thought we would do 1-2 pages each night.  She decided to do more like 9-10 pages each night.  Sometimes she just colors and other times she lets me go through the directions with her and she follows them.  I figure, for now, either is fine.  We are setting the routine and she is excited about homework.

This also brought back a flood of memories for me.  I very distinctly remember being little and watching Chelsea sit at her desk doing homework.  How I longed to have homework of my own!  Perhaps you feel more loved by your teacher if they are willing to send work home?  I don't know - by 6th grade kids sure don't feel like that!

So, are you wondering what Harper is doing while Shyla is doing her homework?  Well, she's just hanging around.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

School Pictures!

Since the primary reason for this blog is to share pictures, I thought it fitting to share the most recent school pictures.

When Shyla was at daycare, she cried every time they had school pictures.  Thus, I thought this baby-school picture of Harper was a success!  She looks a little unsure of the situation, but she's not crying at least.  And I happen to think that her ponytail and shoes look adorable!

Knowing this would be Shyla's first preschool picture, we talked about it for days to get her ready.  I had a different outfit picked out but, of course, she had her own decision made.  I was actually thrilled she wanted to wear her mexican dress again!  Ms. Jessica mentioned to me that Shy had done a great job smiling for the camera and boy she was right!  This picture captures Shyla's true essence!  Her smile, long bangs, and bags under her eyes!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We have so, so, so much to be thankful for.

This was a fairly typical Thanksgiving around here.  I got a 40 minute run done (about 4 miles), then Stevie went for a 43 minute run (about 6 miles).  After nap-time we headed over to my parents house where my mom had prepared dinner for about 30 adults and these 4 lovelies:

Aren't they cute sitting at the kid's table?  It breaks my heart to know that at some point they will, one-by-one, decide they are too cool for the kid's table.

Dinner was, of course, delicious and then we had playtime.

We are so lucky to have each other and are thankful for the lives we lead - on Thanksgiving and everyday.

Friday, November 23, 2012


"Sisters share childhood memories, and grown-up dreams."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fall Vacation: Day 2: Polar Express

The main reason for this mini-vacation was to take the girls on a trip to the North Pole aboard the Polar Express.  So, Saturday we left Scottsdale and drove to Williams, AZ (about 2 hours away).

We tried to get the girls to pose together by the railway sign:

We had a dinner buffet before the train and a breakfast buffet after.  It was yummy and well worth the cost.

Grandma and Grandpa had sent new jammies for all the kids to wear!  Don't they look cute all together?

We were so lucky to be together and to occupy 4 benches so the kids could move around a bit as they pleased.

Harper had a good time.  She obviously didn't understand the train part, story, or Santa.  But she just likes being with her cousins.  And she LOVED the cookies.

Shyla spent the majority of the ride to the North Pole looking for it out the window.

O.M.G.  My girls hugging across the bench!

Me and Stevie - with no kids on our laps.  Weird.

Santa came and gave each child a bell.  Harper tried, repeatedly, to eat hers.  Shyla wanted a candy cane instead.

Sunday morning, after breakfast and a Western Gun-Fight that the girls were both indifferent to, we packed up for the 4.5 hour drive home.

Overall it was a great trip.  We enjoyed the Polar Express and think we will do it again in a few years.

PS - aren't these just the cutest feet you've ever seen?