Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our little ballerina is growing up--Anna's first haircut at 29 months.

In the past week we've had lots of family fun and today was no exception. I'm not sure what you'd call the look Anna had been sporting the past few months, but she was well overdue for her first haircut. I think I was just hanging on to that little bit of baby still left in her...the first haircut is like crossing the threshold into little girl...one of the last baby milestones. Pretty soon she'll be going off to college!!! ;-)

As everyone knows, 2 year olds can be a bit unpredictable, so I wasn't sure how she was going to like having her hair fooled and fussed with. Luckily, we weren't the first ones in this predicament so someone else has already come up with a solution--Kid Snips, Lollipop Cuts, etc...I think there are a million of them out there. They are these kiddy salons where kids can't help but have fun and enjoy their first trim. I'm sure back when I was growing up, kids were lucky if someone other than their mother gave them their first trim. But now, mommies, we have options! The place we took her was so super cute with toys galore and freshly trimmed little ones running everywhere. Anna got to pick out a DVD to watch on her own special TV, of course she chose Mickey & Minnie, and also got to suck on a yummy blue lollipop while Katy the children's hair designer cut away at her locks. They've obviously perfected how to make little ones happy because afterward Anna got to pick out some stickers and also had a balloon tied to her stroller! They have also perfected how to make mommies happy too...they took Anna's picture afterward and attached it to her own "My first haircut" certificate along with a little tiny baggy with one of her little curls inside. I totally get it now!!!!!!!!!!! I totally get the keeping of the hair thing. I always thought it was kinda strange that my own mother had kept hair samplings from our first haircuts. But, I completely understand now! The hair cut off her ends was her first hair...her infant hair. How could we just leave it there on the cold tile floor?

She doesn't look like a baby anymore...everyday she pushes her independence and continues to blossom into a confident and thoughtful little girl...one that is tender, sweet and spunky. This reminds me of a conversation I had with my good friend Tracy a couple years ago when her daughter Ava was only about 2 weeks old. I was on the phone with her and she told me she had just finished having a really good cry because Ava (at 2 weeks old) was already growing up too fast. Please time, slow down.

Christmas in Ohio was awesome and so much better than 2 years ago when the entire household was wiped out by the stomach flu. Anna, Josie, Ellie & Cole were so cute together and Santa spoiled them all rotten! More Christmas & pics to come...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ten Tiny Fingers & Ten Tiny Toes in '09!

No, not ours!!..as if! We found out a couple weeks ago that Sarah & Rick are expecting their first baby in June 09! We are so thrilled and excited for them. And for selfish reasons, I'm happy that they are joining us in the world of parenthood...there are no words to describe it...truly, it's a world you can only understand once you're living there. It awakens a part of you that you didn't even know existed and there's nothing more rewarding...

I heard once that babies pick their parents---what a smart and lucky little baby!! We can't wait to meet little J--he/she will be absolutely gorgeous!! Congratulations Sarah & Rick.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

As we begin to celebrate Christmas, we also celebrate 4 years since our winter wedding!

Most people go through 4 years of high school and then immediately following, 4 years of college . Because those years are some of our most formative years, for a long time I quantified time in terms of 4 year chunks…freshman, sophomore, junior, then senior. Well D.J. & I just celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary, so to me it’s kinda like we just completed our senior year and graduated! We’re really married now and instead of two, this year we are 4!

We celebrated by going to dinner and a movie…it’s hard to believe this, but I hadn’t been to a movie in the theater since before Anna was born…I know, l-o-s-e-r. But, we’re just so busy and days turn into months and then I guess those months became years. Anyway, the weather the night we went out was the worst…rainy and cold, but it wasn’t quite cold enough to snow, so it was just that slushy messy stuff that makes your hair flat and your make-up run…yea, I was really looking cute! In the midst of attempting to drive in this mess, it dawned on us that we will always be celebrating in the dead of winter…I can’t believe we actually took the weather chances on that one…we’re lucky mother nature didn’t drop 2 feet of snow on our special day. But I love that we were married during our favorite time of year and that every year our anniversary makes the season that much better. We’re also thinking that in the future, remembering our winter wedding may be a great reason to take our holiday somewhere warm & sunny…St. Bart’s and Bali are the first to come to mind!

It’s ridiculous how quickly Christmas snuck up on me this year. Last year I couldn’t wait until December 26th arrived…for some reason it felt like Christmas would never end and when it was finally over, I was overjoyed that I wouldn’t have to listen to Santa Baby again for another year. But this year is different. I feel like we put our tree up just in time to turn around and take it down. We accidentally brought home a massive Christmas tree….totally pulled a Clark Griswold! Here’s a pic to illustrate it’s ginormity:

We were pressed for time, it was snowing and both girls were sleeping in the car, so we hurriedly pointed a tree out to the nice guy with the big saw and they loaded us up! The fact that the tree guys were unable to wrap the tree up with that nice netting stuff because the tree was too big to fit through the netting machine should have been the first clue that maybe the tree was a tad large. And after getting the tree home, we quickly busted right through our little metal Christmas tree stand…the poor thing didn’t stand a chance… so D.J. had to go on a mad hunt for something industrial strength. A couple days and a million little white lights later we had our tree up…and it looks awesome!

There are also pics below of our Hartman Christmas fun this past weekend. Fred & Patricia were here to celebrate and it was so great having them. Thank you for making the weekend so special…AND for babysitting on Saturday night. Anna & Josie love their Nana & Papa! And a big thanks to Chris & Jill for hosting our holiday luncheon!
This first 2 pics were taken on Saturday right before heading off to visit our jolly old friend Santa Claus. Anna had been telling me that Santa was going to bring her presents because she's been a good girl, but when it came time to sit on his lap, she would have none of it. And probably scarring the poor child, we forced her to sit there screaming while we snapped a pic. When I lifted her off of his lap and told her to tell him what she wanted him to bring her, between sniffles and sobs she wailed "care bears"! :-)

Could there be a happier baby?? Check out this gummy grin...when Josie REALLY smiles, her eyes all but disappear!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Policital Crime Spree...

that was the headline of yesterday's Chicago Tribune. Whether you agree with my moral conservative views or not, I think we can agree that Rod Blagojevich is a crook. Here we go...I don't understand why everyone is so suprised at this Blagojevich scandal? We have known for years that he was up to no good and that Chicago politics have been like a 3-ring corruption circus. Isn't former Il governor George Ryan still serving jail time? Blagojevich's own family, his father-in-law (Alderman Dick Mell) has even been estranged from him for years because of his crooked ways....Mell should also be concerned about his own flesh and blood daughter...it doesn't sound like she was necessarily unaware and unknowing...nor is her potty mouth any better than her husband's! So here we have Chicago at the center of all of this government corruption...Rod Blagojevich and John Harris the ring leaders. They've confirmed that candidate 5, who apparently agreed to "pay" Blagojevich for the Obama's Il Senate seat, is in fact Jesse Jackson Jr. Now i heard JJ Jr the other day speaking about his involvement and according to him (and just to note he was not under oath at the time of this news conference) he never had any discussions with the governor regarding his opportunities in the Senate. But we now know that someone in his camp was negotiating...so if it wasn't Jesse Jr. himself, who was it?

We also know that candidate number 1 was Valerie Jarrett, Obama's favorite....and on wiretap we hear Blagojevich cursing Obama and saying that all they were going to give him was appreciation...and then some additional expletive statements! So it leaves us questioning Obama's involvement... WAIT...for any Obama lovers out there, don't freak out...not that he's guilty of going along with this tit for tat scandal. But, I think it would be safe to speculate that him or one of his emmisaries had to have some idea of what was going on. To not be aware of any of this at all just does not seem believeable. I'm not in politics, I'm not an attorney...i'm just a devoted talk radio listener, but even I knew that Blagojevich was a criminal, so how could that have "slipped" by the Illinois senator?...the point is, it couldn't. This guy has been under suspicion for years...that is exactly why the wire tapping was even scheduled to begin with. Now, if I were Obama, I'd be just a tad concerned with the friends I had chosen in the past...let's see for example...hmm, Jeremiah Wright...Bill Ayers...Tony Rezko...Rod Blagojevich. I heard that Tony Rezko's name was mentioned something like 150 times in the formal complaint from US attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. So the problem for Obama is that it's not just the same "group" who supported his campaign as well as Blagojevich's...it's the exact same people...the same warm bodies, the same names! Obama said yesterday that he was going to find out what had been discussed between his transition team and Blagojevich's office and disclose this information in the next few days. Something must have been discussed with someone...why else would Blagojevich have been so upset with him? I'm am very interested to hear what he has to say...maybe Obama's team was the whistle blower on all of this, the one who ratted Blago out...i mean, can anyone tell us where Rahm Emmanuel has been????

Oh and by the way, while his chief of staff John Harris resigns, Blagojevich continues to work and attempt to sign bills...there is something seriously wrong with this guy!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Tonight I looked up the actual definition of the word ‘tradition’. So it is, by definition, the passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation. Every family…or every individual, really, has their own ideas on what defines tradition and what ‘traditions’ are important to continue and pass along as they get older and their family units change. I would imagine for most people, holidays and other family events are most likely centered around tradition. And as we get older it seems we have a responsibility to observe and carry on the things we learned from our parents, who probably learned from their own parents and so on down the ancestry line.

The tradition of celebrating St. Nicholas is relatively new to me…raised protestant, we didn’t celebrate the life of saints, so therefore St. Nicholas, as far as I knew, was Santa Claus. But, St. Nick’s day is one of those special traditions for D.J., so every year on the night of December 5th, he sneaks around the house like a little elf, filling up whoever’s stocking happens to be hanging from the fireplace. Of course, now, those stockings have our sweet little girls’ names embroidered on the front…and as I sit here writing this, they are overflowing with gizmos, candy, and books with a little Care Bear peaking over the top of each one. Yes, St. Nick has been here already this evening…and apparently our girls have been very good this year.

I tried to explain St. Nick’s day to Anna this evening, but I couldn’t. Wasn’t St. Nick really just Santa Claus, who we don't celebrate until the eve of Dec 25th? What was the difference? So I got on-line and did what any modern day researcher would do…I googled it! There is a ton of web information on good old St. Nicholas…frequently referred to as St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, but also noted as not only the patron saint of children and sailors, but also thieves and nudists…it seems St. Nicholas wanted to help everyone!

But what was most interesting to me was how his legend had become tradition and how St. Nick had been celebrated separately from our bearded, rosy cheeked, jolly friend Santa Claus all these years. I found the below excerpt, which helped us determine our own tradition of St. Nick and how we would explain him to our children…as Santa’s helper.

“While feasts of Saint Nicholas are not observed nationally, cities with strong German influences like Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and St. Louis celebrate St. Nick's Day on a scale similar to the German custom.[4] On the previous night, children put one empty shoe (or sock) outside, and, on the following morning of December 6, the children awake to find that St. Nick has filled their previously empty footwear with candy and small presents (if the children have been "good") or coal (if not). For these children, the relationship between St. Nick and Santa Claus is not clearly defined, although St. Nick is usually explained to be a helper of Santa. The tradition of St. Nick's Day is firmly established in the Milwaukee, Cincinnati and St. Louis communities, with parents often continuing to observe the day with even their adult children. Widespread adoption of observing the tradition has spread throughout the german, polish and belgian communities throughout Wisconsin, and is carried out through modern times.”

What a great tradition to enjoy with our young children and a great way to recognize the spirit of giving throughout the holiday season. While we’re on the topic, another tradition that I thought would not only be fun, but would also help our children remember each year why we really celebrate Christmas is baking a birthday cake for Baby Jesus…or singing Happy Birthday to him on Christmas day. I don’t know if we’ll adopt this tradition, but what a great way to honor our beloved holiday. The pics below are of Anna waking up and realizing that St. Nick had paid her and Josephine a visit while they slept! Oh and the November slideshow is posted…just click “November 2008” to view. Happy St. Nick's Day!

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's raining girls, hallelujah!!!

The little Hartman girls were all together last weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday. I'll post a November slideshow soon, but check out the sneak preview below!!