Showing posts from 2013

2013 Rewind

Are your New Year's Resolutions set? This year I'm setting some healthy resolutions for the whole family that are pretty simple. Move often. Eat (more) veggies. Drink water (and wine, for the adults). I think it's doable and I'm excited for a healthy New Year.
To wrap up 2013, I thought I'd include some links to some of my favorite posts from the past year. Hard to believe this is where we were with the new house at this time last year. What a difference a year makes!

I wrote this post last year on Charlie's birthday. Is he really going to be 5 this year? Our annual trip to California was very memorable for the wrong reasons. We thought we'd never get home!

We endured a few sick days in the winter months, like this one when Iz played on the floor while I taught class...

Spring finally arrived, bringing Easter and Charlie's first soccer game

Iz was baptized on her second birthday, on St. Patrick's Day...

By May, our house looked nothing like the o…

A merry, sniffly Christmas

Someone in our household has been sick almost the entire month of December. We limped into Christmas with colds that knocked each of us on our backs for days, and then lingered for well over a week. It's been 10 days since my cold hit full force and I'm still draining and stuffy. Poor Charlie held out the longest and was the last to get this monster cold. He was sick two days before Christmas and we had to cancel our Christmas Eve plans with family to keep him home. He rallied for Christmas morning, but he was still only about 60% that day - you can see it in his eyes.

Nevertheless, we had a very nice Christmas Day with family - and I think the kids got all they wanted from Santa.

Lovely, I forgot to put the vacuum away for pictures...

Unlike Charlie who changed his mind daily about what he wanted from Santa, Izzy only had one request - a guitar. I found this little yellow ukelele and she was happy as could be. She plays for us and sings - it really is the sweetest thing. I s…

The Family Court

This basketball goal and court have existed in my parents' backyard since 1957. My grandfather poured the concrete court, experimenting with a slightly different concrete mix on each section and keeping a detailed record of his efforts (which is framed and hanging in my parents' basement). Three generations of Geigers, our friends, and neighborhood kids have banked, bricked, swished, and dunked baskets on this industrial-strength metal rim - until today. Today this rim came down to make room for a major home remodel - good change, but nonetheless sad to observe.

I spent countless hours practicing on this court - shooting morning and night with the benefit of a bright external light that did nothing to endear our neighbors. I've heard stories about my Aunt Susan battling my Dad and his friends on this court - they never wanted to let the girl play. Growing up we had epic games with my three cousins on 4th of July and Labor Day holidays. These 4-on-4 matches (6 cousins plus…

There's no place like home (#tbt)

For a little throw back Thursday (#tbt) today, I'm revisiting this post from last year. I am currently at the same meeting in Chicago where the events described in this post transpired. Being here brings it all back and makes me think about all the same issues. I still have the same feelings of not measuring up as a scientist or as a mother, and not giving either my work or home life the focus they deserve. There was the same chaos before this trip (a sick kid, a sick dad, frantically calling sitters to patch up care for the kids during the day, and don't get me started on Christmas being NEXT WEEK!)

I don't have any answers that make me feel better about these issues one year later. But here's hoping this trip is not as eventful.

There's no place like  I want to be home. I'm finishing up 8 days of work travel in the last 14 days, and all I want to do is be home with my babies - make pumpkin bread, carve pumpkins, catch falling leaves, and snuggle.

I spent 11 h…

Izzy the folk singer

Could music be in her future? She loves to sing and check out how she holds her guitar (ukulele) - like a pro. It was too noisy to hear her singing in this video, but she still captured her cousin's attention. This little crooner is getting her own ukulele for Christmas!

Lucky Friday the 13th!

Lucky because his birthday is on the 13th, and so is mine. Lucky because he is mine. Lucky because he is their Dad. Just plain lucky.

Happy birthday to the best friend, husband and Dad we are lucky enough to know and love. 40 looks good!

No Wall Street Mother

I don't want to be a Wall Street Mother. WSMs make a lot of money, keep crazy hours, traverse the globe, and give up a lot of time with their families. I have no desire to earn that much money or reach the top of the ladder if it means I miss out on back-to-school night, class trips and occasional play dates. Some might say I'm not ambitious. I think I just want to be happy.

The problem with this article about Wall Street Mothers is that it is just more of the same - sacrificing all to get to the top - except this time they are highlighting women at the top instead of men. The women succeeding on Wall Street are the ones that have husbands that stay home full time. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Managing an intense career would be a hell of a lot easier if you were free to focus on work and not experience the constant pull from home and family - whether you are a man or a woman. Success requires immense hard work and dedication, of course. But does it have to come…

Catch me if you can

Ryan's surprise 40th birthday party. Check.
Tree up & decorated. Check.
Star family gifts delivered to the church. Check.
December birthdays with my side of the family celebrated. Check.

If I had even a quarter of Charlie's energy, I wouldn't need a weekend to recover from our weekend.

This is such a perfect picture to depict our moments at home, no matter what we're doing. Charlie never stops moving.

My Girl

Guess who has basically potty-trained herself? This girl. I put it off as long as I could. Her teachers kept telling me she was ready. Finally, I bought some of the cutest little Hello Kitty undies one weekend, and that was all it took. She hasn't had an accident yet. Way to go Iz!

Giving thanks and being present

Is your table set for the big day? Thankfully, I am not responsible for that big job in our family yet. Maybe that is why I can look forward to this holiday without the work of hosting or shopping for gifts. I think if Ryan and I ever host we'd be tempted to try a vegetarian Thanksgiving. Given the low enthusiasm that would generate in both our families, I think we're safely off the rotation list for awhile.

I've already accomplished my pre-holiday fast thanks to an unexpected bout with the flu. I am very thankful that I am the only one in the household that came down with it. Ryan handled home and kids with great skill and let me truly rest. The kids were pretty sweet and gave me many hugs and kisses (on the top of my head/knee/ankle/shoulder, so as not to get sick). Of course, Izzy the great cuddler, couldn't really stay away. She came home from school yesterday and sat at the far end of the couch, near my feet. She kept scooting closer and closer, finally ending up…

In the kitchen @ Modern on Meadow

While living in the loft last year, one of the hardest adjustments for us was the tiny, apartment-sized kitchen. There was zero counter space, an electric stove top and a crummy oven that never cooked things evenly. For two people that love to cook, it was a major downer. During the entire remodel, dreaming about our new kitchen kept me going.

Feeling thankful

Thank you for the many, many positive comments to my previous post. Some of you replied here on the blog, on facebook and in personal messages to me. It was cathartic to write about my experience in church last Sunday. I've been emotional all week - feeling amazed and incredulous, a little sad, but mostly relieved and happy. I am filled with hope that we are moving towards a better day when all people are accepted, loved and even treasured for their uniqueness and individuality.

To add to my emotional week, Charlie and I visited his new school on Wednesday. The school hosts Preschool Fun Days throughout the year for incoming kindergartners. He will be a Corinth Dragon next year.

We visited the art room on this tour and the kids listened to a story and drew some pictures with markers. Charlie was a little shy, a little nervous, typical behavior for him in a new setting. But over all he did pretty well. I think I did pretty well, too - only welled up once.

When we arrived, the teach…

Hope for a better tomorrow

My Uncle Adam was a kind and gentle person. He had a soft voice and an easy smile. He was a talented musician and could play any instrument he picked up - to hear him play the piano was truly magical. When I was a kid and visited my grandparents in California, he lived nearby and always reserved a day to spend with me. He took me to Disney Land, taught me how to sail in Mission Bay, and gave me my first ride on a motorcycle. He was bigger than life - a man I loved and admired.

My parents told me my Uncle was gay when I was 10 years old. I was surprised at first, but it didn’t change my feelings for him or my relationship with him. He came out after he graduated college, and it wasn’t easy news for his conservative Kansas family to hear at the time. But his Dad and brothers, sister and mother all loved him for the person he was. Family mattered more than any differences in lifestyle ever could. I was fortunate to know Adam's partner, Ben. They had a pair of Labradors at a time wh…


Thanks for all the kind comments and encouragement to my post a few weeks back. It makes a huge difference to me to know I'm not alone in my struggles with career/parenting.

I think we're in a post-Halloween slump this week in the Maniger household. I had a headache all day Monday from my sugar detox, finally feeling right again. The kids have thankfully forgotten about their Halloween candy, so no need to employ the Switch Witch - a brilliant idea. I will remember that trick in the future.

I think I've figured out what is getting me down lately. Change is coming in our lives in the form of Kindergarten. It is looming large and making me a bit crazy. You might think it's a long way off to be worrying about this, but really it isn't. I'm taking Charlie to his new school in a couple weeks for a tour with other parents and kids. I need to decide on half-day or full day kindergarten (do I really have a choice?) and what arrangements we will make for before/after sc…

Happy Halloween!

My Super Heroes, Batman and WonderGirl. 

I've been holding back the kids' costumes for weeks now, trying to ensure they won't tire of them (and destroy them) before the big day. On Sunday I gave in and let them see their costumes for the first time. We had a Halloween party to go to that evening and I figured they'd waited long enough.

Batman quickly got in character. Serious and intense.

For some reason WonderGirl was really interested in sweeping the sidewalk. Perhaps it was the swap of her red boots for pink slippers, she thought she was Cinderella.

Still in character, Batman and CrazyWonderGirl.

Showing me their magic cuffs and gloves...

I have to say I feel a little like WonderMom, getting their costume pieces collected and assembled a good week in advance.I even found Batarangs for Charlie! Time to trick and treat...