Fall/Winter 2015

January 26th, 2016

Gabby has had a really good school year this far because she has benefitted from having two different teachers. Mrs. Boxler was pregnant with twins at the beginning of the school year and wasn’t in the classroom very long before she had to take maternity leave. Mr. Shackley, who I believe graduated as valedictorian from Meadows around the time Gabby was born, took her place. He was a great match for Gabby and really played to her strengths. He also awarded her the good citizen award very early in the school year. Needless to say, I was thrilled. I took a video of Gabby when I told her she won the award while we were in our hotel room at Disneyland. She missed the surprise presentation because of the trip. I am not posting the video to YouTube because Coleman was so upset that she won the award, and he didn’t. In his mind, this means she is a “better kid.” It took him about a day in Disneyland to get over it.

She was called up to get her certificate two weeks later. Here she is with her good friend Billy Pengilly.

Brian had a Yardi conference at Disney, and we tagged along because the tickets were discounted. It was September and at least 100 degrees with humidity. This was the very first ride we did, so we were all relatively happy at this point.

I made everyone walk through Toontown, and gosh (think Goofy) was I glad we could get a picture with a character. It reminds me of our first incredibly awesome visit to Toontown in 2012 when Mickey personally walked us through his house. Gabby has changed a lot in three years.

Gigi took a break from walking whenever she could get one!

At this point we were all still glad to be there because the park wasn’t crowded at all. Of our three-day trip, our first few hours on our first day were the best.

As it started getting hotter and more crowded, Brian, Paul and Coleman went back to the room, and Gigi, Gabby and I stuck around. It was a good move to break up the group. We stopped for ice cream sundaes so we could enjoy some air conditioning. Check out the size of those sundaes!

And then we waited for my favorite part of Disney with my daughter - the parade.

Gabby was bummed that her favorite princess, Tiana, didn’t wave to her (although Cinderella did).

Ever since her first visit, she has loved waving to all of the characters and getting their attention. Even though Tiana didn’t notice her, some of the villains did - Captain Hook and Mr. Smee! Hook got her nose!

My pictures from 2012 don’t come close to how cool this experience was. Bert from Mary Poppins!

When Gabby had her face painted at a pre-football game party, she didn’t take into account that it was a teenage boy doing the face painting. She wanted to wash it all off as soon as she realized what had happened.

We had great lighting and location for our family photo this year.

Gabby watched Gone with the Wind with Gigi and loved the movie. I convinced her she should be Scarlett O’Hara for Halloween. None of her friends knew who she was, but all of the adults did.

We went to her school to watch everyone parade around in their costumes. The kids love seeing parents dressed up. Brian went as Coleman’s twin - Fat Elvis (he’s not fat, but it was funny when Coleman called him Fat Elvis.)

I encouraged Gabby to say the following lines in true Scarlett fashion (with a Southern accent):

“Oh, fiddle dee dee.”

“Ashley, Ashley!”

“As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!”

“After all, tomorrow is another day!”

While Brian and I attended a concert at Brooklyn Bowl, Gabby hung out with Mari and her dog Scooter at Wendy and Richard’s house.

Jillian came over too with her baby chef.

We spent a Saturday night pretending to be Las Vegas tourists. We ate at Spago, walked down the Strip, watched the Bellagio fountains, and even took a picture with a Dorothy ballerina street performer. Gabby also collected cards of naked ladies from the sketchy dudes who hand them out.

We also came across this Brahma shrine (a Hindu and Buddhist temple) in front of Caesar’s Palace.

Gabby and Coleman both took great school photos this year. Thanks to Dulce for always making her hair look great.

We spent part of Nevada Day hiking Calico Basin with Gabby’s school friends. There were a lot of people on the hike, so we didn’t go too far.

Kelly Maxwell and Susan Perry invited us to a 10-bedroom house in Zion this year. Gabby was in heaven because she had 15 other kids to hang out with. I spent some one-on-one time with her walking exploring the property when she came upon a muddy sheet of ice.

Besides the Maxwell-Perrys, we knew the Westermans and the Shulmans (Eli and Lucy pictured here.) Just like Gabby, I enjoyed meeting lots of new people.

On the way home we had to drive back through the park and were able to convince the kids to go on a quick hike.

That’s right kids. Please get the goofiness out so we can have a pleasant ride home.

I love parent observation week and seeing Gabby dance with her peers. It’s always a joy watching her dance.

This year’s Thanksgiving was the best meal Brian and I’ve hosted to date.

And we got the only group photo we’ve ever taken. I hope we can remember to make this a tradition.

We hiked Calico Basin on Thanksgiving weekend.

Besides trucking up a hill for about 10 minutes, the kids had a great time.

It helped that we took lots of breaks.

I let Gabby put the tree topper on the kids’ tree for the first time. Watch the video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jixaYmeXoG0. She did a great job. However, I’m not sure I’ll buy a second tree next year since they didn’t seem all that interested in helping me decorate.

We had a very busy December, which started with the Santa Run. It’s pretty cool to see thousands of people dressed up like Santa. Gabby did a great job on the run. I think she finished in about 40 minutes. She and I ran together and let Brian, Paul and Coleman go ahead of us. Gabby complained a lot, so we walked as much as she wanted.

Nevada Ballet asked me to host a mommy/child party at Stella McCartney this year at Crystal’s. Gabby had a great time eating cookies and doing art projects. I had a great time drinking prosecco and trying on clothes!

The Nutcracker was in attendance, and Jeanne Frederick let us go into a dressing room so Gabby could try on the head. It was fun, but Gabby prefers to not be anonymous!

The kids went to their second rodeo and even met a real cowboy.

I had a major allergic reaction once the rodeo got started. I’m glad the kids didn’t have the same reaction.

I attended a holiday party in Gabby’s class. Mrs. Boxler had just come back from maternity leave. She has baby twins at home and 20 energetic kids in her classroom. Yikes! Here is Gabby with her friends Bella and Ethan.

Gabby’s go-to trick is to see if she can pick you up. I don’t mind if she does this with kids, but she has to stop trying it with adults. Someone is going to get hurt!

Gabby was a ghost in her after-school drama program fall production.

I am already looking forward to her being in middle school productions.

This particular play was a bit tedious because Mr. Burris read most of the lines and then the kid would repeat it. I’m guessing a lot of kids already knew their lines and didn’t need this prompting. I know Gabby did!

The Binion Christmas Party was the best one yet. This year they built a winter wonderland on the front lawn that had snow, elves, a toy workshop . . .

and beautiful dancers.

Gabby loves the party for many reasons, but especially because her friends are there. Here she is with Gigi Gonya on the dance floor.

Wendy and Richard sponsored the Nutcracker performance we went to this year, and we sat in the box. This was the second Nutcracker Gabby and I saw this season. That’s how much she loves it. She can’t wait to be in the production in two years. I hope tryouts go well!

Gabby and Coleman were invited backstage to hand out flowers to the ballerinas.

They wasted no time getting on and off stage.

Each year Gabby gets a new Nutcracker when she goes to the performance. Gabby also gets new pajamas from her Granny Gigi, which Gabby usually isn’t thrilled about (it’s not a toy!), but then she learns to love her new sleepwear.

Brian took the kids and Morgan to ski at Eagle Point, Utah. They got off to a rough start the first day because they left Vegas early and then skied that afternoon.

I feel like a loser for not skiing with them, but I have zero desire. This is Brian’s activity with the kids, and I’ll make them swim long distance races with me when they are older. Or maybe do sprint triathlons. Now that I put that in writing, I realize that Brian has picked the sport they will enjoy more.

Brian was confident enough to let them ride a lift by themselves. I see this picture and get heart palpitations. Brian figured that Gabby knew it was not in her best interest to fall off of the lift.

At 6 and 8 years old, they are already old pros.

When it comes to skiing with the kids, Brian is Super Dad. It is hard work getting them all geared up and ready to go.

While Gabby really loves her cousin Ezra, she has admitted that she is “one percent jealous” when he is around because he gets more attention than she does. This reminds me why I didn’t have a third kid!!!!!

Santa brought Gabby what she asked for - a car for her American Girl doll. Granted, the car she wanted was $350. Santa brought a cheaper version that Gabby was still very happy about, thank goodness.

Gabby got a really cool Dance hat and red dance high tops from the Westermans. Now she can go to hip hop in style.

Ezra celebrated his first Christmas.

The Bresnahan side of the family.

Gabby and Aunt Mari.

Gabby spent some time with Martini too. He enjoys all of the attention he can get.

We spent four nights in Santa Monica after Christmas. The kids enjoyed riding bikes on the beach, although Gabby just told me she didn’t really like it when she fell over in the sand.

We let the kids enjoy the beach for a few minutes.

We had New Year’s Eve dinner at Baltaire with Wendy, Richard and Randall. Gabby sat at the table for a little while and then found the jazz band in the bar and decided she’d rather dance to their music, by herself I might add.

Randall brought decorations, party hats and fun candy for the kids.

What does Gabby want in 2016? World peace!

A rare photo of just Gabby and Grandma. Such beauty.

It was a great meal with great company. Now that the kids seem capable of sitting through a long meal, I might ask them to do it more often.

We visited Randall at his art deco apartment building, the Mauretania, and Brian took this awesome shot of Gabby. She is growing up so fast.

Then we went to Pasadena to see the floats from the Rose Parade that happened the day before.

It was crowded but totally worth it.

Brian is still good with Gabby on his shoulders, but he admits that it won’t be much longer.

Randall is a pretty great friend (and patient!) to spend an entire day with us, touring us around L.A. and Pasadena. We owe him one big time.

Summer 2015

September 27th, 2015

Gabby had a pretty great summer. After having her tonsils and adenoids removed, she was actually able to breathe again out of her nose and sleep without snoring. That was a major plus for her, but also for her brother who spent a few nights sleeping in the same bed on our summer vacations. We spent 10 days in Oregon, four days of which was with the Westerman famly, and one week in Perdido, Florida with Pop and Madi. Gabby attended three different camps (Mirabelli gymnastics camp, Kim Bavington’s downtown art camp and Johnny Lane’s tennis camp) and spent several days in L.A. with Grandma and Grandpa, which included her very first visit to the American Girl Store. Last, but not least, she got to swim in her new backyard pool. I’d say 2015 has been good to us so far!

We spent one night at Crater Lake before heading on to Bend. As soon as we set up camp, we went to the bottom of the lake to do a boat tour. This picture was taken on the hike down.

I thought a 2-hour boat tour was going to be too long, but I was wrong. We saw lots of wildlife - deer, turtles, squirrels, osprey and bald eagles - in addition to hearing lots of info on the lake.

On the one-mile hike back up to the top, Gabby insisted I take a picture of this. I’m guessing she thought it’d look like she was in jail?

The color of the water is almost too good to be true.

Our tour guide from the day before told us you could stack the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower and the Washington Monument on top of each other, and you would still be 100 feet short of the lake’s surface. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the country.

The beauty of Facebook is that it has often resulted in us meeting up with folks while we are on vacation that we would have never seen otherwise. A week before we left Vegas, I saw that Parker Moore, our college buddy from Sewanee, was in Sunriver, just a few miles south of Bend. We unpacked the car and headed straight there to meet up with Parker, Ryland and their families. Meanwhile, Gabby kicked butt on the climbing wall.

Our next stop was a high end grocery store, Newport Avenue Market. I have no doubt that Gabby is a “customer in training!”

We did a short hike in Smith Rock State Park, and I underestimated how hot it was going to be. Coleman wore jeans, so our hike was a short two miles. Overall, we didn’t hike as much on this trip as I would have liked.

Everyone was thrilled when the Westerman family arrived. I feel like an idiot for not getting a photo of all of us. Regardless, we did get a good one of Gabby with beautiful Baby Nicolina.

Gabby attended her fourth Phish show, but it will be the first one she remembers. The first three at Festival 8 happened when she was six months old. I couldn’t be away from her for four nights because I was nursing. Gabby had fun at the Bend Phish show because we let her have a little independence and go to the mister area without us. Towards the end of the first set, she got lost. She was probably 20 feet away from us but couldn’t find us. Someone saw her in distress and took her to lost and found. Coleman was playing on Brian’s cell phone during the set break and saw that Brian got a text from a stranger saying that Gabby was at the First Aid Tent, which was about 100 feet away. She decided she didn’t want to go back the second night. Her loss!

We had breakfast at Chow where the restaurant staff was completely overwhelmed. We waited an hour for a table. I guess this is what you do when you have nothing else to do.

We had breakfast at Victorian Café where Gabby accidentally spilled a whole glass of water in my lap. I’m just glad it wasn’t my Bloody Mary.

Gabby walking to the car after breakfast.

We also had breakfast and yummy hot chocolate at McKay Cottage Restaurant.

We rode bikes around Sunriver and then spent a few hours at the community pool ($25 per person). I made sure the kids knew that the pool activity was “their” pick since kids and parents each got to pick one activity per day.

We froze our butts off when we went to the top of Mt Bachelor.

It was the coldest I’d been in a long time.

Bend was a blast, and now we know we need to spend more time in Oregon.

Our pool was finished a few weeks after we returned from our trip. Coleman and Gabby ran around in the pool as it was filling up and left footprints in the plaster. We were grateful they didn’t do more damage.

While Coleman and I had the pool to ourselves, Gabby was in L.A. spending time with Richard and Wendy. The highlight was when Wendy took Gabby to the American Girl Store. Her doll Emily got a new outfit and a beautiful braid shaped in a heart. Gabby took the $20 hairdo out a few days later, and said “Grandma, are you mad at me?” Wendy said “I’m not mad. Just a little disappointed.” Then Gabby said “That’s the same as being mad!” and pouted.

We traveled to Perdido, Florida, for a vacation with Pop and Madi. This was our fourth and likely last time on the 18th floor of the Palacio condo tower. Even though we had issues with our condo (roaches in the kitchen!!!), the beach was spectacular. It was full of jellyfish the first few days, but by the last day, the water was completely clear. We actually saw dolphins about 50 feet from where we were standing in the water.

The condo has great views.

Gabby loves her Pop!

We visited the Naval Aviation Museum while we were in Florida. Gabby likes to take Emily wherever she goes.

Future profession? I hope not.

We went outside to watch the Blue Angels air show. The kids were complaining about how hot it was until one of the planes flew low right over our heads. Then they realized that the show was going to be more interesting that they had thought.

Gabby did seek out what little shade there was.

Brian chickened out once the flight simulator started, so I had to endure the torture of being in there with Gabby. At one point, I asked her to quit touching the controls in the hope that we’d quit doing 360 degree spins, but it didn’t work. Neither of us had any idea how to fly that thing. I’m lucky I didn’t puke. When it was Coleman’s turn, we found a nice airman to do it with him. Thank goodness for small favors.

We took a sunset sail on the Wildheart. The most memorable part for me was seeing thousands of jellyfish in the water.

Gabby would probably say the most memorable part for her was driving the boat and the captain allowing her to shoot him with water guns.

We always take group photos right before we leave. It was a beautiful day, and we were all tan.

Madi’s pre-planning is the primary reason why our beach trips are perfect. She brings everything we need so we don’t have to worry with packing.

We got back from the beach on a Saturday, and school started on Monday. I didn’t get to see the kids off to school because of my workout schedule, but my friend Mickey Norton, took a picture for me.

Gabby decided she wanted to play flag football on Coleman’s team this year. She is great at pulling flags and really hustles. I’m sad to say this is not like me at all. I was on an all boy soccer team when I was about her age, and I was intimidated by the aggressive nature of the boys. Gabby isn’t intimidated at all.

So far she has scored one touchdown that Coleman threw to her. She didn’t realize it was a touchdown until Coleman told her.

We celebrated Nicolina’s first birthday at her house. This is Sophia, Ava and Gabby.

Nicolina ate her first real cake the way all mothers hope their one-year olds will on their birthdays. Nicolina is wearing a dress that Aunt Jillian gave Roma.

Gabby and Coleman were both thrilled that Ava spent two nights at our house. We plan to get them together more often.

Adenoidectomy and Tonsillectomy

July 14th, 2015

You might be wondering what is new in Gabby’s life. Well, she no longer has adenoids or tonsils. So long, suckers! She hasn’t been able to breathe well through her nose for at least a year, and finally had everything removed on Thursday, July 9. It’s possible that this surgery will not only help her breathe, but will also help her say her the letter s correctly. Here she is getting out of the car at the surgery center.

She was very excited about her surgery and getting to eat nothing but ice cream. She told the doctors that The Simpson are her favorite TV show, and they told her that while she was having surgery, she’d be transported to Springfield to visit Lisa and Maggie. This is how she felt about that.

Her outlook on life post operation wasn’t quite as rosy. She kept asking me “Is this real?” It didn’t take long for the anesthesia to wear off.

We left the surgery center about two hours after we arrived. It all happened so fast. Gabby had no appetite that first day and didn’t care about eating ice cream AT ALL. That’s when we knew for sure that she felt really, really, really bad. Day two wasn’t so great either, but on day three, she woke up and was feeling a lot better.

We took Gabby to see Minions on post operation day four. She is also eager to see the new Peanuts movie.

The other major thing that’s recently happened in Gabby’s life is the birth of her first cousin, Ezra David Kester. Gabby has said on a number of occasions that he’s cuter than she is, and she means it. She loves him so much.

Gabby meets him the day after he was born.

We stopped by Jillian’s new house to visit a few weeks later.

Gabby wants “to be his big sister because he’s so cute, and I really like babies.”

Here he at one month old.

Less than one month before Ezra was born, we hosted Jillian’s baby shower at our house. Gabby loves her Aunt Jillian.

Ginny Trudeau took a rare photo of Grandma Wendy with all of her friends: Madeleine Andress, Beth Barbre, Nancy Houssels, Sharon Jenkins, Mariam Afshai and Susan Graves. Gabby and I were lucky to be included in a photo.

Gabby has now lost a total of six teeth. I had the good fortune to pull out two of them, one of which was a top front tooth. She pulled out the second top tooth the next day. I don’t think it was completely ready to come out, but Gabby yanked it out anyway. Now she has a big hole, which is both cute and funny.

Gabby occasionally talks about wanting to be famous, so I signed her up to be part of the city of Las Vegas’s Parks and Recreation campaign. This picture is in some of our community centers and also on a billboard for the month of July on I-15 and Charleston.

We spent Memorial Day weekend in Seattle, and it was a great family trip. We arrived in the evening, checked out Pike Place Market while it was closed and had dinner at Etta’s.

Of course, we had to take the kids to the gum wall. They thought it was as gross as we did.

Our first full day began near the Space Needle.

We all enjoyed the Pacific Science Center.

The butterfly room was particularly cool.

Gabby in front of one of the Northwest Folklife Festival stages.

The playground by the EMP Museum was incredible. The kids did some serious climbing.

We stayed at the Hyatt and enjoyed refreshments in the Club Room.

We did a float plane tour of Seattle.

Gabby wasn’t quite as interested in the flight as the rest of us.

We waited on Uber to take us to the Fremont Brewing Company. It was so nice to not have to worry about driving.

Waiting on Uber again to take us to dinner.

Our best meal of the trip was at Shiro’s Sushi. It was the second time Brian and I had eaten there. I think we ate sushi for a solid two hours.

We spent some time walking around the downtown area on our final morning in Seattle. It was a great trip; three nights was the perfect amount of time.

Swim America lessons happened on Monday afternoons during the school year, and Gabby made a lot of progress. I think she looks like a swim teamer here.

Gabby participated in her first theater after school program at The Meadows and landed the role of Crazy Hair. As always, she loved being on stage.

Gabby struck a pose before attending her first dress rehearsal. She was a crocodile in Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Peter Pan spring program this year.

Gabby’s fierce pose was captured during her in-studio rehearsal.

And another pose before her final rehearsal at UNLV.

Her friend Ilana was a secretary.

Gabby’s friend Madi was also a crocodile.

It’s always a joy watching Gabby perform. The downside is that she’s only on stage for 3 minutes, and the program is usually 1.5 hours long.

We took a break at the Las Vegas Country Club between the Peter Pan program and the Oscar Night program where she did her hip hop number.

I scored a pic of Gabby during her performance from a rule breaker friend. I wasn’t brave enough to pull out my camera.

I took a final photo of Gabby in the huge flashlight in front of the theater. It was my first time attending the night performance, and I thought it was spectacular.

Gabby on Reading Day.

She loved having her parents in the classroom.

Annie came to The Smith Center, and Gabby and Coleman attended with me on a school night. Gabby made it all of the way to the end. Coleman left at intermission. Now I know who my true Annie fan is!

Brian and I attended Gabby’s end of the year party.

It seemed like all of the helper roles were already assigned to other parents, so Brian and I just hung out, which was nice because we helped facilitate water balloon games at Coleman’s party. I am just now realizing that I didn’t take any pictures of Coleman with his friends.

Gabby and her buddy Remi. Arrrrgh, matey!

Later that night, Raven came over to celebrate her birthday with cheese, chocolate cake and a board game!

Piper came over for a play date, and Gabby was so sweet to let Coleman play with them too.

Gabby loves her Daddy.

My boss was cleaning out his garage and found some stuff he thought Gabby would like. She finally has the perfect prop for her princess act!

Uncle Paul came to visit, and we all got manicures and pedicures (except for Coleman). Gabby had her fingernails painted a patriotic red, white and blue and her toenails painted a girly pink and purple with white polka dots. By day three, she had scraped most of the paint off of her nails. Probably not the best way to spend $30!

We celebrated the Fourth of July at the Las Vegas Country Club. Gabby had a great time with Roma.

Jenica and Josh invited us over to swim the next day, and I got a good picture of Uncle Paul with the kids. Gabby couldn’t help herself and had to give Paul bunny ears.

The next time, she was just wanting world peace.

Later that day Brian shot off fireworks by our half finished pool, and the kids loved it.

6 Years Old

May 17th, 2015

We celebrated Gabby’s birthday for almost two weeks because her actual birthday feel right in the middle of Spring Break. She wanted to have a party, but we couldn’t do it the weekend before or after since most of her friends go on vacation. We had her birthday party on Friday, March 20, which happened to be a no school day. We spent most of the time outside doing arts and crafts, painting faces, playing on the jungle gym, doing the limbo and hitting a piñata. Gabby had a great time, and I loved hanging out with all of her friends.

Dulce made her the best red velvet cake we’ve ever had.

Gabby wore her favorite butterfly “sassy” dress and had a butterfly painted on her face.

Madison, Aliana, Gigi, Lady and Milly were a few of the girls that attended.

Roma had a good time with the big girls. She lets us know that she’s a big girl now, and she’s right!

No one followed the limbo rules, which is Gabby’s style. Not following the rules makes life a LOT better.

In the end, Gabby didn’t seem to mind blowing candles out 11 days before her birthday. And I was thrilled to do this on a Friday afternoon and still have my weekend to “relax.”

Gigi and Mari spoiled Gabby rotten at the Build a Bear in Downtown Summerlin. After 30 minutes, Gabby had everything she wanted, and Mari and Gigi still hadn’t hit the dollar amount each of them wanted to spend. Can we say “spoiled rotten?!” Even I got suckered in and bought her a plastic armoire for her Build a Bear stuff, which I later realized was a total piece of junk.

We had lunch at Wolfgang Puck in Downtown Summerlin.

Gabby didn’t make a fuss when Gigi wanted to shop after lunch, which I felt was an appropriate attitude considering all of the stuff Gigi bought her!

The presents kept coming on her actual birthday. Dulce gave her a Doc McStuffins kit.

Madi gave her American Girl doll clothes.

Her big present from Brian and me was a new 6-speed bike. She was the only one in the family who didn’t have gears to shift. The bike is still a bit big, but seeing that she’s growing like a weed, it’ll be the right size in no time.

I think Gabby knows that she needs to get her hugs in with Jillian before the baby boy arrives.

Gabby enjoys having Happy Birthday sung to her. Watch the video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvX-jffQjYA

Uncle Morgan gave Gabby the best gift ever - the gift of ice cream. Watch the video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6W1jZ0XaHA

There’s nothing better than having lots of aunts and uncles.

Having lots of grandparents around is pretty great too.

As the night went on, Gabby got sillier and less cooperative when taking photos.

Grandma gave Gabby a vanity for her room, and she’s been preening in front of the mirror ever since!

Birthdays are special for Moms too. Six years have flown by, and I’m glad I have at least one good birthing experience under my belt.

Gabby got lots of Lego sets for her birthday and really enjoyed Legos for the first time. Watch the video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wI3FQ3HLjs You can tell she’s watched her fair share of instructional You Tube videos.

She also likes to explain how butterflies are born, which is something she was learning in school. Watch the video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By4i2Lv_xso

Gabby is in two dance classes this year at Nevada Ballet Theatre - one ballet class and one hip hop class. Here are some shots from observation week. I love it when they have them do ab exercises because the kids have no idea that this is hard work. They still think it’s fun.

This class will be crocodiles in the Peter Pan ballet as part of the Spring program.

Gabby’s hip hop class is more relaxed than ballet. She can wear whatever she wants to class.

We celebrated Lady Pengilly’s birthday at Red Rock Bowling Lanes. The kids weren’t happy when we refused their request to go to the arcade after 2+ hours of bowling. It’s okay to just say “no.” I had absolutely no regret about THAT decision.

The Meadows kindergarten class always celebrates the Chinese New Year at Caesar’s Palace. Gabby’s teacher Ms. Verbon is on the far right. She also taught Morgan, Jillian and Coleman. We can’t say enough good things about Ms. Verbon.

The mother who took these pictures, Cynthia Asher, commented that Gabby is photogenic, and I have to agree!

We had dinner at the Venetian with friends we met over a decade ago in Austin. It’s the Year of the Ram.

The next day we flew to Breckenridge for President’s Day Weekend and spent it with the Vickery family. Gabby had a great time with Raymond and baby Harry.

I went to the Circus Circus Adventure Dome for the first time with the Norton clan. It was pretty darn fun.

Pop and Madi paid us a visit over Spring Break. This is our first morning together.

We made our annual trek to the Bellagio Conservatory. Our color coordination wasn’t done on purpose, but man do we look good!

Our helicopter flight over the Strip lasted about 15 minutes. We all wore headsets, and I wish I’d thought to move Gabby’s mouthpiece because she talked into it the ENTIRE time. I tried to not get annoyed, but it was HARD.

The next day we hiked the Oak Creek Trail right outside the Red Rock Conservation Area. Madi took this picture of me and Gabby.

Madi and Gabby just a few days after Madi met her new granddaughter, Neely.

Gabby had a good time playing with Coleman by the creek.

Hiking is always a good outing for the Bresnahan family.

Wendy and Richard took us to Cleo for a nice family style Mediterranean meal. The kids were fairly well behaved (shocking!). The trick is to make sure they don’t sit next to each other.

The Easter bunny makes a stop on Palomino Lane!

Gigi and Gabby ready to go to the Binion Easter Party.

Baskets always overflow at the Binion’s house. We actually had to dump the goods in the minivan because there were more eggs to pick up!

Gabby came home from the party and decided to dress up as Belle. Madi took some artsy pictures on our front patio.

And at the front door.

Thank you Pop and Madi for coming to visit us! It was great spending time with you, and we look forward to your next trip!

This is not Gabby’s best school photo for many reasons: poor lighting, a partial smile, and a lame hand on hip pose (isn’t this just for women who are worried about fatty arms?). Don’t get me wrong. She’s still beautiful.

The Lower School had Twins Day, and Melinda Kennedy was kind enough to find a rainbow cat dress that all of the girls liked wearing. Too bad this shot got photo bombed.

The kindergarten class took their teddy bears to a clinic at Summerlin Hospital where the bears got band-aids and some soup to make them feel better. The bears spent the night in the kindergarten classroom before going to the hospital. Gabby’s bear didn’t participate in the sleepover because she left him by the garage door. She tried to blame this on me and then got lectured on “responsibility.” It’s tough being the Mom and keeping up with all of their oblligations and activities, but considering how much I love my little munchkins, it’s worth the little aggravations.

December 2014 & January 2015

February 8th, 2015

Besides making friends, I believe that Gabby’s forte is performing. We enrolled her in an after school drama class this semester, and eventually we will steer her towards theater. She was very struck by Katy Perry’s performance at the Super Bowl, and puts on quite the show to Katy Perry’s song Roar. I’ve rarely seen such enthusiasm. Hopefully I’ll have a good video to share the next time I write a post for this blog.

Ginny Trudeau took our family photo this year for the fourth time. She is the best photographer ever, and we are so fortunate to get to work with her. Taking our family photo is no easy task. Maybe if I could relax more . . .

Coleman is the best brother ever for letting Ginny take this picture of him.

I need to remember this photo the next time they are at each other’s throats. It’s not always apparent, but they really do love each other!

This is a little more representative of their relationship.

The kindergarteners do a presentation on the country that best represents their heritage. Brian thought she should do an Eastern European country that was more representative of his heritage. When I asked him if he’d be working with the other mothers on the presentation, he decided Ireland was a fine pick.

For Christmas this year, Aunt Mari bought Coleman and Gabby an artificial tree for the office. They had a great time decorating it. Spending time at the office has had a positive influence on the kids. They just recently printed labels for Gabby’s accordion file so they could organize their artwork. These are the labels they came up with: nature, sports, food, seasons, random.

Watch the video of Gabby dancing at the Las Vegas Country Club Santa Event.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus flew in by helicopter. Only in Vegas.

We participated in the Doolittle Community Center Breakfast with Santa event this year. We bought gifts for this little girl who is Gabby’s age, but not quite Gabby’s size!

Gabby took a picture with Doolittle’s Santa. I hear his pants didn’t match his top because he gained some weight over the year.

Gabby was very well behaved at Nevada Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker at The Smith Center. She will likely tryout to be in the production once she comes of age (8).

We had Christmas Eve dinner at Spago this year. Gabby wore a new dress that Grandma Wendy bought for her.

Gabby wanted to sit next to Aunt Jillian, who then had to entertain Gabby throughout the meal. I can’t wait to reciprocate for Jillian.

We went back to our house for dessert, a King Cake that Gigi provided. Grandpa Richard got the baby and was nice enough to give it to Gabby. Looks like he’s buying next year’s cake!

Gabby looks so grown up.

We opened presents on Christmas Eve. I gave Gabby an American Girl doll for Christmas. She named her Rose. Gabby was very excited about having a doll that looked like her.

Gabby’s loot from Santa is in the middle and on the right.

Santa’s big gift for Gabby was a Kindle.

My beautiful babies.

Opening presents is hard work!

Snuggling on Christmas morning.

Gabby played with the Elsa and Anna, her gift from Uncle Paul.

I think Gabby knows she better get her hugs from Jillian now before her cousin is born.

We drove to San Diego the day after Christmas. Gabby set up all of her toys once we got to the hotel room. I hear that Jillian used to do the same thing with her American Girl doll.

The kids begged to go to the hotel gym each day. We would wait until after dinner so we weren’t disturbing people who were actually working out. With how much Brian and I talk about working out, I’m pretty sure both Gabby and Coleman will be gym rats before they graduate from high school.

The next day we headed to the San Diego Zoo. We arrived before it opened because we knew it’d be crowded during the holiday break.

As soon as the gates opened, we hustled to the panda exhibit.

Next up was the polar bear. We were lucky that one was out and swimming.

I wish bunny ears had never been invented.

By the time we got to the monkeys, we felt like we’d come home!

The foot massage machine at the zoo was incredible. I will never walk by one again without paying a quarter for a quick foot vibration. Watch the video of Gabby and Brian enjoying a massage.

Queen of Sheeba

The next day we rode our bikes around Mission Beach. I think the kids did 10 miles. There was no complaining since it was flat.

We had to wait for a table at a bar on Mission Beach, so ice cream seemed like a good way to pass the time.

When we finally got our table, we didn’t feel like eating because we had just eaten so much ice cream. We could manage to get a few beers in though.

Brian recently told the kids about a boy who had taunted him when he went to summer camp at Cottontail Ranch. In a singsong voice, the boy would say “Cha-Chino, Cha-Chino,” indicating that Brian looked Chinese. Gabby drew a picture for Brian to illustrate.

We surprised the kids with a trip to Legoland. We decided it would be a last minute decision. If they were well behaved in San Diego, we’d take them, and that’s exactly what we did! Watch the video. I was hoping for more excitement, but things are often better when you let your imagination run wild.

While we were at Legoland, my brother was freaking out that the Phish tickets I mailed him never arrived. I’m pretty sure my local UPS guys stole them. Anyway, Paul and I were texting back and forth when this picture was taken, and Legoland wasn’t so enjoyable at that moment.

Sometimes I wish I had this at my disposal when Gabby is acting bad. “In the slammer mammer!” (said by Richard Pryor in The Toy, a movie I can’t wait to watch with the kids when they are a wee bit older).

My favorite part of Legoland is seeing the city landscapes. The Las Vegas Strip is particularly impressive.

Do I hear heavy breathing?

It’s too bad Lego had to develop a line just for girls. Girls only like baking, ice cream, tree houses, horses and dogs? What?

We were able to upgrade our room at the Newport Hyatt and ended up getting a bungalow with our very own heated pool. Watch the video of the kids swimming laps. JFK and Marilyn Monroe stayed in one of the eight bungalows. I’m not sure if they were separate or together, but it was pretty cool to think we might have stayed in the same room as one of them. We ended up spending a lot of time in the room because we wanted to enjoy it. I will always remember that this was where we first played cards (Uno!) together as a family.

Coleman and Gabby played one game of chess on the hotel outdoor chessboard.

The kids played on the beach at Crystal Cove State Park. Right after Brian warned Gabby to not get wet, she slipped off of a rock and fell in the water. It was pretty miserable for her to hike back to the car in wet jeans, but she didn’t complain too much. Luckily for all of us, we had some dry dirty clothes in the car, which was an improvement over wet sandy clothes.

Brian enjoyed his time on the beach too.

We celebrated Jillian’s birthday at our house. Gabby and Grandma Wendy spent some time together.

We were thrilled when Gabby got the good citizenship award. She was the 11th person in her class of 20 to get it. She spotted Brian right before the assembly got started, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. I think she was prouder of herself than we were. She truly couldn’t believe that she had finally earned it.

Gigi and Milan also won.

Gabby had a blast celebrating Milly and Billy Pengilly’s birthday with them. She got a new bear at Build a Bear, and we all had dinner together at Wolfgang Puck in Downtown Summerlin.

Gabby was a lion in her program this year. I considered having a costume made for her, but took the easy way out and bought one online. I’m told she had the lion head on correctly for the performance Coleman saw. Brian and I saw the second one, and during that time Gabby had removed her head and then put it on upside down. To say that Brian and I were bummed she didn’t have it on right is an understatement.

Gabby was still adorable, but also uncomfortable. The fur was supposed to go all around her face. Here it looks like she has a beard.

Her line was “Look! A lion! Mighty beast. Might he bite me for a feast?”

By the end of the program she was fed up with the head and couldn’t get it back on the right way. I wished she had taken it off sooner.

Coleman and Gabby are taking Swim America swim lessons at Pavilion Pool. My heart melted when I saw them in their swimsuits for the first time. They look like athletes! Before you know it, we will all be swimming laps together. And then we will do triathlons together, which might actually make a triathlon fun for me.

Little Student

November 30th, 2014

Gabby has really progressed over the past few months, especially her reading. Ms. Verbon is her kindergarten teacher and is teaching the second generation of Plasters since she taught Morgan and Jillian, and then Coleman two years ago. Gabby did well on her first report card and received E’s for excellent progress in English, math, reading, science/computer and Spanish. She got E- and S+ (satisfactory) in different behavior categories, so there’s a bit of improvement there. I think her biggest issue is talking too much, and as Gabby likes to remind me, “Gabby means talkative.” Basically, if I didn’t want her to talk so much, I shouldn’t have named her Gabby. Silly me!

Gabby’s favorite part of school is making friends, and it sounds like she has her own little crew on the playground. Every day we hear about who has a crush on whom. It freaks me out, but I am not sure what to do at this point. Speaking of friends, watch this video of Gabby explaining how one can be a good friend.

One of the best experiences I’ve had with  Gabby this year was when she and I went to Austin a day earlier than Brian and Coleman. We were in town for Stephanie and Amanda’s wedding in Georgetown and to visit with all of our old friends. Gabby could not have been better behaved on the flight to Austin and when we waited 45 minutes for our rental car. She played well with Jack McGlashan while we stayed at his house and adapted very well to her new surroundings. I think getting alone time with each kid is really important, and I plan to do more of it.

On the tram at McCarran.

Our first stop was a great little lunch at Second Bar & Kitchen. When we were leaving around 2:00 p.m., a group of sorority girls was telling the hostess they were there to have “cocktails.” My first thought was that my group of friends at Sewanee never uttered that phrase when we were in college.

Even though I lived in Austin for 5 years, this was my first time visiting the zoo, which I highly recommend for anyone with kids. It was very laid back and a great environment for the animals.

There were lots of different animals at the petting zoo.

I loved that Gabby and Jack could spend time together. The dynamics would have been very different if Coleman had been with us.

Later that day we met up with Dorie, Henry and George Pickle for some swimming and takeout. I was impressed with Gabby’s ability to hang out with two boys she did not know. They all played really well together in the pool and on the sport court. And I was happy to catch up with my best grad school buddy.

Gabby Plaster and Henry Pickle - I like that name combo. Note that Gabby is still wearing her sassy dress. Lord only knows what she’ll do when she grows out of it. She loves it more than any of her baby blankets.

When Coleman arrived that night around 11:00, the trip immediately became more difficult. All four of us were in a tiny hotel room, and the kids wouldn’t go to sleep until Brian and I would. So annoying!

We had BBQ in East Austin the next day with Hampton. Food truck style.

Gabby is ready for her first wedding! I love that Gabby’s first wedding was a lesbian wedding.

When it was time for speeches at the wedding, it didn’t take Gabby long to understood the format. She begged me to let her give a speech, and even thought I’m a Toastmaster, I said “Go ask your Daddy.” Brian was initially reluctant because he was scared that she wouldn’t actually go through with it. After a bit of convincing on Gabby’s party, Brian took her up there after the last speech was given and said “My daughter has been begging to make a speech. Here she is.” In her sweet little voice, Gabby said “I’ve known Stephanie and Amanda since dinner.” (She meant since we all had dinner in Vegas several weeks prior.) “I think they are both pretty great.” Her speech was a hit, and I was so proud that she could speak in front of 100+ people, most of whom she did not know.

The second best part of the wedding reception was the photo booth. It kept the kids HIGHLY entertained. I am pretty sure they spent more time in the booth than anyone else. This is only a handful of the pictures Gabby took.

We had one shot with Stephanie, my old friend from the American Cancer Society.

I’m hoping I’ll have photos to share at some point, but the third best part of the wedding was Gabby getting her stank face on while dancing. The kid was OUT OF CONTROL dancing as hard as she could and even rolling around on the floor a bit. Even I couldn’t keep up with her.

The next day, Mel and Jason had us over for brunch, and we got to spend time with all of our Austin buddies.

Then we headed to Pluckers to see our good friend Kimmi before heading to the airport.

What is fun? Watch this video of Gabby explaining when the fun ends.

Gabby had a blast at Grace Bell’s birthday party. I love Frozen as much as the next guy, but I was really glad Gabby didn’t chose Anna or Elsa for her Halloween costume.

We went to Sunrise Hospital to meet the newest member of the Westerman family - Nicolina.

Gabby poses with the football she painted for Kindergarten Night at The Meadows Football Game.

We took family photos, and our photographer and good friend Ginny Trudeau brought out the props. I’m glad Coleman was okay with making his little sister feel like a princess.

Brian attended Gabby’s Halloween party at The Meadows. I couldn’t get away from work.

Gabby and Madison Schubert

The funny thing about this picture is that Brian has the same yellow Wolverine costume.

Gabby’s costume is a classic and fits this scenery perfectly.

It was observation week at Nevada Ballet Theatre Academy two weeks ago. Gabby loves her ballet class with Ms. Diana.

Brian and I were Gabby’s “show and tell” on November 20. I told all of the kindergartners what it is like working at the city of Las Vegas and being in Parks & Recreation. Brian explained the nuances of mountain biking. We were allowed to hang out afterwards and watch the children rehearse their Grandparents Day routine.

We celebrated Thanksgiving at Wendy and Richard’s this year, and we all had a great time. The kids always love being the center of attention, and we were okay with each of them getting time to perform. Gabby sang “Turkey in the Straw” and did a poem about grandparents.

The next day, we went to the Sugar Factory for dinner to use a $250 gift certificate that Jillian won before it expired. $50 of that went to pay for the King Kong super sundae. I’m pretty sure the kids want to go back.

Kindergarten Football Night

September 30th, 2014

Gabby got to play “cheerleader” at the September 19 Meadows football game where they let the entire class of kindergartners do a dance to YMCA and then two cheers. Gabby was adorable. The Meadows did a great job of documenting the night. Here are 11 of the 600 photos that were taken.

Kindergartener

September 6th, 2014

Gabby is now in kindergarten and is loving every minute of it. She especially loves her teacher, Ms. Verbon, who also taught Uncle Morgan, Aunt Jillian, and Coleman. Being in Ms. Verbon’s class is pretty much a family tradition. Now, if she only takes her brother’s advice and gets the good citizenship award early in the year, we can have our own Bresnahan/Plaster family tradition.

Coleman and Gabby on the way to their first day of school.

We visited with Pop and Madi again at Perdido this year. This was our third trip staying in an 18th floor condo. We all love this vacation. The water was particularly beautiful this year.

Gabby always loves getting a sand exfoliation treatment.

Madi made the kids a special palm tree breakfast.

We took a day cruise and had the whole sailboat to ourselves. We didn’t see any dolphins on this trip, but we weren’t too upset about it. Gabby looked so cute in her pigtails!

Gabby and Coleman got acclimated to the boat before we shoved off.

Madi took this photo, and I think it’s one of the best of Gabby from this trip.

I’m not sure she even knows what this gesture means. I want peace too, Gabby. Peace and quiet.

Gabby really hoped to catch some fish with that net, even after we told her there was little chance of that happening.

Believe me, this photo will resurface when they are much older - probably at a high school graduation or some other milestone event. At this moment, this picture is motivating me to print some pictures, which I haven’t done in several years.

Digging holes and building castles are all in a day’s work at the beach!

You might notice that Gabby wears this dress a LOT. I bought it for her at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. It was raining. I wanted to stay dry, so I sought out cover under a ten and figured I should buy something. Gabby calls this her “sassy” dress. This is her sassy look in her sassy dress.

Madi took this photo, and it is emblematic of Gabby’s personality. She has a LOT of energy! I just hope I can keep her focused on dance and steer her away from cheerleading. Furthermore, I hereby publicly (to the 6 people that read this blog) apologize to my Mom for not listening to her and insisting that cheerleading was a good way for me to to spend my time.

We frolicked in the water on our second Wild Hearts cruise. Gabby loved jumping off of the boat.

She spent about a minute with me in the kayak.

Another beautiful day in Perdido. We were lucky to get zero rain.

We had the good sense to take a family photo towards the end of our second Wild Hearts cruise. Thank you Pop and Madi for such a great trip!

Gabby’s dance and karate skills combined produce an interesting type of sparring with her brother. Watch the video.

After we returned from our beach trip, Coleman went to L.A. with Wendy and Richard. I felt bad for Gabby being left behind, only because she really misses her brother when he’s gone. As a result, I took her to get a pedicure. (Note her sassy dress.)

Gabby enjoyed a sushi lunch at The Sushi by her school. (Sassy dress.)

Pop bought Gabby some aquamarine birthstone earrings. I had them custom made with screw-on studs so that she won’t lose them. So far, so good.

We celebrated Gigi Gonya’s 5th birthday at a karaoke party at the Binion’s. Gabby was very reserved while Gigi sang. I wished she would have gone wild the way she does when we have dance parties at the house because that would have been VERY entertaining for everyone.

Our final activity before school started was a play date with the Pengilly family. Mimi is in Gabby’s class, and Jimmy is Coleman’s age. Our families will be growing up together at both The Meadows and the Las Vegas Country Club.

Thank you for reading my blog. I’ll post again in 4 to 6 weeks.

2014 Road Trip

July 18th, 2014

We took a two-week road trip this year (as opposed to our 3 week trip last year) and spent a week of it in Telluride at a lovely home we won in a silent auction. It didn’t take Coleman and Gabby long to realize what an awesome town Telluride is, especially since they had freedoms there that they would never have had in Las Vegas. We let them ride their bikes up to three blocks away and visit a bakery to buy donuts and pastries, all without adult supervision. I think on the second day they said that they wanted to move there.

At the end of our first day of driving approximately 600 miles, we set up camp in Mesa Verde National Park. As we ascended the road towards our campground, Gabby said “I think I’m going to cry.” I asked her why, and she said “Because it’s so beautiful and green” - not a typical response from a five-year old.

Gabby and Gigi about 10 minutes after we arrived at our campsite.

We toured the Cliff Palace ancient Pueblo dwelling.

Gabby and I listened to our tour guide.

Gabby was very well behaved during the one-hour tour.

Gabby and Coleman earned their Mesa Verde junior ranger badges. Watch the video.

We brought bikes on the trip, and Gabby’s bike is the only one that didn’t have gears. She got very frustrated riding up the hills around our campsite. Even though she got the bike for Christmas, I think it might already be time for an upgrade.

We drove to Telluride on a Tuesday, and Richard and Hampton arrived a few hours later. We all rode the gondola the next day.

Gabby is a sweet sweet girl (most of the time!).

Gabby and Coleman spent the first two days at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival sorting trash with claws that they treated like toys. There were three dumpsters, one each for trash, recycling and compost. They especially liked Alex, one of the staff volunteers. I had always envisioned spending time with the kids at the festival, listening to music and dancing. I never would have thought they’d be so interested in trash. I hope this isn’t indicative of their future careers! At the end of this day, Gabby was playing in the dirt and looked like Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown.

Gabby did enjoy some music at the festival.

And she enjoyed hula hooping. Watch the video.

We filled up every bed in the house, and all of the kids slept on the floor. The owners have said we could rent it again, so we are very hopeful we will return to Telluride.

Our second meal at Brown Dog Pizza. I bought Gabby some hippie clothes at the festival.

When we got to Durango, Gabby did her only hike of the trip. It was 8 miles, and she did great keeping up with me.

Gigi and Gabby at our Lightner Creek Campground campsite. The kids made friends the moment we arrived and spent a lot of time playing in the creek and building a little house.

Gabby and Coleman get ready for their bungee trampoline experience in Durango. Watch the video.

Gabby loves extreme sports.

Brian and Gabby rode down the alpine slide together.

Gabby went on her first whitewater rafting trip. She had a great time until the guide in front of us intentionally splashed us. The guide thought it’d be funny, but Gabby was sure to let her know after the trip that it was NOT funny at all.

Gabby and Coleman eating smores. This was our first time to have a propane campfire, and it was actually pretty great to not have to deal with logs.

Gabby and Coleman get situated before the long drive home back to Las Vegas. We only put 1400 miles on the car this year as compared to 4400 last year.

We had to do the touristy thing and take a picture at Four Corners. I doubt anyone was in and out as fast as we were. Brian saw that the line to take pictures was moving slowly, so he volunteered to take everyone’s picture in front of us so that it would move more quickly. We all appreciated his “take action” attitude!

Gabby’s tabletop solo shot.

This is my all-time favorite picture of Gabby with Morgan.

We celebrated Mother’s Day and Wendy’s birthday at Spago.

Gabby and Me, together for a 3-hour meal. A 3-hour meal.

Gabby waits to have her violin tuned for her second recital of the school year.

Grandpa Richard and Grandma Wendy attended the recital.

Gabby has decided that she no longer wants to play violin, which I’m okay with. She endured it for a year. She might try piano next.

Gabby and Coleman played in the lockers at Jack Gregersen’s birthday party. The lockers provided at least 20 minutes of entertainment.

Gabby and the birthday boy. Gabby is wearing a suit that Madi found at the beach last summer. It’s a pretty great swim suit.

Gabby was a cat in the Nevada Ballet Theatre dance program this year.

Her favorite part of the dance was pretending to lick her paws and doing the paw, paw, booty, booty, bounce, bounce, turn around dance step. Her enthusiasm was a joy to watch.

Gabby had the opportunity to go to L.A. the week after school ended with Wendy and Richard. She was full of anticipation before she left and was actually happy about leaving us in Las Vegas while she got to go on a vacation. She is extremely independent for 5 years old. Wendy and Richard enjoyed having Gabby to themselves as well. Meanwhile, Coleman called her everyday that she was gone. He won’t admit that he loves her, but he will say that he missed her.

Richard took some great photos of Gabby and Wendy at the Santa Monica beach. I love the pigtails.

Wendy thinks she probably hadn’t been on that beach since taking her kids there.

Gabby doesn’t mind getting dirty. Luckily her grandparents didn’t mind either!

Ears Pierced

May 11th, 2014

Since it’s Mother’s Day today, what better way to spend it than writing about my children? Gabby has had a lot going on during the past two months. She turned five years old, visited with Pop and Madi over Spring Break, performed in her school program, got flying colors on her last parent/teacher conference before she becomes a kindergartener, and got her ears pierced, officially making her a big girl.

Gabby turned 5 years old on March 31. Instead of a party this year, we did a play date the day before her birthday with her friend Remi. We went to Pizza Rock for lunch, and both kids danced to live acoustic music while standing on the booth bench. We spent some time at the Children’s Museum, especially in the top slide area. Then Gabby got to show off her toys and costumes at the house.

I made sure I was home when Gabby woke up on her birthday.

We had a birthday party at the house that night.

Gabby loves her aunt Jillian!

We got the cake from Chocolate and Spice. As Gabby likes to say “Let me tell you this.” Okay, Gabby, what do you want to tell me? “This icing tastes like butter!” It was the most buttery icing of all time, which was a good choice for Gabby since she’ll eat straight butter if we let her.

Gigi, Gabby, Brian and I had a sushi lunch before going to her school program.

Gabby was a riot in her Barnyard Boogie program. Here she is waiting for her turn at the mic.

She was tickled to death to have all of us there watching her - Brian, Gigi, Richard, Mari, Dulce and me.

Check out the video of her performing to Good Ol’ Tractor.

Check out the video of her performing to I’m a Country Kid.

Gabby enjoyed some sweets while hanging out with Mari after the show.

Mrs. Turner taught both Gabby and Coleman.

Milly and Billy Pengilly (it rhymes!) with Gabby.

Pop and Madi stayed with us over Spring Break.

I had to attend Leadership Las Vegas the entire first day Dad and Deb were here so I missed the trip to the Container Park.

Madi brought Gabby this awesome Jessie outfit.

Everyone came out to watch me do a triathlon at Lake Mead. My hope is that one day I will do a triathlon with both Gabby and Coleman.

Ashley Godfrey came over to give me a massage the day after the triathlon. Gabby LOVES massages, and Ashley was kind enough to massage Gabby for $5. Ashley suggested $1, but I felt like the kids should know what the value of a massage is. It ain’t free!

We spent some time on the trails in Peccole Ranch. The kids’ biking skills are improving tremendously.

I thought I’d done everything there is to do with kids in Las Vegas, but I hadn’t. The Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage was so much fun. I’m sure we’ll be going back.

The tiger area was top notch too.

Gabby was extra well-behaved to counteract her brother’s behavior.

We dropped Coleman off at the office to have lunch with Gigi and had a sushi lunch without him. Then we went to the Bellagio Conservatory.

Gabby didn’t complain too much, which is surprising because she loves nothing more than to pick a good flower.

We took some final pictures before we went to see Porgy and Bess at The Smith Center that night.

We always love it when Pop and Madi visit!

It seems that Gabby and Coleman have recently discovered that we own dogs. Lucy and Lenny have become their new favorite play things.

Gabby and Coleman got their annual checkups together. Gabby is very healthy and is in the 90% percentile for weight and height. According to her pediatrician, we have nothing to worry about right now about her weight, but if she decided to sit around all summer eating goldfish and watching TV, that would be another matter.

Yep, Gabby loves her brother.

Gabby gets some Reese’s pieces and a My Little Pony from the Easter bunny.

We spent Easter at the Binion’s which is always a good time.

Gabby checked out her loot in the foyer.

Gabby was a trooper when she got her ears pierced at Claire’s at the Meadows Mall. Watch the video.

Here is Gabby’s “before” shot. The girl re-did the ear piercing dot several times. I was so nervous about getting the hole in the exact right spot.

Gabby’s smile wasn’t quite as big in the “after” shot, but rest assured, she was very happy when she got home to show her new earrings off.

I attended parent observation day at Nevada Ballet Theatre.

Gabby seems to love performing, so I think I’ll get her involved in the after school theater class at the Meadows next year.

Brian and I received a glowing report on Gabby’s progress from Mrs. Gross at her parent teacher conference a few weeks ago. I was most impressed to hear that Gabby has tremendous focus during class and stays on task, even when others aren’t. Following are some comments from her report card. “Her ability to remain attentive during instructional time is outstanding. She is quite expressive and can always be counted on to make insightful and interesting contributions during group discussion. She consistently works in an independent and conscientious manner. She counts to 130+ and writes numbers to 100. She is able to identify all number to 100 out of sequence. She has mastered every sight word introduced, and her reading ability is progressing at a rapid pace. Gabby is an amazing artist and looks forward to visiting the creative art table and easel during center time every day. It has been such a rewarding and productive year with Gabby. We have loved every moment with her and know Gabby will have a fantastic experience in kindergarten next year.”

It doesn’t get much better than that.