Friday, April 13, 2018

Shark Bait, Hoo-Ha-Ha.

So, our daughter is a shark.

She has been waiting to lose a tooth FOREVER. I mean, a year ago she'd come and tell me she had a wiggly tooth, and I'd try the tooth to find it was about as wiggly as one of my permanent adult teeth. Most of her classmates have the majority of their new front teeth in, but there's Ellie, still milking those baby teeth. And while we were waiting, her adult teeth started coming in behind the baby teeth, thus making her a ferocious land shark lady.

The teeth finally started getting wiggly, but showed no interest in going anywhere. I've wiggled them, I've tried to yank them out, I've sent Tim and other adults to do the job, but those babies were hanging in, and I just kept telling Ellie, you have a dentist appointment on the 12th, and if they're not out by then I bet Dr. Michelle will want to pull them.

And lo, yesterday was the 12th, and Dr. Michelle did indeed think they needed to come out so that her permanent teeth wouldn't be further jacked up by their predecessors overstaying their welcome. Ellie LOVES the dentist, and even having two teeth extracted didn't dampen her excitement (probably because of the laughing gas.) She actually laughed after they yanked out the second one! And thankfully, this time Adam actually sat and let them clean and x-ray his teeth. Six months ago he let Dr. Michelle look in his mouth and then screamed about the rest. Also thankfully, I was worried that one of his front teeth was going to die after he fell flat on his face in Chicago last summer, but the damage wasn't too terrible and though it went gray for a bit, it's healed and looks almost completely normal now.

After the dentist, we got a Frosty and then went out to Tip A Cop dinner with Gigi and Grizz, where I warned Ellie that she wouldn't be able to show her teeth around at the table. But she was able to put them under her pillow, and this morning woke up to find two gold dollars, which I think would make Grandpa Howie happy. I love thinking about how much he enjoyed the gold coins. Quote "I like to leave them as tips, because the waitress thinks she's only getting seventy five cents, but she's really getting three dollars!" Also funny - when I went to the bank to get said gold dollars, the banker only had 19 in his drawer, which was fine. But he did offer I could order them in a box of 1,000. First of all, how many teeth do you think my children have? (maybe more, if Ellie really does turn out to be a shark) and second of all, who needs a thousand dollars in gold coins? How do you even put them in your car? Where do you store them? I imagine it's beyond heavy. Nineteen should do me well for quite a long while.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Spring Break! (and other stuff)

Man, a lot has happened since the week of Adam's birthday!

First of all, our cousins came into town for their spring break, which was awesome. It's so fun to see the four kids and how they get along and how they play or how they don't get along. Basically, everyone loves Ellie and wants her full attention, and with Adam starting to drop his naps, he was a real pisser to everyone. But he was slightly less of a turd to James than he's been in years past? So that was good.

They had a good parade in preparation for Olde Ellison Bay Days, and they did a lot of Easter egg hunting. We also had a party for Jackie's grandson over at her house, which resulted in my kids swimming in the hot tub in their skivvies, and ended with an enormous dance party. Two thumbs way up.

Then we went to bed early on Sunday night, because the car arrived to pick us up before six am on Monday morning, for our big spring break family vacation to Hawaii. There were twelve of us in total going, on three different flights (so much for coordinating!) Twelve of us in total, including Auntie Sara. We had an uneventful flight, and then a fairly quick shuttle ride out to the Disney Aulani resort.

We spent five days without really ever leaving the resort. They had tons of pools, and a beautiful beach in a quiet cove. We were sharing a suite with Kristen, Jeff, Lexi and Judd, and our friends Todd, Sara Jo and Whitney were four doors down the hall. It worked out well! Three of the kids slept in our living room on pull outs, Kristen and Jeff had their own room, and then in the room with two queens, Tim slept with whichever one of our kids was not in the living room (the boys and girls traded off on sleepovers) and since it was a family vacation, I slept with my sister, like it was 1988. It worked out pretty great. The kids would get up early-ish, since they don't understand time zones, but then we would plug them into a movie on the iPad using Jeff's five way splitter (amazing!) and they'd eat cereal and relax until the parents got up, hunter-gathered coffee and breakfast, and then every day we were down at the pools before 10am. The boys swam until after lunch (and then had to nap or die) and the girls stayed in the water for up to six hours at a time. They were FISH. The great thing is that we had so many adults that we could do shifts taking them down the lazy river or slides, and other than the one big pool (which we only went in once) they could touch pretty much everywhere we went. The beach was also fairly placid and calm, though on day one Ellie and Adam did swim out to the bouys and back with us (Adam rode on my back on the way in, which was the toughest workout I've had in awhile.)

Then most days we'd be back and showering around four. The kids had a couple of engagements in the daycare, which allowed the adults to have a cocktail or two (without kids, don't get us wrong, we were definitely ordering booze by 11 most days. SPRING BREAK!!!) One night they were able to stay through supper, and we went to the Four Seasons next door and had an excellent meal in their fish restaurant.

We couldn't have asked for better company or more fun as a group. However, the resort itself left a ton to be desired. We paid a premium to be there during a peak time, and the service was subpar at best. I had more than one person tell me something wasn't available or working because "it's spring break." Oh really? I wondered why my kids were here with me. We just weren't able to take advantage of everything we paid for, which was a big disappointment. Not to mention, all five kids broke out in rashes from the chemicals and pee in the pools. I was glad we hadn't come before Easter or stayed another day longer - they'd wrung just about all of the fun out of the resort that they could.

I also wish we might have done more touring around, but we were out at the resort, not really close to anything. We did manage to walk a few doors down to a really fun luau on Wednesday night, and all of the kids got to go up on stage and dance, which they thought was awesome. It was a super fun night, and a nice change of pace. And thankfully across the street was a grocery store and an ice cream place, so we could feed the kids a steady diet of peanut butter sandwiches and ice cream.

In the end, a great trip with great friends and a great family. I was so proud of what great travelers the kids were, and definitely loved the few moments they'd leave their friends alone and snuggle with me on a tube down the lazy river. And of course, if the kids' spring breaks match up again next year, we'll get some good commune living spring break going!

Aloha Aulani!

Character breakfast, morning 1

Breakfast the rest of the week

Lazy River

Auntie and Adam after a tube slide

Many fierce tic tac toe battles

The Beans admiring their hair and make up pre-luau. I can only imagine what they're going to be like before attending prom in 10 years

Luau silly faces!

Ohana means family

Dance Break! (Jeff in the plaid, Ellie and Whitney)

Beach time building Todd Town

Beautiful dinner with beautiful friends

Sisterly cocktails

Sisterly facials. Don't we look young?

Final ice creams

Aloha Hawaii!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Gruesome Twosome.

Celebrating a successful butterfly home birth

Building a fairy house at the park

Bothering another gruesome twosome

Playing Scrabble Junior

Celebrating the first day of spring

Pre-partying with the Easter Bunny. I can't believe how similar they look in this photo. Perhaps the semi-forced smiles?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Adam is Five!

Happy, happy birthday to our fabulous five year old guy! We had a fairly large party on Saturday night - I invited a bunch of our friends with kids, and almost everyone was able to come. I was slightly worried about the house getting destroyed, and so set up a bunch of activities outside. The boys tossed cornhole bean bags straight in each other's faces, kicked balls and tossed frisbees over the fence, and raced around on the turf.

Tim drew a really awesome picture of the monster truck El Toro Loco, and the kids spent some time coloring him in as they felt appropriate, and then we played a rousing game of pin the wheels on El Toro Loco.

We also had a pinata, which result in a lot of screaming (from Ellie) when I made the kids line up in age order, and one of the four year olds knocked the thing open. THEN she cried because she wasn't getting as much candy. Dude, stop crying and go grab some! I'd put almost 400 pieces of candy in for a dozen kids - surely there was a sucker or a package of Smarties left. Oh my kids... always something to cry about at a fun event.

But see how happy she is to hang her bag on her bunny shirt?

We did pizza for the kids, and I made a turkey salad and a couple other big salads, plus I bought many of the meat and cheese items that Costco has to offer. (When I got to the register they told me my membership had expired, which, I can't imagine being up there with a bunch of beer, a bunch of chips and dips and snacks and a sheet cake and being like "well, nevermind then, I will just leave and buy 12 bags of chips at the regular grocery store to yield the same amount. Please put this cake back.") And the kids helped me make an El Toro Loco cake, which is both loco and straight up frightening.

And then towards the end of the night, all the kids curled up to watch a movie.
I mean, I joked about being surprised by having such a crowd, and having expected more people would be unable to attend, but I love having a house full of people and I feel lucky to have such friends, for Tim and I as well as for Adam. And it's definitely good for me to have a reason to get the yard cleaned up, the house acceptable inside, and the fridge stocked with beer and snacks for the summer fun to come.

The kids both slept in until almost 8 - they were pooped! We had a very relaxed morning - he opened his presents from us, worked on putting together his Lego firetruck, and we watched the third Harry Potter movie, since Tim and Ellie just finished the book. Then tonight we had Mimi and Poppy and Jake, Gigi and Grizz and Sara, and my friend Maree, her son and parents all over for dinner and actual birthday surprises (featuring the leftover appetizers and food I'd made the day before - THANKS COSTCO! And thanks to our families for being low maintenance, and awesome.

One of Adam's presents was a bunch of Overwatch shirts - he's been SO thrilled about having a matching Tracer shirt with Tim, so we got him a bunch of other heroes in his size. Today he picked out the Winston shirt for them all to wear, and I texted Mimi to let her know that she might want to get in on the action.

In short, Adam is a fantastic little nut and we love him to the moon and back. I can't believe he's five, and I can't wait to see what this year will bring. He's all signed up for kindergarten, and I just registered him for t-ball (good thing he got a baseball mitt and a t-ball set for his birthday!) I was also amazed - the other day he picked out a die-cast truck at CVS, and in the car on the drive home he tried sounded out the name and told me it was a "rum" truck. For an almost five year old who's not in a super-academic preschool, I was impressed that he saw RAM and got close to the actual word.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Activity List

It's funny how crazy our lives can feel, even though our kids do relatively little in terms of sports and other activities. We're still loving our Wednesday music theory lessons as we gear up towards the kids beginning piano lessons, and we're readying for swim lessons again, once the weather is nice enough that poor noodle arms Adam won't freeze in the heated pool at the YMCA. Some weeks it feels so busy that I can't imagine having two sport athletes! Or even athletes who have to practice more than once a week.

That said, I love being able to sign them up for what interests them, and watching them grow. I think once school is over we'll find a more serious martial arts studio for Adam, if that's what he wants to keep doing. And Ellie ADORES gymnastics. She very quickly stretched out those longs arms and legs and can do the splits, back bends and her cartwheels and handstands have really improved. Here's a minute or two of them at work.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Greatest Showman

Kristen and Lexi invited Ellie and I to go and see the Greatest Showman with them yesterday. I'd wanted to see it when it first came out because I love all musicals, but it didn't get great reviews and Tim wasn't interested, so we didn't, to my great consternation. So, I was glad I could still catch it in theaters, and see it with my small friend.

Ellie LOVED it. She and Lexi were dancing along in their seats, and during the love song, we looked over and the two of them were leaning against each other, holding hands. Both hands. Then during a scary scene towards the end, they both fled to cuddle against their mothers. It's nice that she's at an age where she can sit through a movie without much fuss - she ate some popcorn and a sandwich, she had her water, but she wasn't whispering or fidgeting (makes me feel better about my decision to buy tickets to take her to Hamilton!)

Afterwards, we wandered through the mall, and we let them try on some make up Sephora. As you can see, Ellie's tastes are incredibly understated:

Everyone came back to the house, where we eventually ordered pizza for dinner, but before that, I bought the Greatest Showman soundtrack and brought the Bose player outside for us to listen. And Ellie and Lexi made up some sweet gymnastics dance routines. Looks like someone watched too much ice dancing during the Olympics!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Turf Toe

Like the Californians we are, we have officially ripped out our back lawn. It started going down hill a couple of years ago when our neighbors cut down their trees and flooded the back yard with light, and then the drought hit and we weren't supposed to water. Not that I would have watered anyways, because I am mostly terrible at yard work, and Tim is way worse.

I did some fairly successful re-seeding last year during the rainy season, but there's something going on with our sprinkler system so... it died. And I figured, by the time we got the sprinklers fixed and the grass redone, we'd have spent about as much as we would on replacing it with turf, plus there's probably another drought around the corner, so I'd have to let my new grass die.

Yesterday the turf company was here by 8, done by 3, and now we have a beautiful green backyard. The turf is softer than I expected it to be, and perfect for all kinds of sports, from gymnastics to just running around like a wild man.

I think it's going to be a really nice summer, out there enjoying a green lawn.