Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Lulabelle

Friends, our beautiful, sweet, naughty six-toed Lulabelle has been in kidney failure all fall, and today we made the decision to let her go to kitty heaven. We got her when we were engaged, picked her because of her extra toes, and because when I took her out of her cage and made a kissing noise at her, she licked me right on the mouth. She was a spark of light in our tiny apartment when Tim was working 80 hours a week. She curled up next to me in the middle of the night when I was up feeding the kids. She came to the door to greet us when we walked in the house, and curled up in my lap anytime I spread a blanket for her to make a nest. When I sat down to eat lunch she shoved her face into whatever I was eating, and meowed for scraps when I was cooking. She's been with us our entire adult lives and the house already feels so empty.

One of the episodes of the Crown we watched last night was about QEII wondering if she’s middle aged. I told Tim this morning, we’ve had Lulu for our entire adult lives, having to put her to sleep makes us officially middle aged. We got her when I was 23 and he was almost 25 - I’m sure our parents thought we had no business getting a pet, considering we were in a tiny apartment, and we’d just had to borrow money to fix Tim’s car and also, we were your general idiots. But we’ve taken care of her and loved her through everything - remember in the beginning when she had to get her internal spaying stitches removed because her weird defective body had rejected them and pushed them through the skin on her abdomen? How she was allergic to everything and got little blisters on her face? And then all of her old age naughtiness - as much as I hated cleaning up after her, I knew that we were giving her a good life - so many others would have gotten rid of a cat like her. But she’s put up with us through all of it. From hating our kids to sleeping in bed with Ellie (so long as Ellie doesn’t try to touch her, of course.) 

Sorry to all of you whose arms she licked until the skin was raw, the kids she bit when they dared to come near her as she slept on the Lego table, the people who witnessed her pee on the carpet to show her displeasure with having guests arround, the allergic friends that she always sought out for a special cuddle. She was the worst, wasn't she? She was the best.














Saturday, December 9, 2017

December to Remember.

I have to be honest, I am not feeling horribly festive this year. We've got the tree and the outside lights up, I've got almost all of my shopping done, and the Angel Lady has begun leaving candy for the kids every night, but it just doesn't feel super-Christmasy. Or the stuff that I have to do, like addressing all of my cards or making a batch of caramels, just don't seem like what I'd like to spend my free time on. LAZY NOISE.

I did however, spend the last week cross-stitching a lyric from Something Rotten! for my reading corner.

Sadly, I think my reading corner is going to be short lived. After driving me out of the living room with his loud, obnoxious one-sided conversations via gaming headset and his laptop in his lap, Tim has decided that it's time for him to build a desk top and set up a permanent home for his nerd-times. And sadly, the room with the most available space is MY Pretty Room, which he has taken to calling his LAN room. It's like he's trying to get banished out to the shed. He ordered a new desk and an ergonomic chair, bought a four foot long mouse pad for his new mouse and fancy keyboard, and his new monitor recently arrived so he can have two monitors for maximum screen area. Apparently the desk top is coming in the new year. I can't lie, it's a nice desk and not a hideous 1990s computer console, and I did sit at it the other week while I was working. BUT I STILL DON'T LIKE SHARING.

Anyhow, now that my sampler is done, expect holiday cards in the next week (or so.) In the meanwhile, St. Nicholas brought matching Christmas jammies, which of course both kids immediately hated the morning of, but consented to by nightfall.

Raccoons in Santa hats! What more could you want?

Speaking of jammies, Adam had Mommy and Me day at preschool yesterday, and it was pajama day for all. I saved the other moms the shame of seeing me in my super ratty pajamas and came in athleisurewear. We spent 45 minutes playing outside, doing crafts, and in my case, sitting down with Adam only to have him bound up and over to the next thing. Then they sang us a little song and we headed home - he refused to sing, but sat in my lap and let me smell his hair like the creep I am.


Ellie had an ice cream party at school on Friday because her class raised the most for the Jogathon, so she was incredibly pleased with that. Last weekend we had a college girlfriend of mine over for lunch - she's lived in New York since 2002 but recently moved to Pasadena, so she and her husband and sons came down, and even though we've never met each other kids, and the husbands have only met briefly at our wedding, it was like we'd all known each other forever. Then the next morning, I found this, which I finally figured out is Ellie's advertisement for the chocolate coins we had available for a treat in the house.


The kids have slept over at Mimi and Poppy's house two Fridays in a row, because Mimi and Poppy are amazing. Last week was the East Lake winterfest with snow and hot chocolate and all of the things the kids love - Tim and I went and saw a movie and then I slept in until after 9:30am. Last night was Tim's company holiday party, which was Haunted Mansion themed. As in years past, we get a hotel by the convention center and then take a cab over to the Disneyland Hotel for an evening of fun, and the chance to just collapse into a hotel bed at the end of the night, free from cares and worries and cats and kids.

This isn't the best picture, but my dress has a cape attached, which is basically the best. And Tim is wearing his velvet blazer again, as he hopefully will for holiday parties in the years to come. They did a really great job with the party this year - one of the best parts was that they took over the second floor ballrooms as well, so there was much more space to spread out, and more seating areas. In years past, it's sometimes felt like we're all crammed in there, screaming at our friends over the loud music. This year, more opportunities to sit on a couch and speak in a normal voice. Not that we didn't yell for the fun of it.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Back to the Grind.

After having all of last week off for Thanksgiving break, Ellie has minimum days this entire week for parent-teacher conferences. Why they couldn't have combined the two is beyond me, but okay! The good news is minimum day means they're only out an hour and twenty minutes earlier, so I still have the morning to get stuff done, AND depending on how the day is going, I've been having her lay down for a nap if possible, much to her chagrin. Though, on Tuesday I told her she didn't have to nap, but I was taking my own wretched cold and going to bed, so she could do whatever she wanted as long as she stayed quiet and didn't wake up me or her brother. Parenting at its finest! (also, kudos to Tim for getting her ready in the mornings this week so I can grab another precious half hour of sleep before waking up and hacking up a lung.)

Her conference yesterday morning was quick and painless - she's doing great at math, she's slightly above grade level for reading and improving all of the time, she listens well and is a good student and most important to me, she's friendly and kind to all of her classmates. We'll keep her.

Adam got the thrill of his life this morning when we had the large item pick up (or as he calls it, the Large Giant Pickup) come by today to grab a busted up chair and the remains of his crib. Still loves him the big truck.

In "only in California" news, the other day I took the kids to the park so they could burn off some energy while I sat and read a magazine. We'd been there for a bit when suddenly there was a huge influx of kids, which was fine - they were letting my kids play with them too and everyone was having a good time. Then I realized the mom was being followed by a small camera crew and looked weirdly familiar. That's right, the kids were hanging out with Octomom and her litter of children. Kids seemed normal enough, but she seemed sort of wacky and like she was putting on a show - she made a big production of chasing the kids around, then told the camera guys she shouldn't really be running because she had a sprained ankle. No, you shouldn't run on a sprained ankle. And stop making the rest of us lazy park-parents look bad!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thankful

We've had a fairly low-key Thanksgiving around here, lots of eating, lots of family, lots of staying up late and a few good naps around this place.

There weren't a ton of little cousins at Mimi's this year, but the kids got along okay. Big cousin Aribeth was happy to organize games and play with her pipsqueak cousins, and Matthew and Andrew got conned in making many a paper airplane for Adam. It was actually pretty funny - at one point Adam walked by me and I growled at him and tickled his side, and he turned to his college-aged cousins and goes "ugh, my mom does that to me ALL THE TIME," ready to start a conversation with his elders about how uncool moms are. When I asked him if Matthew and Andrew were his buddies, he goes "no mom, they're my COUSINS." It wasn't that long ago that Tim was the big cousin and Matthew and Andrew were his little buddies (I mean, they still are, but now they're coming to him for help with coding and college classes, not paper airplane making.)

Yesterday we had dinner with our friends Adrian and Elisa. The kids spent a couple hours running through the house like animals. Their youngest son Felix is in kindergarten but only slightly larger than Adam, so the two of them took to wrestling like a couple of puppies, which was funny and cute. Ellie carried their new kitten all over the house like a baby.

Today our big fun is getting our Christmas tree and getting all of the holiday stuff set up. Ellie slept in until 8:30 this morning, but then immediately asked if it was time to set off to the nursery. Not until mommy has her coffee, kid! Jamming the tree into my car will also provide a good reason to vacuum it out afterwards - farewell Cheerio crumbs!

Finally, one last photo from We Run the City - Jake getting smoked by Adam at the end of the 5K

Monday, November 20, 2017

Fundraising Frenzy

We are just coming off our busiest week in a looooong time, so how nice that we're now sliding headlong into the holidays!

The kids have vacation this entire week, and last week at Ellie's school was a bunch of fundraising stuff. On Monday they had their jog-a-thon. She was initially incredibly upset because I didn't send out the fundraising email to my closest 100 friends, and so she didn't get a bunch of promotional crap (please note, it's just about sending the email and bothering your loved ones, not about actually raising money.) We turned in an envelope with donations, and she was able to claim her prizes, one of which was a small toilet water gun, where when you opened the lid you got squirted in the face. I told her she could use it as a Barbie toilet, but we were never putting water in it.

Ultimately she raised some good money and had a good run. Then on Tuesday they had a school picnic, but also, while you were there having lunch with your kid you could go through the book fair and buy some books and help raise money for the school. Very clever! I bought books despite having just funded the jog-a-thon, because you know I love a book. Then the rest of the week was a lot of turkey crafts for both kids.

Adam had a school feast on Friday which I did not attend because I was helping co-chair the fall craft boutique for my MOPS group. I was at the church for a couple hours on Thursday night and from 7:30-2 on Friday. Thankfully Gigi was able to pick up the kids and put them down for naps, because it was a nutty day. The vendors were great, we had some great home-made craft items, and I had a fun time, even if the turn out was frustratingly underwhelming.

Friday night the kids went to the YMCA for Superhero date night, so Tim and I could go out in peace (and so I could have a restorative cocktail after a long day) and Ellie wore the new athleisurewear she'd suckered Gigi into buying her, declaring herself to be the Superhero.... ZUMBA GIRL. She's pretty cute, that one.

Saturday afternoon Gigi came over for some more babysitting, and we headed up to the Coliseum with Kristen and Jeff for the UCLA-USC game. It was a friendship divided, but we had a really fun night. It also helped that while UCLA made some big mistakes, they didn't get the snot kicked out of them like in humiliating years past. Plus Tim and I wore matching sweaters.


Then the fundraising continued on Sunday we We Run the City, the UCLA-USC rivalry run that benefits Special Olympics. I put together a crackerjack team of Bad News Bruins this year - we had a few new runners and walkers, and Kristen and Jeff brought the kids and walked with us. It was nice on all levels - the children got to learn what a real college campus looks like, we bribed them with Diddy Reese so that they'll like UCLA best, and Jeff and Kristen donated generously to the cause, so much so that they bought my participation in a USC shirt for the second year.

Thumbs down Trojan children

Jake did the run for his fifth year, and this year they had a 10K, which he WON. Truly, Jacob runs the city.

Then we went out for lunch and got cookies for everyone

Back in MY DAY, all four of those cookies would have only cost a dollar!

(as a plug, if you'd still like to donate you can do so HERE)

You might think our rivalry friends would be done with us, but no, they were not. Once we all got home and showered and napped for a bit, it was off to Mike and Nicole's house for a wonderful Friendsgiving evening. I felt like kind of a slouch only bringing cookies and rolls, because the other ladies rolled out an honest to goodness feast. We drank a ton of wine and sat around the table for three solid hours, occasionally getting up to break up a fight between children, help ourselves to dessert, or more wine.

Truly could not ask for a better group of folks, or a better way to end a wild week

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Saturday in the Burbs

The kids had their last soccer game of the season today. Ellie scored so many goals that the coach told her she had to play defense and couldn't pass the center line. Adam got a goal too - by picking up the ball and throwing it into his own net. Not quite, my dude, not quite. But there was no weeping on the sidelines this week and overall it's been a great experience.

Then when we got home Adam and I did some yard work - I clipped back the ivy and the overgrown bushes in the back yard, he put them in the green bin, and then delightedly clipped the stuff in the green bin while I mowed the lawn. Team work makes the dream work!

We had our end of season pizza party at a place nearby, and this was the hot song requested on the drive over. Please enjoy our family band.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Halloweenies.

IT'S A HALLOWEEN MIRACLE: BOTH OF MY KIDS TRICK OR TREATING WITHOUT TEARS!

Please remember, last year Adam cried all down the first street, saying that no one was giving him candy (well, you're standing on the driveway in tears, don't know what to tell you) and then finally got in the game, and even consented to wear his costume. The year before, he cried in the driveways and then eventually trick or treated... as a boy wearing a tee shirt and shorts, no costume. But this year, right to the front door and every door after, happy as a clam, ready to say trick or treat and also thank you.

A little black cat and a big truck man

Our motley crew. Todd was the real champion of the night - he'd get the kids to line up at each house, then yelled at them to "attack!" waited for them to come back to him, counted to make sure everyone was there, move forward and repeat. Made it much easier for those of us wandering and nursing our drinks.

The neighborhood we were in has one street that's basically a carnival. The kids received: a hot dog, some popcorn, a donut, a bottle water and a scoop of ice cream with chocolate syrup. It was awesome! We had a really good night overall - started earlier, got home at a more reasonable time, and as the kids get bigger, the strollers were basically a place to throw jackets and empties.

Bargaining with Todd over treats.

The public schools are all off today, taking a teacher in service. If I was a teacher, I'd much rather been in a professional development setting, versus having to deal with a bunch of overtired, sugared up children. We all slept in past 8 today, and then I dragged them to the Y (bribed them with candy) and then we joined Gigi and the ladies at lunch, which is a great treat as well.

Lastly, remember,
Once a trash kitten, always a trash kitten.