Saturday, December 3, 2016

All Aboard the Christmas Train!

Tonight was our annual trip to the North Pole via the Irvine Park Railroad's Christmas train. It gets better every year because we know how to keep the kids satisfied in line, and Irvine Park now has to buy a time slot, not just a ticket for a day. Also nice, we went with our neighbors Thomas and Aislinn, their parents, and their grandparents, so there were many adults against the children. Plus every year we bring heavier coats to try to stay warm. It's cold at the North Pole!

A little heart breaking - neither child cried. But they looked cute and had a good time, eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate during their wait to see the big guy.



We also took our picture in Santa's sleigh real quick, and then were able to hop back on the train and enjoy the ride back to Irvine. Ellie and I were sitting by the conductor, so he let her say all aboard and happy holidays into the mic.

She's a goofy little elf, for sure.

We also met Mrs. Claus!

Ellie said it was her best trip to the North Pole ever. And funnily enough, facebook informed me that her first trip was five years ago today!


Sure has gone fast! (look at how young we once were!)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving and More.

We had a pretty relaxed holiday weekend. It rained here, so it felt like actual fall. Or what passes for fall here. We went and had brunch with Mimi and Poppy, which allowed us to spend more time with them overall, and less time driving around, since trying to get to the family dinner at Cathy's and then back to Jan's for the actual meal is hard with small children and nap times and many freeways.

It gave the kids a chance to sleep in and relax too, which they needed. We've had sort of an off-week, health-wise. Adam was a little warm before Thanksgiving dinner, but definitely rallied to eat four brownies and felt fine afterwards. Tim and I both have gross hacking coughs and the kids are snot factories. Ellie managed to amp it up today by throwing up in a trash can at school, poor thing. I'm hoping it's a twenty four hour bug, and that maybe Adam can avoid it, but considering the way the two of them snuggle, it'll get all of us in the end. AFFECTIONATE FAMILIES ARE THE WORST!

But anyways, here is the cute turkey placecard that Ellie made for me - she made one for everyone at dinner.


She was also delighted to get measured against Granny Janny's dining room wall

Then on Friday we went and got our Christmas tree, which is always a highlight. We convinced Gigi and Grizz and Sara to come over and have dinner at our house on Friday (and by that, I got them to bring pizza and salad and make it here, for me to then eat) and we had our first holiday dance party. Ellie is loving looking at all of the ornaments, though she's embarrassed by last year's home made ornaments because they're "scribbles."

However, she's totally fine with this reindeer she made the other day. I think his bonkers eyes make him absolutely a goat. It makes me laugh so, so hard.


Monday, November 21, 2016

We Run the City.

We had a really great weekend to start off Thanksgiving vacation (that's right, now kids have no school the entire week of Thanksgiving, that way we can all prep for our over-eating.)

Saturday morning they had their final swim lesson until spring time. Adam actually made the promotional video for the Y this year, I found out recently. You can check him out at the 18 second mark.


Then they helped me do some baking for our Friendsgiving extravaganza. Two pies, a batch of cookies, and some party potatoes, as you do.

Then after nap time it was off to see Sara Jo, Todd and Whitney, who hosted a really great evening for a big group of us. The kids all had a great time playing together, there was a ton of delicious food and wine, and wonderful company. Sara is cancer free, and fighting the good fight to get back to full strength, so it was wonderful to be there with her and huge group of wonderful friends. She had mad Whitney a great turkey costume, which Ellie much enjoyed.
At the end of the party, it came up that in the morning I had to do the We Run the City rivalry race in a USC shirt, and Ellie started crying like she'd just found out she had to shoot her own dog, like in Old Yeller. I tried to explain to her that Special Olympics was more important to me than UCLA, and that I'd made a promise, but she kept hollering stuff like "you can't wear USC! You have to break your promise!" through her sobs.

Thankfully, she was much more in control in the morning. We got to campus later than we'd intended, so as we walked to the field they were firing the gun for the kids race. Last year, she cried and dropped out because she wasn't immediately in the lead, but this year I told her to just jump in and do a lap, and she did, happily. We were able to gather all of the fantastic members of our team, and set off towards the way way back of the pack (other than Jake, who is fast) and strolled together. Ellie decided she wanted to run, so Tim kept pace with her, and as we came to where the course doubled back, Adam was getting real ornery about wanting his dad, so I cut the course to catch up, yelling "I'm cheating! I'm a Trojan and I'm cheating!" because I am a total jerk. It just seemed like the right thing to do.


We mostly managed to finish together (Jake came back to find us and walk the course a second time) and at the finish line, we saw a Caped Bruin Crusader!


Then we had a fun time in the bleachers, cheering for Sara on the flag football team. The kids were so pleased with their medals, and the free snacks that were available in the fan fest.

(the other two are our wonderful neighbors, Thomas and Aislinn. I don't know what I did before Lisa lived around the corner.)

Then we took them all into Westwood for pizza and Diddy Reese. The four kids were SO good, for having an early wake up and then a long morning of activities.


And we all had a great time. I wish I'd gotten a team picture, because our entire team was really great. All together, we raised more than five grand for Special Olympics! Thanks to the efforts of our favorite Trojan family, who not only donated, but secured a matching corporate donation, I was UCLA's top fundraiser, and as an incentive, Sara and I get to ride on the Goodyear blimp next year! All in all, a great day for a great cause.

And this morning, since there was no school, I slept in until Tim was ready to leave for work. Now THAT'S a vacation!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Turkey Time Crafts

Tis the season for turkey-themed handicrafts. The other day Ellie made a poster at Gigi and Grizz's house with everyone's hands (Grizz had to put his giant paw on the back side) and then she asked what sort of expression we'd like our turkey hand to have, like some sort of live emoji action.

She also made this beauty in school today:
Please note that Tim and I are not invited on her cruise ship, which is fine. Enjoy reading with your grandparents, but I'll be damned if I'm letting you take Lulu.

Here is Adam's hand, as a turkey. With one single feather, as you do.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Who Watches the Watchers?

Last week was Blizzcon, and a chance for Tim to go and celebrate Overwatch with a convention center of his nearest and dearest nerd friends. This year, since he's so smart and pretty, he got to be a part of the Q&A panel. I missed it live, but had friends sending me photos of him, and was able to watch it all after the fact. You can too, if you desire! (it's nearly an hour long, as a warning.)



And this is what he looked like the morning of, helping Ellie rearrange her hair bows while Adam played Mario in his lap.

This week has been pretty depressing around here. Like the left wing nut jobs that we are, Tim and I were horrified that Trump won. It makes me so sad that someone who spouts such hatred holds the highest office in the land, because to me, those sort of statements are deal breakers, beyond issues of fiscal or foreign policy. On Tuesday when we were driving home "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" from South Pacific came over the iPod, and I was feeling buoyant, thinking that I'd have a moment where I'd be able to tell my kids (who I am teaching to treat people with respect, to treat everyone as an equal) that there was no place for that kind of divisive rhetoric, and instead, in the morning, all I could do was remind them that we have to do our best to treat people with care.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Trick or Treat.




Rapunzel, the Big Truck, and the crazy cat lady had a wonderful Halloween (as did their dad, guy in an Overwatch shirt.) As you can see, we got to go with a big, fun group of friends, including three adults in onesies.

I mean, mine had pockets, a hood, and tail, what more could you want? 

The night started off a little rough for Adam, who got sort of jostled and overwhelmed by the scrum, and ended up at the driveway of the first house, sobbing about how no one was giving him any candy. Well, you're not near their door, you didn't say trick or treat, you're not wearing your costume and you're weeping! It took about a dozen houses, with me going up and helping him, but eventually he came out of his shell, climbed back into his truck and raced hither and yon, getting candy and treats. Seriously - one street in the neighborhood featured a popcorn machine, cups of ice cream, and full sized, cream-filled donuts. Tim and I had to grab the donuts from the kids because we are selfish, and also, because no kid needs a donut on top of their popcorn and ice cream, while they're racing down the sidewalk like a loon. Next year, I'll bring special treat bags so we can save all the donuts for later. 


Sunday, October 30, 2016