Thursday, April 11, 2019

Oh Ho Ho, It's Magic... You Know

NEVER BELIEVE IT'S NOT SO!

As the Focker Christmas Gift of Spending Time Together, last year Eileen proposed we all go to the Magic Castle to see Johnny Ace Palmer. The timing didn't work out last year, but it did this year, so we did it up big!

And lo, it was very magical. The only other time I've been was the last time the five of us went, shortly before Tim and I got married. This time felt extra fun - the magic shows we caught were better, and we got a really nice tour from one of the member knights. No pictures from inside, because it's AGAINST THE RULES. Per Cary Grant. And some of the many other famous people who like to see magicians and practice magic. Sadly, we didn't see former Magic Castle president Neil Patrick Harris. Or Harry Potter. But we did see Johnny Ace Palmer throw an actual rabbit out of a hat.

Our cousins were here for their spring break earlier in the month, which was awesome. It's so fun to see the four of them together, goofing off.




We also went and met some baby goats. Many kids for the many kids. Ellie was especially taken with the baby goat that fell asleep in her lap.

This week the kids' school did their Open House, which they have renamed the Showcase and gussied up as we're in the final weeks of the school choice period, where you can make a big stink to find the perfect special school for your perfect special child (our kids go to their school because it's less than half a mile from the house, and I didn't move to the burbs to do private school.) There's a much bigger song and dance this year, with lots of stuff prepared for the whole school to see. However, we mostly got our food trunk dinners (burgers and tacos) and visited their classrooms and then let the kids run wild around the grounds with their friends.

One of the things the school does is called Chalk Fest, where the kids draw a chalk picture of a book cover. It sounds very overwhelming, but they really break it down - one person grids out the squares, one person draws the outline using the grid, and then the kids are assigned a square to shade appropriately. I signed up to draw the outline for Ellie's class, and I'm amazed at how it all came out.



Then, just for fun, I also drew this tiger!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Quick Funny

Last week I took Adam in for his six year wellness visit. These one a year visits are fun because the doctor actually asks the kids the questions directly, so fun to see how they answer (please note: Ellie loves to sell me out given the opportunity. Like, asked if she always rides in a car seat, she's quick to reply that ONE TIME in Wisconsin she got to just ride in the back seat.) When asked if he slept well at night, if he had nightmares, Adam was like "I have nightmares every night!" He doesn't. I mean, maybe he does - I don't sleep in his room, I don't know what goes on in his brain, so maybe he does have bad dreams from time to time, but he almost NEVER comes in our room at night, and if he does, he wants us to come and adjust his bedding, find Lamby, or give him some water. It's NEVER that he's been in mental agony.

We also did the hearing and eye test and he's perfect. This is the funny part - so they had him read the eye chart with both eyes opened, he did great. They had him cover one eye, he did great. Then the nurse told him to cover his other eye, which he did. Without uncovering the first eye, so he goes "Oh wow, this is going to be HARD!" And indeed, I did laugh so hard (his second eye was also fine. Also, he's in the 90th percentile for height, so I guess I should stop saying "he's tall, but not super tall." He is indeed super tall.)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Adam is Six!

I'm so sorry for being a terrible correspondent! Things have been nuts around here with Tim actually traveling out of town, me running the arts and crafts boutique for my MOPS boutique, the children being children and yet, even in the bonkers times, it's also the same mundane stuff week in and week out - arguing about whether or not they have to brush their hair or if they can have ten more minutes of YouTube before having to do a chore. Fun times, for sure.

BUT, there are two other entries below this, so keep scrolling! First up, the littlest member of TEAM Ford is six - officially a third of the way to being a legal adult and only sort-of our problem. We had a packed weekend of fun for him. Saturday was the MOPS boutique so I was gone until about 3pm, and then we had take out and hung out with Lisa and Patrick and the kids - he was delighted to chase the other three around the house and pretend to be a monster.

Sunday we did a lot of relaxing around the house, including me getting tired of their bickering and forcing them to lay down in their rooms for 30 minutes in hopes that they would take a disco nap (to no avail) and then off to Circus Trix with six of his friends. All of the indoor bounce house play grounds around here give me a headache and are more money than they're worth, so like with Ellie's party we paid for everyone to jump for 90 minutes and then came back to our house for dinner, rather than paying for an enormous party package and being stuck in a side room with sad pizza. It's much nicer to be home with a beer and delicious catered Mexican food.

Here's the future cover of their first album.

Adam wanted a Minecraft cake that was him in his gold armor, so obviously, NAILED IT. It was also really flat because I didn't have any baking powder, but that's just how my cooking show would go - it'll be called "Oh Crap, Tim, I need you to head to the store for an ingredient I forgot!"

The best part is that I bought some frosted cookies from the grocery store for a guest who has an egg allergy. She declared she doesn't really like those frosted cookies, so went for ice cream instead. Meanwhile, most of the other kids wanted a cookie instead of cake. It was quite the dessert buffet going on, between cake, cookies, iced cream and whipped cream.

It was a really nice night with some of our closets friends, just hanging out in the yard until it was time to have a dance party and start booting people out.

Then as I was tucking Adam in for the last time as a five year old, he reminded me that he needed to do his Star of the Week poster for the next morning. GREAT. Totally had forgotten about that. The good news is he and Ellie were happy to illustrate it in the morning, Tim grabbed a poster board on his way home from the gym, and I taped some only slightly out of date photos around it.

I think that family picture is from when he was three? His favorite food is a pancake, and he likes to play Minecraft - that drawing is him on his laptop. He wants to be a bey blader when he grows up.

He also got to bring in whatever share he wanted as the Star of the Week, so he brought Lamby. And if you thought being six meant he wouldn't suck his thumb and huff Lamby on the way to school, you thought wrong.


This is what he looked like at 12:49pm, exactly six years after they pulled him out of me and we heard him squeak at us for the first time. This year, playing at the park and running around with a friend and giant stick. He's a terror and a delight, for sure. We're so glad he's ours.

First Day of Spring.

I am never great about getting family pictures on major holidays - Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthdays... I'm lucky if I think to nag everyone to get together, and then hiss through my teeth at the kids to smile. But one thing I am good at is getting a picture of the kids on March 20th, the first day of spring. I've made them sit in the green chair every year, with various spring-like headbands. It is just about the cutest thing, even though I can't believe how big they are.


Things that are going on around here: Ellie is doing an after school science class called Bionerds that she absolutely loves. They've dissected a snail, they've learned about centipedes and done tests to look for bacteria. It's so fun to see how much she loves it, and how much she's learning.

Both kids are also really deep into Minecraft right now. It's a weekend only activity with their dad, and Tim was able to set it up so they're all on a private server on his computer. Adam uses an old laptop and Ellie uses mine (which I am not hot on, but I also use Minecraft time as a way to go hide in my room with a coffee and some cats so I guess I'll let her touch my stuff) and they'll all play together until they go nuts. They're OBSESSED. Ellie has been making lists about the things they're going to build and collect, and given their druthers on YouTube they watch other kids play Minecraft. Tim likes it because he's hoping this will be a lead in to them learning how to play video games that he actually wants to play. It's also nice because since it's on his server, he's in full control of it. Five minute warnings, 30 second countdowns and then he just shuts off his computer and it's done. Adam has tried on weekdays to get me to boot up Tim's computer so they can play - even asked me "do you even KNOW how to turn on Daddy's computer?" Look kid, I'm not an idiot. I not only know how to turn it on, but I'm not dumb enough to show you that I can and let you go buck wild.

AND on weekends in order to get access they need to eat breakfast, get dressed, brush their teeth and practice the piano before they're allowed to boot up.

Piano continues to go right along - they're both learning a lot, though I remain on the struggle bus and confused, despite ten years of playing the flute. I told Tim, after twenty years, I can't even read music anymore and he was aghast, but it is what it is. I'm more focused on book reading! It's amazing to see what the kid are learning - Adam is still in the beginning theory sort of classes, which is teaching him musical concepts without it being a full on piano lesson like Ellie has moved on to. The other day we were in the car and a song came on and they started calling out what chord the music was (red chord, blue chord, minor chord) and I was just amazed. Miss Bri said even if they weren't 100% right on the actual chord, the fact that they could hear that they were different chords, and then pick out the minor one is really an important step. Here we come family band. I'll be in the back with a drum stick up my nose like the littlest kid in the Partridge Family.

Flight of the Butterfly.


A few weeks ago at the park I noticed that there were quite a few butterflies flying by... and then as the day went on realized it was more than just a few, it was apparently MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of painted lady butterflies migrating. It was really amazing around here for the few days that they were all flying through - every little fluttery thing against the blue sky is yet another butterfly.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Cutting Down and Cutting Around.

Things have been pretty quiet and routine around here. Tim and I spent Valentine's weekend up in the Bay Area celebrating a friend's 40th birthday in the most shagadelic, weirdo airbnb ever, while the kids got spoiled by Mimi and Poppy.

The tree company came out and chipped up the remains of our big pine, but the stump and enormous hole in the yard remain.

Now I can be the hobbit troll I've always dreamed of being! The missing tree still bums me out every time I drive around the corner of our house.

The past week has been sort of rough. Adam has been pushing every boundary and testing every limit, and I find myself having to take lots of deep breaths to get through the day, and being really thankful when he goes to sleep at night and I don't have to deal with any more of his nonsense. This past Friday felt particularly rough and trying. We were over at Gigi and Grizz's for our regular Friday night pizza party. The kids had already been bathed, Adam had played some games on Grizz's tablet and snuggled with Gigi to read a book, and then while we were spending two minutes out of his line of sight plating up dinner, Ellie came running in and yelled "ADAM IS CUTTING HIS HAIR." And lo, during his small break he had taken it upon himself to administer an ill advised bang trim.

It was so next level naughtiness, especially because a week or two ago he admitted to cutting his jeans with scissors and was reminded that scissors are only for paper! It also cut the tension, as it was. The whole thing was so ridiculous and he looked so ridiculous that I couldn't even be mad about it, just laughed at how dumb he looked.

And he already was in need of a hair cut, so it wasn't a huge deal. Except, usually he gets a little boy hair cut, and this time he had to get a full on buzz, which I don't personally care for.

BUT to add insult to injury, while they were waiting at the barber Adam got frustrated at a video game on his tablet, and when Tim asked him to turn the tablet over, Adam tried to pull it away, dropped it, and shattered the screen. THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMING.

Meanwhile, I had a really nice date with Ellie yesterday (who refuses to brush her hair, so perhaps it'll be a hiney-head for her soon enough!) We'd been planning to go see one of our new baby friends, and decided to make a day out of it. The Grammy Museum has an exhibit of Dolly Parton's costumes, so I took my little 9 to 5 loving lady out to see the dresses of our National Treasure.




The costumes are unreal, both in their glitz and sparkle, and the sizing. The difference between Dolly's tiny waist and large bosoms is truly astonishing. The museum is pretty small, so we had a good hour or so touring, and then went to my favorite restaurant Bottega Louie for a nice brunch. Ellie was thrilled to get waffles and delighted by Chantilly cream, and I had a potato pancake with burrata and prosciutto, which is all my favorite things on one plate. And then we got a bunch of little to-go tartlets to bring to our new favorite friend, baby Josie, who is the daughter of my college roommate Annie.


She's three months old, so smiley and sweet and darling. Ellie was a total baby hog. Even after Josie took a nap in her lap, I had to set a timer so that I could hold her for a measly five minutes!

Then since we were back in my old stomping grounds, I made Ellie go with me to my favorite thrift store, where a million years ago I purchased the rhinestone booties I'd worn to see Dolly's costumes. Ellie fell in love with a pair of silver saddle shoes, but learned the sad truth of when a thrift store item doesn't fit you, you can't just go to the next size up (and that her mom isn't going to buy her shoes that her feet don't fit into!)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

RIP Monterrey Pine

It's absolutely pouring here. Not in a California crybaby way, but in a genuine flood warning way. Grandpa Thiel... I mean Grizz... said that his rain gauge said we got over three inches last night - there have been some recent winters where three inches of rain didn't hit over the whole season.

And our poor old tree on the side of the house. She had a little too much to drink last night and fell over. It happens to the best of us, but sadly, when you're a tree, it means your unfortunate end.



THANK GOODNESS our neighbors didn't have any of their cars parked under the tree, so it's just the tree removal cost, and not a home owner's claim for us. I didn't hear the tree fall over, but both kids said they'd heard a boom overnight. We noticed in on the drive to school at 8am, and by 10:30 the city had been out to move the tree off the street, and I'd got the actual tree company to come out and give me a quote for the removal, which will happen in a week.

It's funny and sad that over the past few weeks I'd noticed that the bottom branches of the tree were drooping more, and I wondered if they needed to be trimmed. Within the last few years we'd had the tree looked at, and the tree guy said it was okay, that it had already sagged once, and wouldn't topple any time soon. But, hard to know with trees, hard to know with the recent spat of wet weather we've had.

The tree and I (and a very, very new pregnancy with Adam) in happier times. We'll miss you, old girl!