Monday, August 7, 2017

Beach Baby, Ball Game.

Friday we skipped YMCA camp to go to our friend Jamie's Surf Camp. Jamie is such an outdoor rock star babe - she surfs, she swims, she's training for a triathalon, she camps, she's a great cook and hostess, and she's basically a beach goddess. She'd been down at Doheney all week with her two girls and various friends and family, and invited us to join on Friday. Gigi came with, which was much, much appreciated, and the kids had a (mostly) wonderful time.

Ellie LOVED it. She was in the water the entire time - the only time I got her out was to feed her a sandwich when she was shivering with blue lips. And Jamie was so great about coaching the kids. She had a couple of surfboards and would plop two kids on it, take them out and give them a shove into a wave, and they could ride all the way to the shore. The girls were even trying to stand up and hang ten. It was awesome. Ellie also got pretty good at boogie boarding.

Adam was hit or miss - he had a huge fit at Gigi and it took me awhile to get him to calm down (needed snacks) and he wasn't into being out in the water, but thankfully Judd showed up just after I'd made him eat a sandwich, so he was able to hold it together and let us stay a little longer.

In short, it was a blast of a day. Love seeing my little girl as a total beach baby. And thankfully, no one got too badly sunburnt.

On Saturday, the kids had a great soccer game. When Adam runs onto the field, he likes to tell us he's being determined, then he freezes for a minute, revs up, and races out onto the pitch with a huge yell. It's hilarious watching him get after it. They've both improved quite a bit, and definitely are doing less crying about it all. After nap time, they went over to Gigi and Grizz's for some swimming and dinner, and mom put them to bed for us so Tim and I could go and see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Ahmanson (verdict, I liked the production, the acting and staging was great, but I didn't care for the book back in the day, so I didn't care for the play overall.)

Then yesterday we had ladies day out at Angels stadium! Tim and I won four tickets to two games at a charity auction earlier this year, and since we couldn't get Twins tickets, decided to take Gigi and Sara with Ellie and I to watch the Angels versus the A's. Ellie's been to games before, but her last one she was under two - I think I was freshly pregnant with Adam. So this was a much different experience.

IT WAS SO HOT. We had great seats, row E back up off the field, but it was HOT. Miserable hot. As you can see, we brought scarves and made fans and ate ice cream, but in the end, we took advantage of the mostly empty stadium and moved back into the shade. And even then, only survived until the 8th inning because it was a looooong game. We'd already been there for three hours and seen several home runs when we decided to go (right after Mike Trout had a fly out instead of his 1000th hit.) And even then, I'm glad we left when we did, because the A's came back and put six on the board to win the game. Better to leave when the energy is high! (in the stadium. In our party, energy was low and mostly tired. I'd been up at five am to volunteer getting sign ups for the Special Olympics 5K, so I fell asleep last night before 8pm.) And now it's back to our regular week! Dragging Ellie and Adam to the Y in the morning, napping and then going for a swim in the afternoon.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Week at the Y.

This week in keeping everyone entertained, I had everyone signed up for camps at the YMCA. So now we basically live there, because Adam's discovery camp is 9-12 and Ellie's art camp is 1-4. That is bad planning on my part, because while they're having fun I feel like I'm constantly on a deadline to pick someone up or drop someone off, and the hour in between can be tough. We've brought lunch in and ate in the lounge area at the Y, and today we went out, which was fun. The camps are definitely not as intense as oceanography camp, but they're having a good time (and the price is right.)

Plus, while we're living at the Y, I have my morning work out classes, Wednesday evening tap dancing, and the kids have swim lessons twice a week, though Tuesday got canceled because of storms (much crying, of course.) Today though, it's hotter than Hades with blue skies, so I look forward to beaching myself in the wading pool. And by that, I mean we always end up in the deep end while I tread water and Adam jumps on me.

Ellie's now gone two weeks without a mid-day rest (which, in the past year she hasn't always napped, but she usually falls asleep one or two days a week - more often during this summer because we've been busier) and we've pushed bedtime up a little to keep everyone sane and rested. I thought to myself, oh, when school starts we'll be back to a regular schedule, and then I remembered, she'll be a first grader! Nap time will be over! I DID IT, I MADE HER TAKE NAPS ALL THE WAY UNTIL GRADE SCHOOL! And in truth, she's a good sleeper and both kids need a lot of sleep. They get it from their parents, who fall asleep the second we hit the pillow, and could easily sleep 12 hours a night.

Tim and I celebrated our twelfth wedding anniversary this week. For the first time in many years, I actually looked through all of our wedding pictures the night before, and MAN, was it a long time ago! I kept pointing to people and telling Tim "look at how young they look! Look at how young we are!" Now that I'm an actual grown up, it seems wild that people actually threw a party to let two idiots in their very early twenties pledge their lives to each other. JOKES ON YOU, PARENTALS! Really, the joke is on poor Tim. Mimi and Poppy took the kids overnight for us on our anniversary, so we could go out and about - we went and saw Wonder Woman, went out to our favorite restaurant, and then went for a walk on the beach where I lost one of my favorite bracelets and fell on a rock and took a sizable chunk out of my foot. Thus proving that romance is best saved for the young folks.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Cooking with Gas.

Ellie started oceanography camp this week, which is coming at the perfect time.  We've had a great summer so far, but she definitely complains every step of the way. Oh, we went out to lunch? Why can't we have ice cream? Spent the afternoon with friends? Heavy sigh, why can't we do something fun! That sort of nonsense, so it's good that she's out and about to do her own thing. She's had a good week so far, though she mentioned that it's a lot of LEARNING. And Monday was a little lackluster because Gigi picked her up for an afternoon of fun, and then we spent two hours crying (her) and searching for a lost Spike (the rest of us, including Adam canvassing the neighborhood on his big wheel, yelling "Spikey DOODLE! Where ARE you!") Turns out, that fluffy bastard was upstairs, hiding in a super secret location. 

Ellie's favorite part of camp, of course, is getting to go with Lexi. Those two are quite the pair, and surprise surprise, are each other's buddy at camp. They even get to use the bathroom together! (which they would do anyways, please.)

Meanwhile, Adam and I are sticking to our usual routine of going to the YMCA, farting around, and going swimming in Grizz's pool. He did offer this beautiful song on the drive this morning (I was parked when I recorded)

The other thing both kids have been doing is watching American Ninja Warrior, nonstop. They LOVE it. The best part is that then they go and play American Ninja Warrior, bouncing around Ellie's room in their costumes. American Ninja Warrior boy wears no shirt, American Ninja Warrior girl wears no pants. Sometimes she even changes into her bathing suit in case she falls off the obstacle and into the water!

We also had some real big fun this weekend doing cooking class with Don and Eileen, Jake and Karen. It was the Christmas present for all of us, having the experience of making and sharing a meal. I recommended the cooking school down in San Juan, TSpoons, and we had a great time. We had a French chef who yelled at all of us and goofed around ("eat the pan! Eat the pan to eye!" - heat the pan to high, yelled at us "what are you doing!?" and told me to shut up, at which point I took my name tag off, turned it around and wrote Beyonce on the other side, so if he was going to tell me off, he had to call me Beyonce.) And the food was great! It was bacon night, so we made carbonara, fried chicken with a bacon gravy and bacon buttermilk biscuits, a flatbread with caramelized onions and bacon, and chocolate chip bacon brownies. YUM. 

The great part is they do all of the measuring and cutting and prep work and clean up, and while you cook the vast majority of the dishes, they do the finishing up - you don't have to watch the oven or check temperatures, while we sat down with our carbonara, they plated the last items and brought them to us. Sipped wine, all chatted together (the six of us crammed into a little table because they were short a seat at the big table, and by the time they brought over another chair, we would have been interspersed between a bunch of other patrons, instead of getting to talk to one another.) And then I made everyone go two step at the Swallows, because the best thing to do with a full stomach is swing around the dance floor!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Another Weekend Workout!

This weekend Ellie decided that she wanted to play soccer too, so we signed her up for the same soccer camp at the Y. Thank goodness for the YMCA. I mean, we already practically live there, but basically anything I think our family would be interested in, they offer, and I can just throw money at the problem and support a nonprofit!

I was already at bootcamp when the kids arrived, so I was surprised to see Ellie wearing a sparkly skirt instead of pants or shorts, and she'd taken her hair down and put in a clip. Oh, that glamorous little California girl, making sure everyone can admire her blonde locks and her long legs. Both kids immediately began crying about being asked to wear a jersey, but managed to get it together. Adam didn't accuse anyone of cheating this week, and is really improving with his footwork. Ellie is more tentative, but makes up for it by being fast. Together, they'd be a great soccer player, but they cry A LOT. Next week, hopefully more improvement. And I've already told Ellie, no dirt in the skirt.

We had a pretty relaxed weekend overall. Did a lot of swimming and laying around, and then last night went to see the concert in the park down in Dana Point. It was a Pat Benatar cover band, which was fun. The weather was perfect, there were plenty of snacks, and Ellie continued working on her physical skills.

Juddy, dancing king of the universe, obviously. Ellie has already said she wants to do gymnastics in the fall with Lexi, so we'll see how that goes as well (bet it will involve weeping!)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Sporting Life.

Little known fact about me, despite my sparkling social skills and ability to be an amazing teammate, I never played a team sport growing up. I was not that much into the sports, being more into being left alone with a book and my imagination. I know, hard to believe. And Tim did youth sports and then turned to running, which is just a thing that sickos do. And then abandoned all physical activity except the use of his valuable typing hands. Which also double as his video gaming hands.

So as expected, we have not been the parents who signed our kids up for tball and soccer and all of those activities. Partially because I don't want to talk to other parents on the sidelines, and also because I don't want to dedicate several hours a week to watching a bunch of little dweebs run around, missing the ball. And plus, the kids have never really expressed interest in team sports, though Ellie's liked dance and they both love swimming.

But lo, the other day there was a sign at the Y about a kids soccer camp on Saturday mornings - a half hour of practice and a half hour game, and I mentioned it to the kids, and Adam said he REALLY wanted to play soccer. First practice was this past weekend.

He wasn't sure if he should dress for football or futbol, but he was pretty thrilled about the whole thing, until the game got going, and then he cried when other kids stole the ball from them and accused them of cheating. So, still needs some review of the rules. The good news is that Ellie initially refused to sign up, but after watching Adam, she's going to join the group this week. So, team sports it is, we're trying.

Meanwhile, look at these two fish!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Knee High... the Fourth of July.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire, once I felt like we'd started to recover from our vacation hangover, it was time for the long holiday weekend! And lo, it was nuts. We had three pool parties in three days - a family birthday party out in Yorba Linda on Sunday, where Ellie tried to learn to dive and cried a lot, a big friends BBQ on the 3rd, where the kids again swam for several hours nonstop, and then a lunch time BBQ on the 4th at a different friend's house in the same neighborhood (most of the same crew, slightly more sunburnt and chlorinated this time) and then after that four hours stint in the pool, everyone took a nap, we ate a final round of hot dogs with our neighbors, and ended the evening with sparklers and fireworks in their driveway.

Suffice to say, everyone has been pooped. The good news is that Adam is really getting the hang of swimming on his own, seemingly overnight! And I love what swimmy fish the kids are, even if it can be tiring to make sure that they're not drowning in a huge scrum of other kids, while also trying to make sure no one is splashing water into my beer. I have also found that picking up one of my children when they're screeching in their crocodile tears fashion, and throwing them into the center of the pool really puts a damper on their ability to fake cry. And it's satisfying for me! Because I am truly Ursula the Sea Witch.

So now hopefully we can settle into a routine, since neither of them are going to day camp until the end of the month. We go to the YMCA in the morning, and every morning Ellie complains that she doesn't want to go, and I complain that I don't want to go either, but if I don't work out I'll have to yell at everyone all day, and then run some errands, come home and have lunch and nap, and then wait to go jump in Gigi and Grizz's pool and pick up their kittens all afternoon. Trying to keep things fun with craft projects, and the entire house is strewn with all of our toys. It's been great to watch them play Legos or trains with each other in the morning - they love building and using their imaginations, and it's always awesome when they play together.

We also went to the library last week and got their first library cards. They were really excited about filing out the forms and picking out the card they wanted, and then we had a great time choosing books. I'm the mom who doesn't let them buy junk at Target or the grocery store, so it was a fun reversal of fortune telling them yes to everything at the library. Adam got a bunch of truck books, Ellie got a cat book and a couple of new chapter books to try. She was beyond adorable - we couldn't find anything in the stacks ourselves, and I suggested she go ask the librarian for help, and tell her that she finished the Laura Ingalls Wilder series and was looking for some new chapter books. Ellie was so polite and grown up, answering all of the librarian's questions about what kind of books she likes, what she liked about the Little House series. We're halfway through our first chapter book, and planning lots of good library trips this summer. Air conditioning and quiet reading, two of my favorite summer things!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Door County 2017.

Another great family summer vacation in the books! This year, we were once again able to spend our entire Wisconsin time in Door County, since all of the Thiels (minus Auntie B, sadly) were able to come over for the weekend, so I had my entire extended family in one place at the same time. And it was great! There's something wonderful about seeing my kids enjoying time with their out of state family, from their great grandparents, to all of their little cousins.

Got to spend Father's Day traveling with Grizz

Stayed overnight at Auntie Becca's and got to love on the kittens (not pictured, Adam waking everyone up by throwing up at 4:30, and then being fine for the rest of the vacation.)

Wisconsin, has all of the sky

We visited the goats at Door County Creamery and ate ice cream almost every day

Went to the Ridges, where you can read to a stuffed deer

And splashed in the lake and dug in the sand. Like their mama, they don't care that the water is freezing

A lot of hammock time

Making art in matching clothes

Eating cake that Gigi Renee made

Exploring and catching crickets

Yard games

Examining the dead bug collection

Playing cards

Playing bananagrams

Playing harmonica with Grandpa Charlie

Catching up on summer reading/Benjy book club

And of course, getting a ton of candy and having a ton of fun at the Olde Ellison Bay Days Parade

And obviously, dance parties. 

I also realize I'm a dirt bag and didn't take any good pictures of the kids with their Thiel cousins (other than our best gal Hailee) but I have this one I filched from my sister

But I do have this video of smiley-kins Leah, who makes me laugh so hard with her huge smile and baby laughter

Seriously kills me dead