Monday, August 22, 2016

Disco Fever.

I was talking with a girlfriend about my kids loving a dance party, and she mentioned that she'd bought a disco ball for a New Years Eve party that proved to be a big hit.

You guys, it's life changing.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bedtime for Bonzos.

Tonight after dinner I was lazing around in bed (hiding from my kids. What, you did it too at one point) and as usual, they found me. First, they tried to crawl all over me and I pretended to be asleep, so they tried to open my eyeballs (no thanks) and Adam yelled in my ear while Ellie tried to stuff her fingers in my arm pits and tickle me. Double no thank you. But then, after I pointed out that no one likes to be screamed at and for the love, don't touch my eyes, they softened and did some lullaby singing. This is the second time Adam went through this song, but it made me laugh SO HARD that even though he knows a dozen or so bedtime songs, this is what he picked.

The other one is giving Jerry Jeff a run for his money. It's funny because since Lisa's been in town, we've heard Navajo Rug in the car twice, and both times I told Ellie that we danced to it at Auntie Kate's wedding, but maybe she doesn't remember because she was still in my belly.

A good story that I forgot to share: so this past Sunday, Eileen and Don had gifted Tim and I with tickets to see Cabaret at the Segerstrom. When we scheduled it originally, it also came with babysitting services, but then it came up that they had other plans, and we all figured Gigi could take over (and be paid with peanut M&Ms.) And then Gigi broke her leg. And it was a Sunday night and Sara has work on Monday mornings. So it came to pass that I figured Jake might owe us one, after we spent our wedding anniversary watching him jog around town up in Windsor, and I asked him if he'd mind babysitting. He said yes, because he is both a nice uncle and a nice brother. We went easy on him - the kids had already eaten, they were relatively clean and didn't need a bath, and so basically he had to keep them alive until bedtime, and then have them in their beds before we got home. And we were home by 9:30, so he had less than four hours as the adult in charge. Ellie was still half awake and so we had to go in and kiss her when we got home, but that's not uncommon. All was well! And then in the morning, I realized that Jake has apparently never changed a diaper, because Adam's overnight diaper was on backwards. But, there was no leakage, so basically, I'd be willing to pay Jake DOUBLE what we paid him on Sunday.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Little House.

A few weeks ago, Ellie and I started reading the Little House series. She as really into the idea of reading a chapter book, but was clearly paying zero attention to Bridge to Terabithia. No pictures, a little above her reading level, kind of a different story. Plus, I don't remember reading it as a kid, and was informed that one of the lead characters dies in the end, so maybe no the best for an already sensitive five year old. So I told her we were going to move on to something better. She has a children's book version of Little House in the Big Woods (a very short book with lots of pictures, more of a bedtime story) so she was familiar with the idea, and I'd already told her (about a million times) that it was my favorite book series growing up.

It's so fun to be reading with her. We read the better part of a chapter at night (and before nap) so we're already onto Little House on the Prairie. Some things I have learned, now re-reading as an adult: there's a lot of stories that end with someone getting their ass whooped for disobedience (mostly Pa) and there's a lot of stories about guns and shooting things. Since we do not own firearms or cut switches, that has been interesting. There's also a lot of panthers on the attack, which thankfully we are also not dealing with around town - just the random skunk wandering through the back yard.

Still, the funny part is watching the kids all of a sudden incorporate these new concepts into their play. They've been spending a lot of time laying under the train table, which has become their tent, and then they run around the house, brandishing guns (mostly sticks, or Adam's trash grabber) to fight off some bears. I can't blame them, because how many years did I spend in dress up clothes, pretending to be riding around in a covered wagon (a Radio Flyer with a piece of card board over the top can work in a pinch.) I can still remember getting Little House in the Big Woods for my sixth birthday from my Grandma, and curling up in bed to listen to my mom read to me, and it's truly wonderful to be sharing this now with Ellie.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Not too much to report around here. We've had a pretty quiet week, which is nice after all of our travels. Every morning, the kids whine about not wanting to go to the kidzone at the Y, and every morning I make them go so that I can work on my fitness.

Thankfully, they're not suffering too much, as you can see. They've also been doing lots of art projects this week, which pleases Ellie greatly. Adam's always happy to play in the sandbox and use the blocks.

Auntie Lisa is in town this week to help out with Gigi, and we got to pick her up from the airport. Ellie loves having a captive audience, so that she can tell an hours worth of random stories in twenty minutes. No idea where she gets that from.

Speaking of car time - they recently discovered Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire and now request it. The funny part is that it's my traditional karaoke song. I know all the words, it's easy to sing (it's more like talking) and it's impressive! They are well on their way.

Yesterday was my 35th birthday - I had a new, obnoxiously yellow dress, and Ellie made me a beautiful necklace (she also took this picture.)

My neighbor Lisa was hosting a baby shower for her friend Lauren (who I also knew from UCLA and have enjoyed reconnecting with) and so I spent most of the day over there, showering Lauren and helping out, while Tim and Patrick contained the kids at our house.

We got the kids and went swimming with Grizz, which was much needed during the hot afternoon, and then had a delicious dinner with everyone, followed by cake with Sara Jo and Todd and Whitney. The evening ended, as all good parties do, with a dance party:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Why'd We Come In Here Looking Like That...

A few months ago, I got an email that Dolly Parton tickets were going to go on sale. I asked Tim if he wanted to go see a legend in concert, and he said no, but that I could take Ellie. Which is a nice idea, and 9 to 5 is definitely her jam, but I don't feel like the Hollywood Bowl, over an hour away, is the best place for baby's first live music concert, nor do I feel like the Dolly audience would appreciate Ellie whining the whole time until 9 to 5 was played. I was emailing with Becca and she said Brian didn't want to go see Dolly with her in Chicago, so invited me to come.

Which as you can imagine, I was happy to do! Because I am a terrible spouse, I then called Tim and asked "do you mind if I see Dolly Parton with Becca?" and he said no, and then I told him "great, I'm going to fly out to Chicago and see her there!" Could have made his own life so much easier if he'd just gotten on board with my concert going plans. And if Brian had gone with Becca, he wouldn't have had to put up with the two of us twin-talking the entire weekend long. It was a great show, Dolly Parton sounds fantastic - you would not know to look at her (obviously) or hear her how old she is, but she was GREAT. And I had a very relaxing weekend with the Nieburhsons. It helped that I treated myself to a first class flying experience. It's very nice up there. Free booze, good snacks, large seats. Makes it worth saving all of those miles over the years!

In the mean time, Tim and the kids had a good time and kept busy. Don also sent some of his Ironman photos - please to enjoy some of Adam as a riverboad captain.

Plus, good old bossy boots talking at her dad.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Third Time is the Charm!

We had a fun long weekend up in Northern California, cheering Uncle Jake on during his third Ironman.

Please enjoy how Ellie dresses herself for airline travel:

Both kids were great travelers, and when we got into San Jose, we went and visited their children's museum, which was a great size for our kids, and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with our friends Bob and Nancy, and their kids, who are just a touch younger than ours. It was nice to be in their house, just relaxing for the afternoon and letting the kids play, and then we left right around bedtime and convinced the children to close their eyes for the drive up to the Russian River.

The cabin that Jake rented was very quintessential cabin. Down a one lane dirt road, lots of segments built into each other, no level floors, wonky bathrooms. It was right over the river and was built into a copse of redwood trees.

Ellie enjoyed some time in the hot tub on the deck

The master featured these sweet wagon wheel lamps, and a fireplace that made the room smell like a campfire. We had a kid on either side of the bed on one a cot - when we were getting them in bed on Thursday night, I moved the bed so that Ellie hopefully wouldn't roll off into the stone fireplace, and when I came to bed, she of course was hanging off the bed on that side. She was so tired though that picking her up and scooting her didn't register with her at all.

Friday was a lot of race prep - here is Jake working with one of his little helpers
The kids and I spent some time down in the river, and Adam loved that there were tons of butterflies and caterpillars around - he found three chrysalis on the railing of the deck (sadly, did not get to see any of our new pipevine swallowtails hatching.)

Jake also had to contend with Tim wanting to share in his video game time.

The morning of the race I did get my lazy self out of bed to tell Jake good luck... but then got back into bed and slept in until after 8, and then an additional fifteen minutes was spent snuggling in bed with a kid on each side of me. Sure beat swimming two miles!

The course ended up going around and around the local high school and a park, which was nice for us spectating because we didn't have to go all over the place. Ellie and I missed seeing Jake get off the bike because she was in the bathroom, but we did get to watch him pass us at the park a half dozen times. And in the meanwhile, Ellie did some safety exercise.

Ellie did end up wearing the bedazzled shirt she made, but Adam refused. Ellie also made Jake a sign at lunch that said "thank you for all your love." She's a sweetheart, that one. I was really impressed with how well both kids hung in for the day. I did take Adam for a brief drive and snooze, but otherwise they were out in the sun, playing around.

Oh, and Jake looked pretty good too. In fact, he absolutely smashed it. He came in 17th overall, 2nd in his age group, and crushed his previous times by coming in just under nine and a half hours. He looked good afterwards and was able to scarf some pizza, rest a little and then rally at the end of the night to go back and watch the final finishers. I hadn't done that before, and it was REALLY a fun way to end the day. I cried a little, I won't lie.

The four of us missed seeing Jake on the podium yesterday, but we got there in time to watch him turn down his Kona bid, like a total bad ass. I felt so happy for the 4th place guy, who was probably bummed about missing the cut off for the World Championships, but then got to find out he was getting a spot. And after a nice brunch with the rest of Jake's wonderful support team, we headed back to San Jose. I had hoped we could get out and take some pictures by the Golden Gate bridge, but both kids were sound asleep as we approached (and I woke up probably five minutes before we crossed over myself.) We ended up having time to kill at the airport, which was fine because it's one obnoxiously long terminal and were at the far, far, FAR end, so the kids stopped to make forts

And eat snacks.
The kids were good on the ride home - the lady in front of us said that she thought we were a nice little family. Just goes to show what she knows!

(and happy anniversary to Tim and I - that's even more miles than 140.6! I'm lucky he still puts up with me.)

I'm so glad we were able to go along and cheer on Jake, and stay with everyone. The kids loved having Mimi and Poppy to snuggle with in the morning and play with at the park, and more hands always make lighter work for a tired mommy. Jake's certainly had a challenging year, and not just because of the training for the race, and I'm thankful that he had his whole family there to encourage him and cheer like crazy. Goes to show you just can't beat those Fockers!

(and little Fockers.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Swimmy Fish Children.

In case you haven't heard, it's hot as Hades here. Which leaves us with no a lot to do other than sweat to death, or GO SWIMMING!

After his initial hesitation, Adam is back into full on swimmy fish mode.

And after initially having to hunt down our swim instructor, we've had consistently good lessons. Today, the Y was absolutely slammed in the morning because there's a swim meet at the facility next door. The kids and I pulled up around 9:10 so that I could go to the 9:30 boot camp, and at first, parked about a mile away. We were midway through our walk when I realized, I was going to miss the class anyways, I was going to have to walk BACK with my kids when all was said and done, and we were still going to have to try to come back at 1 for swim lessons. Instead, we packed it up and headed home. Ellie put up a big fuss, even though she says she doesn't like the KidZone anyways, but then at 11:30 when we showed back up we found convenient street parking, and they hung out in the KidZone while I worked out on my own, and then we all did some good swimming. I only wish the video of Adam was a little longer!

And please to view green band winner, Elizabeth Beans! She's now passed her swim test and is cleared to swim where ever she wants at the pool!