Monday, November 4, 2019

Halloween and More!

It's November already!

The kids had a blast this year - they are really at a fun age to trick or treat because they don't require quite as much supervision, but still want their parents to go and hang out with them. Adam was a Minecraft guy with diamond armor, and Ellie was a very cute little raven, with lots of hot glued feathers.

Then Friday morning we headed out to Chicago for John's wedding! The last of my cousins is officially married, and so this felt like the last time to really go and blow it out family style, so lo, we did.

Everyone in the wedding looked absolutely gorgeous (I stole this picture from Facebook) and so happy.

Grandpa Charlie was able to make it to the wedding and stay for cocktail hour. Olivia made a beautiful flower girl, and let me have her flower crown when she left for the night, which is the best thing that's ever happened to me.




Plus Tim looked very handsome and we were able to do a lot of great dancing. A+ evening all around. 

The kids spent the weekend with Mimi and Poppy and as usual, had a great time. The movies, the zoo, doing a hands on project at Home Depot, plus Adam's baseball game and Ellie's Ocean Heroes class (plus then a special girls night dinner with Mimi.) 

Double bonus: we didn't have to wake up with the kids with daylight savings!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Ellie is Nine!

You may be wondering, this blog hasn't been updated in almost a month, and it's October... is anyone thinking of the children? Is anyone bothering to celebrate Ellie's birthday? Well, let me assure you, she has been feted to the max! She got to go to paint pottery one afternoon with Gigi (she made a new bowl for the cats, which stupid Taco was immediately frightened of) and went to the American Girl store with Mimi and Poppy, and received the convertible RC car for her doll to drive in (once stupid Taco ceases to be frightened of the car, I hope he will consent to go for a ride in it.)

And then this weekend, we did it up real good. Friday she had a bunch of girls from her class over.

They jumped on the trampoline:

They painted pumpkins:

They made their own mini-pizzas and also decorated cupcakes:


And she received a Vote for Pedro shirt so she can nerd out with Olivia and Miele. Who knew that the cult classic would resonate so much with third grade girls in 2019?

Also the girls screamed incessantly at each other. They were a case of wine coolers away from a sorority party bus. My poor ears!

Then Saturday, her actual birthday, we went to Harry Potter world with her two most Hogwarts loving friends, Lexi and Keira (and Keira's mom.)

Our group was three Hufflepuffs (me, Lexi and Keira) and two Ravenclaws (Victoria and Ellie.) No Slytherins allowed!



Ellie got picked to do the wand demonstration at Olivanders, which was very thrilling to her:


The wand is basically a remote control that if you move it in a designated pattern at one of several locations, will cause something to move. MAGIC! (it's magic how much they charge for those things - they're basically television remotes that frustrate kids because you have to be pretty exact with your wand motions, and make sure the camera is picking you up correctly.)

It's leviosa, not leviosa. Obviously.

They only have two rides in Harry Potter land - one that is in the castle and moves between virtual reality and animatronics, and one roller coaster. We went on the big ride first, and afterwards came to find out that Lexi and Keira both had their eyes closed through portions of it! Good news, after we rode the roller coaster we stood in the 90 minute line a second time, and this time they were all very brave. To their credit though, I found myself pulling my legs in so the dementors wouldn't get them.




They really were a fun little bunch, very into the whole thing. We had lunch at the Three Broomsticks (do no recommend the butterbere) and went to Honeydukes and got chocolate frogs. Afterwards, we went and watched an animal show and then went on the Simpsons ride. I was joking with Victoria that it's a pity they took out the Backdraft attraction. I mean, sure, no one has watched that movie in 20 years, but the flames and the crashing and all of that - definitely a good way to scare the girls! Speaking of, they were trying to tell us that they would be brave enough to stay in the park for Halloween Horror Nights, but on our way out we walked by Beetlejuice and I motioned to him to scare the girls and they FREAKED. The best part was when he saw Ellie's birthday badge and told her "crappy birthday!" and she was absolutely outraged. 

On our way home, we stopped at Bottega Louie for dinner (treat for mommies and little girls!) They read each other Harry Potter trivial pursuit cards and argued about every point, ate a pizza and were slowly getting more and more tired.

Shortly after this lovely photo was taken, Ellie started crying because her mint ice cream tasted too minty. Please note, this is the same girl who could easily eat a whole box of Altoids in one sitting without batting an eyelash. That's how we knew it was time to hit the road and try to get into bed at a reasonable hour (did not succeed, but the thought was there.)

Then yesterday we were up and at 'em so we could brunch with the grandparents and others. Halyn brought along the sweetest birthday cake and Ellie got one more good round of birthday singing. 


Then cried because the cake had raspberries in it. Even though she likes raspberries. 

So at nine, Ellie is quite obviously, a complicated and complex little sprite. She's an inquisitive scientist, a great mathematician, a budding musician, but told me the other day that reading is boring because it's just looking at words on a page. She still loves art but also REALLY loves video games. She has a lot of opinions about what music she wants to hear and is always up for a dance party. She's a great teacher to her brother and also a prime tormentor. She insists on filling her bed with stuffed animals and then sleeps under a blanket that barely covers her long legs, no matter how often I go in and tuck her in under her regular quilts. I love her confidence and her smarts, am already doomed with the amount of eye rolling that she throws my way. She also told Tim recently that we are "strict and rude," which hopefully means we're doing our job okay with her. It's amazing to think how quickly the first half of her childhood has gone - our first sweet baby. 

Monday, September 23, 2019

Good Monday morning from these two cuties, well dressed and neatly coiffed for school picture day:


This weekend our little gymnastic got a new leotard featuring cats in space, and did a lot of practicing in the back yard.

Adam got a new back pack for his baseball equipment, though I thought he was doing fine with my old yellow Vera Bradley diaper bag. Sheesh. Coincidentally, he also got his first hit on the ball field. Thank you to Mimi for the excellent camera work!


Afterwards, told everyone he got a home run.

He also went to his first professional soccer game on Saturday night. I had invited our neighbor friends Victoria and Keira to attend the Sound of Music singalong with Ellie and myself at the Hollywood Bowl, and so Tim and Adam were able to take their season tickets to see the LA Galaxy with Robert. Worked out perfectly for all! Tim reported that Adam was a great spectator and they all had a fun time.

Meanwhile, us girls had a blast! I haven't been to the singalong in probably ten years. Not much has changed - they still give out the exact same props, and you know, the movie remains the same, but I feel like it's only better with time, and extra fun to go with my little lady. She'd actually never seen the whole movie through until Saturday night (it's three hours long!) but she had a great time and really loved it. Loved that you can cheer and boo, loved singing along, loved being with her friend, hopefully liked being with her mean old mommy.

I have an actual million fond memories surrounding this movie from my childhood and my adulthood (the last time we went to the singalong we brought Grandma Rosie along with us!) and it is thankfully, a childhood favorite that holds up to adult review. In an era where the US President says that some neo-Nazis are "very fine people," it's refreshing that Captain Von Trapp is suffering no fools and not even trying to see the good in any of the Nazis. And there isn't a bad song in the bunch (though we did tell the girls, if some 17 year old boy tries to tell you that he knows better than you, you shut that right down. That number is redeemed, as always, by the absolute dreaminess of Leisel's dress, which I continue to covet.)

Ellie and I didn't get home until 1am, but she thankfully slept in the car, and I thankfully did not fall asleep behind the wheel. It's the price we pay for super fun big city adventures!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Pal Time.

This weekend was Adam's first baseball game. He moved up from rec league t-ball to actual Little League, playing in the first to third grade division, which is machine pitch. So, a pretty big change for our little dude, but he's doing well. I mean, he didn't get a single hit yesterday, and he didn't field a single ball, but he looks the part, is a good team mate, and says he's having a good time, which is what matters.

He's got a decent swing, hopefully will connect on something soon

They call him the Couldn't Care Less Kid. He spent quite a lot of his time sprinkling the dirt around.

Gigi and Grizz and Sara came to watch his game, which was nice of them, and then afterwards we celebrated Grizz's birthday a day early (since tonight Adam has practice from 5:30-7pm.) I made Grizz some desserts and also a punch hooked Yogi pillow, at Sara's urging.

If you would like a beloved family pet crafted into a terrifying pillow, please let me know, I'm accepting commissions. Only home sewn, terrible looking things are to be expected. Ellie was so cute - she really wanted to have a big present for Grizz, even though I told her all he wants is a party with her, but she went and got a little box and filled it with some treasures - a shell, a shiny rock, a Gryffindor lego since that's Grizz's Hogwarts house, and one of her gold dollars. She even tied it with a ribbon and stapled the card onto it. She's a sweetie. Adam just gave him a hug and a kiss and a card signed Love Pal.

We also made him a birthday slide show! It's supposed to be set to the Beatles "When I'm Sixty-Four" but when I put it up on YouTube, I got pinged for music copyright violation. So, here it is without music - you can put your own song on in the back ground, I guess!

And since Grizz is actually 64 today, I would like to assure him that we do still need him, but as for feeding him, I will mostly continue to eat HIS food. As one does. When one is a leech. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Settling In.

Week one of school, and Labor Day weekend are now behind us, and it feels like school has really started, and it's truly fall. If you can ignore the 90 degree temperatures (which I can't. It's awful.)

The kids are happy in their classes. Last Wednesday when we were walking to school, they ran ahead of me and jogged all the way to their classrooms, hung up their back packs and were hanging out with their friends, not caring whether or not their annoying mom came over and kissed them goodbye. We've gotten into a good afternoon routine as well, making sure the piano gets practiced and homework gets done.

After school activities have also ramped back up. I have to say, I'm so glad they're not doing soccer this year. It's a lot of time and a lot to manage for two kids who don't truly enjoy the games. Ellie is sticking with gymnastics (which is only once a week) and Adam has moved from t-ball to Little League. They use a pitching machine at this level, which is a big difference and stands to be a challenge, but he's in love with his new helmet and bat and all of the gear. He may be a bleeder and a crier when things don't go his way, but he's a good team mate and a kind friend. We had our first batting practice tonight and he was his usual outgoing little self, chatting up all the other dudes. Ellie will also start back up with her Bio-Nerds after school class next week, it was one of her favorite things last year. Feels nice to be getting into a routine, and back with our friends and classmates.

Monday, August 26, 2019

First Day 2019!




Off they go, my sweetie pies! Adam has the same teacher as he had last year (same teacher Ellie also had for kinder and first. It's her fourth year teaching, and I joked with her last year that I hope she'd go four for Ford) and Ellie has a teacher who is new to the school. Both kids were incredibly excited this morning, and they each have last year's school bestie back in their class again. Ellie's class looks to have fewer of the rowdy boys who drove her bonkers last year, so that's a relief. Can't wait to see what the year holds for them!

Last Week of Summer!

Well, we did it, we survived summer 2019! And had a great time doing it. Our last week was spent mostly trying to get things back in gear - we bought all of our school supplies, organized new back packs and lunch boxes, figured out first day of school outfits, the usual.

Here they are, apres swim, having some popcorn and observing the butterflies in Gigi's yard.

We also did a lot of stuff with friends - it's nice to have neighbor kids in and out having fun, and on Friday, we took it up a notch and went down to San Diego County to visit an animal sanctuary called Lions, Tigers and Bears. They have about 30 animals on the property, and all of the big animals are rescues - most of their back stories are incredibly sad, as they were part of the exotic animal trade, or bred to be used in cub photography (usually the animals are then destroyed at 12 weeks when they're no longer cuddly enough for photos) or one tiger was used as a brood mare, and had over 200 cubs before coming to the sanctuary.

They offer tours throughout the week, and it's a great way to learn about the animals and what they do for them. During the tour the animals can come over to the fence for a snack, which most of them do (they are very firm about how no one ever touches the animals or goes into their cages, but obviously, since they're not trying to release them back into the wild, it's okay if they learn to come and be friendly at the fence) and it was so awesome!

Moon Bears coming for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches

Bob cat time

This guy actually roared at us, which was amazing! And the cougar, Pumpkin (not pictured) actually meowed at the keeper when she came over with the food and meowed to get her attention.

Jaguar having some enrichment activities. She loves pinecones, and even big cats do "if I fits, I sits" with cardboard boxes.

The most amazing part? I paid into a raffle and won the chance to feed an animal of my choosing! So, I picked the tiger. This is me and Maverick.


It was SO COOL. Even though he's enormous, he still was very delicate taking the meat off the fork. I wish I could have reached through and petted him on his big, beautiful head. But I did not, because I mostly follow rules. The kids had such a fun time, well worth the extended drive. Summer fun memories for all!