Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Eleven Months.

Our favorite little baby friend turned 11 months old today. I can hardly believe that time has gone so fast - I have started getting supplies together for his birthday party, and Ellie loves to tell me about how he's going to turn one.

He continues to be the best natured little guy you could ask for, though when he's displeased or sad, he has THE MOST ear piercing shriek. And when he wants something, he grunts at you until it comes his way. He especially likes to have his own spoon to chew on at dinner, and doesn't understand why I won't give him my fork so that he can stab himself. He's got his seventh tooth pushing through right now, so he eats anything and everything.

There have been some brief seconds where he'll stand without support, but he doesn't seem close to taking his first steps, probably because he can crawl at lightning speed. He enjoys turning the receiver on and off, trying to open cabinets, and just otherwise being a nuisance. Loves to over turn the cat water, but only when it's full to the brim. He chatters along, but no real words yet. He also continues to be a snuggler - still loves riding in the ergo, and will still fall asleep in it when things are busy. When he's tired and I pick him up, he will put his thumb into his mouth and snuggle into my shoulder in a way that just makes my heart seize. He's such a love. The thing that makes him laugh the loudest is having someone pretend to eat his stomach, and of course, he adores his big sister.

I am constantly amazed with Ellie too. She's almost three and a half, and she can fully put on her own shoes, and can do most of her own dressing - she definitely likes to pick out her own clothes! The other morning after she finished her "cheerio cereal" (it's only cereal if it has milk) she went to the kitchen, got her stool and stood on it so she could dump out the rest of the milk and put her bowl and spoon in the sink. She recognizes her letters, and especially her own name. She's so funny and clever when it comes to making up new songs or little funny sayings. And I'm always proud of how kind hearted and polite she can be. When i was feeling like flaming dog doo on Saturday morning, she sat and cuddled with me and kissed me, and woke me up from my nap with a get well card she'd made. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014


It has been a weekend. I came down with mastitis overnight on Friday and woke up Saturday morning shivering and praying for a quick death. Ellie has some sort of whining disease brought on by being 3 years old, and also ran smack into the corner of the dining room wall trying to chase a cat and split her head (thankfully, no stitches required.) Adam, after maybe a week of clean health, has caught another cold and is snuffly and miserable. The only way I could get him to nap was to finally rock him to sleep and let him snooze on my chest this afternoon. So sweaty and wheezy! I predict tonight will not be our best evening. Weekends - not as fun with kids, especially when you end up stuck in the house.

But, here's some finished pictures of our house.

Tomorrow Ricardo comes to start fixing up the yard. I can only assume he's going to chop down my pet weed. We've had a good run though!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Gated Community

Hooray, hooray, all of the work is done on the exterior of the house (yard work excepted.) The new gates are installed and painted, so all of the construction and repair is done. Ellie is going to miss having all of "the guys" around the house though.

Here's our gates before - both made by the previous owner:


And here's a better shot of our new, blue front door.
Why yes, we are Bruin with a blue and gold house. That's not weird, is it?

We've had a busy week in terms of seeing friends - five play dates already, and two more this weekend! We are so lucky to have such a great group of friends, both kiddos and mommies. And as usual, we ended the work week with ice cream with Grizz. His job gets tougher every week.

I shall leave you with this video of the kids playing together. I am so, so lucky. Even if they do drive me a little bonkers when we're all over tired.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Guest Blog.

This is all being narrated by Tim, and recorded by me.

Best quote of the night, from a conversation between Tim and Ellie.

Daddy, you're not the bestest daddy.
Who is the bestest daddy?
Who's the bestest mommy?
Who's the second bestest daddy?

Daddy, I love you. I don't love your face, it's yucky.
(a few minutes later)
Daddy, you are the bestest daddy. And I love your face, it's silly.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Something New Every Day.

Elizabeth Beans is turning into a real grown up girl more and more before my eyes. She's a little kid now! Not a toddler or a baby! And it seems like every week, she's got something new going on.

All of this watching of the Winter Olympics has me thinking about winter sports, and how different it is growing up in California versus growing up on the East Coast. Tim and I went ice skating once when we were first dating, and he said he would be fine because he'd rollerbladed as a kid. Yeah. He needed me to hold his hand around the rink (and not just for mushy hand holding reasons) and then he went down like a ton of bricks and nearly broke his arm. He refuses to get back on ice skates. Whereas I grew up across the street from a little vernal pool that would freeze over during the winter and provide a spot for decent ice skating every day after school. We have no such frozen pond across the street from our house now, so I decided to take Ellie to a nearby ice rink to see what she thought. She was very excited about the idea, even if it meant she missed out on Tuesdays with Mimi (Mimi got some snuggling in with Adam while we were gone.)

It was pretty fun. She was happy to put on the skates, and we got out on the ice, with me trying to keep her up right for half a lap of the ice. She is heavy, and I realized she wasn't learning how to balance, just hanging on me. So I went and got her a bunch of Home Depot buckets that they had for kids to push around the ice. And ugh, it was tough. I spent another lap (which took ten minutes) skating back wards and pulling the bucket forward, as she just slid along behind, sobbing and saying she hated it any time that she fell. But by the end of a half hour or so, this happened:

She lasted a total of maybe 45 minutes on the ice, smiling when skating was going well, sobbing any time she hit the deck. Still, it was really fun! I forgot how great ice skating is. Perhaps I will have to get Tim up to speed so we can do some couples skating. Or I can just skate actual circles around him.

Her other latest talent is FINALLY being able to pedal her big wheel. We've started letting her ride in the street of Gigi's culdesac (with supervision, obviously) and for the longest time, she'd be happy to ride down from their house, but then get lazy when she had to pedal against the small incline back towards the house. Any sort of out door cycling resulted in one of us walking behind her big wheel, giving her a push every ten steps. Now, she's got it! Pedaling around like a mad woman, and enjoying having Adam in the car car next to her (we do sometimes use the car car to give her a shove.)

This video was supposed to be capturing how excited he gets about being in a street gang with her. He was bouncing up and down and shouting with baby joy. Until I got the camera out, obviously.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Movie Film.

It seems like all of our little preschool friends have been going to see Frozen, to rave reviews. I have been hesitant about taking Ellie to a movie, mostly because Mimi and Pa took her see Despicable Me 2 a few months ago and it was a wash. And because half the time she will wander in to bother me midway through an episode of Sesame Street, instead of being a proper zombie like I need. She's a mover and a shaker, not so much a watcher. Even while traveling, we haven't been able to get her to really engage in a movie for any length of time, despite her love of Tim's tablet.

But there was a Frozen singalong being shown in a theater near us, and Kristen and Lexi were set to go, so I just hoped that with the singing allowed, Ellie's talking or fussing wouldn't be a deal breaker, so we set off yesterday, with Ellie dressed to the nines in her new Hello Kitty wear.

Hello Kitty is our feline overlord. Also, when I look at this picture I feel like I am getting a glimpse at what 12 year old Ellie is going to be like.

Auntie Sara joined us at the theater, and we had lots of popcorn and snacks to keep everyone occupied. Ellie did okay - not great, and I wouldn't take her to a movie again for awhile. She liked the singing, but she wasn't following the story and got bored pretty quickly. It also didn't really help that we were at the theater during what is normally her nap time (I had hoped maybe if she was tired, she'd just snuggle up with me and zone out.) At several points towards the end, she told me she wanted to leave, but we stuck it out and ultimately had a nice time.

And THEN, a dance party in downtown San Juan before heading out.

So. The verdict is that I am not taking her to a movie again for awhile, but I'm glad we went! And then around 5:30, she totally melted into a pile of exhausted goo and we put her to bed an hour and a half earlier than normal. At least it made me feel like I'm not crazy for still making her nap every day. Clearly, she needs it.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


We had a wonderful Valentine's Day. Well, except for the part where Adam woke up at 6am and decided that THE DAY SHOULD START RIGHT NOW. Good thing he's cute! The painters were here most of the day, fixing the last piece of fachia (spelling?) board and doing the final touch ups, mostly with our fabulous "Vulcan Blue" paint. I am really, really pleased with how everything looks. Final pictures will come when we get the gates installed and painted this upcoming week. I am feeling so disgustingly house proud this past week, probably a combo of the painting, and the fact that while Ellie was over at Gigi's house I got everything cleaned fairly well (mostly because I didn't want the workers to think I was a lazy turd, sitting on the couch while Adam napped.)

The patio cover has already made a huge difference in the temperature of the family room.

Usually this portion of the family room is a sun drenched sweat lodge. Now, not so much.

It's funny to me that while the back side of the house is so much shadier and cooler, the front side is much brighter, since we had the willow trimmed (high and tight, as Tim likes to say.)

But back to our Valentimes - in the morning we went for a run, and this very nice lady offered Ellie a mylar balloon shaped like a bear. Ellie was all over it, because she said it was a friendly bear. I spent the next two miles with the dang thing smacking me in the face or arm. I was surprised my sweat didn't wear off the paint.

Once we were all cleaned up, we went over to Lexi's for a Valentines Day celebration with our besties:

The dapper Dans

The ladies, doing some good snacking

We brought some lemon cupcakes that we'd made the night before and decorated in the morning. It was a fun project for Ellie.
She is getting so good at baking. She can now crack her own eggs (best to check for shell before you continue mixing though) and she is learning how to do a level measure. Her only real problem is that she doesn't look to make sure she has the measuring cup fully over the lip of the bowl before she turns it over. I spend a lot of time saying "no big deal, we can clean it up."

Here she is applying jimmies, and smiling her "creepy smile." She is a nut. And for those wondering at home - I already owned all of these heart shaped things, before Valentines. We like to be festive around here.

Since we were making lemon cake, I joked that we should let Adam taste a slice of lemon and take pictures of his sure to be ridiculous face.
He bit straight in and cried for more, the weird little dude.

And after nap time, we went to the mailbox and found that Mila had sent us all a tasty Valentine present!

The kids had dinner with Gigi and Grizz, and we had a small dinner party. Dawn and Jake came over, and Dawn made a veritable feast for us and three other friends. We had baked brie as an appetizer (YUM) and then beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts and wine, all cooked to perfection. I made sticky toffee pie and for once, DID NOT BURN IT. It was a major triumph. And when things wound down, we sat outside on the new patio and chatted. A lovely, lovely Valentines.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Today's the big day! Making the house beautiful day! New patio cover day! And tree trimming day! And still painting day! It's a good thing I am such a capable construction foreman. The patio cover has only been up for a few hours now, but I can already feel the difference it's going to make in the family room. It's so much more comfortable (because while the rest of America freezes, I almost had to run the AC yesterday.)

Looks nice from the inside too! (and you can see Lulu on the arm of the recliner - she insisted on following me around the house, meowing at me. Just to make sure that I was safe!)

Our Australian willow, all trimmed and beautiful. It's one of my favorite parts of the house.

Not pictured - a giant, obnoxious and useless tree that was cut down in its prime (you can reference a picture from the other day to see what it looked like.)

They just cleared the dead out of the pine. The guy was up in the cherry picker, basically using a chain saw like a barber uses scissors.

It's quite the pile!

The second biggest improvement in my opinion is the side yard, where we had the old cover and fences taken down. At first, I thought not having the little fence was going to force us to look at the trash cans all the time. It's really not that bad, and having all of that rotted junk out of the way makes the side yard seem enormous!



You can also see that we had the out door light fixtures replaced. Before they were cheap motion sensors that NEVER stayed lit long enough to do anything in the back yard. Now we have some lovely lanterns that will stay on!

Huge thanks to Gigi for volunteering to pick up Ellie from preschool so she could go and nap in a quiet place. Goodness knows, around noon today certainly was not quiet at this house! Adam has been a very good boy about it all - he took a nice long morning nap (which I spent cleaning) and then we had lunch and he went back to sleep just before everyone finished up and left.

He also did some supervising with Grizz. It's funny - I had just been wondering to myself if my dad was going to stop by, or if this is a low enough budget job that he doesn't feel like coming over to bust anyone's chops, when I heard the front door open and him yell hello. He takes good care of us.

The painters say they're going to be 90% finished by the end of the day, and the new side gates are set to be installed on Tuesday morning. So hopefully we'll have everything buttoned up by the end of the day Wednesday, depending on when the painters can come back to paint the gates. Now the next tasks are finding patio furniture, and having poor Ricardo come over and help me figure out what to do with my dried up, weedy hellhole of a yard. Probably should just put in astroturf.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Primed and Painted.

The painters have been here for a few days, doing some good work around the house. There's a lot of stucco patching, and almost all of the wood pieces needed to be completely replaced on the sides of the house, either from dry rot or from termites. This place is a hellhole!

I am really pleased with how it's all looking! The yellow we picked is a great match for the existing house color (obviously we are having the entire house painted, but we wanted to stick as close to the original color as possible) and the blue really pops against it.

Here is a crummy before photo from a cloudy afternoon. All of the red (except for the roof, obviously) are going to be painted blue - the eaves, that piece above the garage, and the bench that runs underneath the kids bedroom windows.

Beautiful, welcoming blue door!

Cheery (but not TOO cheery) yellow on the back side of the house. That little shelf under the kitchen window is going to be painted blue, as is the side door into the garage.

The painters are hoping to be mostly finished by the end of the day. Tomorrow the patio cover workers are coming to put the patio cover in, AND the tree company is coming to clean up two trees and take out another. AND the painters should be finishing up in the front. That will leave only new gates, and new landscaping and we'll be done. This whole project has been much quicker and easier than I thought, and it's already been such a big improvement.

Of course, now things looking nice outside makes me want to re-do the bathrooms post haste. Except for the part where we'd have construction inside the house and actually be redoing the bathrooms. I don't want to make any more design choices! I just want them done! I guess the saving grace is that the guest bathroom is the better looking of the two, and so people rarely go in and see our cheap and garish looking master bathroom of shame (with bonus cat fur, because Thor spends 80% of his life sleeping on the counter in there.)

Today we had a trip to visit the knitters at Granny Janny's, since Adam was napping through lunch. While we were hanging out, Jan mentioned to Ellie about a raccoon who had left muddy foot prints on her deck, so on the way home I got to listen to an extended narrative about raccoons and possums. Raccoons have long claws and they scratch lots of things. Trees. Decks. Rocks. Plants. And then out of nowhere, Ellie asks "mama, do you know what color is possum barf?" Umm... no. Hadn't thought about it. Apparently, it's white, per Ellie. From when a possum gets an upset tummy. That kid loves varmints.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Talkin' about Drinkin'

Me: what do you want for breakfast?
Ellie: hot chocolate!
Me: no, not hot chocolate. How about porridge?
Ellie: yes! And can I have a drink?
Me: sure you can. 
Ellie: hot chocolate is a drink!

Ellie: Mommy, do you love coffee?
Me: I sure do! I LOOOOOOVE coffee.
Ellie: Does coffee love you?
Me: Yup, it does.
Ellie: Mommy, don't be silly. Coffee's not a PERSON! 
Me: Coffee still takes better care of me than some people.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sunday Funday.

Sadly, we have not been to the petting zoo this weekend - we have been busy else where! I know, hard to believe. Today we went to a third birthday party that featured a great bounce house, some lovely cake, and a pinata full of stamps, which Ellie is raring to use after nap time.

Yesterday we invited ourselves over to Mimi and Pa's for dinner, because we are pests. And because Mimi and Pa like spending time with their grandkids for some reason. Ellie, Eileen and I went for a walk around the lake to visit the ducks, and got to see the sun set beautifully over the lake.

Land of Gracious Living indeed!

It was a really nice evening catching up and hanging out. Everyone was very impressed with Adam's enthusiastic stair crawling, and then during bath time, Tim and I got sprung to relax for an hour, so we went and had a cocktail and ate a mixing bowl sized ice cream sundae at Kenos down the road. I've always jokingly asked Tim why he never takes me to Kenos (picture a Denny's, but with a bar/lounge section) and now he has! I can die happy now.

We've also been moving along on the house front. The house was power washed on Friday, and then the guys have been here today repairing some of the dry rot and termite damage to the wood parts, and fixing up the stucco in places, like where the old cover once lived. Tim and I picked our paint colors yesterday (that's right, we waited until basically they were ready to paint) and the house is going to continue to be a pale yellow with white trim, but we are changing the parts that are currently rust colored to a medium blue, and we're also painting the front door blue. I think it's going to look great when all is said and done. They are planning on starting installation of the actual patio cover on Thursday. I will say, after two indoor improvement projects, it's really nice that everything is out in the yard, so I don't spend every evening sweeping up dry wall and cursing about the mess my house has become. Now it's just our usual, regular mess of cat hair and cheerios.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Couch Problems.

Was taking myself a nice, relaxing shower this morning, when all of a sudden I had a sobbing three year old standing on the other side of the shower door. She told me she'd had an accident, and I assured her it was no big deal, and started taking off her PJs so she could jump into the shower and rinse off. And then she informed me that she'd peed on the couch. GREAT. I got her rinsed off and went to go check the damage, hoping that she'd just peed a little bit, but no, she peed all over a cushion. Thankfully, when I got the cover off, it had caught most of the mess. And it's just a couch.

Then later when we were driving, she started asking me about what had happened to her jammies, and I told her I threw them in the laundry. And we had the following conversation:

Her: I only peed on my pants!
Me: You peed on your pants, and your undies, and your socks. And the couch.
Her: But I didn't pee on my shirt!
Me: Well, good work then. I still put it in the laundry.
Ellie: Why did you put it in the laundry?
Me: It's just best to be safe.
Her: But... maybe I could wear it tonight.
Me: That's not happening.
Her: Maybe I will wear my other Hello Kitty jammies.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Speaking of Bears.

Today, as a belated birthday celebration, we took Auntie Sara to Build a Bear so that she and Ellie could each make a stuffed animal of their own choosing. Sara may be 31, but she loves a good stuffed animal for snuggling, just like her little pal Ellie. In fact, Sara will often share her stuffed animals if Ellie is in need at nap time.

I didn't know how Ellie was going to do. I figured it could be one of those experiences that I get all jazzed about, but she is absolutely horrified by, or it could be a dream come true. Thankfully, it was great. Ellie quickly picked out a bunny (SURPRISE) and then was interested in getting the bunny all fluffed up, and filled with "bunny guts" (a few months ago purple bunny sprung a leak over night and I had to explain to her that it was bunny guts, as I pushed purple bunny's stuffing back in and sewed up his back.)

Gut machine

She also liked making a wish on the little heart that they have you put inside your animal

Sara picked a tie dye rainbow bear, and both ladies got tutus for their animals. Sara's bear is named Rainbow, and Ellie's rabbit is named... wait for it... BUNNY!

They were quite the happy pair

Adam was hanging out in the ergo the entire time - we did not opt to get him a stuffed animal, because he really only has eyes for lambykins.

Oh, and ice cream. He was all about the ice cream treat we had afterwards.

The kids have been making me a little nutso the past week. Adam is going through a bit of separation anxiety and so he spends a lot of time chasing me around the house if I do something monstrous like go into the kitchen to make breakfast, or leave the bathroom and walk over to the dresser to go put on pants after a shower. And if he's not chasing me and whining, he's pulling up on me and whining. And then there's Ellie talking a mile a minute - asking the same questions over and over again, or repeating something four times after I acknowledge what she said (ten times if I don't respond right away.) My ears hurt, and my poor head might explode. It reminds me of an old episode of the Simpsons, where the kids are all acting up in the car and Marge finally yells "STOP SAYING THINGS!" Even when I ask Ellie to be quiet for a minute, she will pause long enough to suck in some more air, and go right back to talking. Or asking her to be quiet because Adam is sleeping gets me about four seconds of quiet before she does something loud enough to wake him. Add to that, she is a sometimes naughty three year old, and my sanity can only handle so much. We are a bunch of nuts.

Monday, February 3, 2014

How Octopus and Bears are Related.

...or not. Subtitled: conversations with a three year old.

Scene: we are driving home. Ellie has been quiet for most of the drive (unbelievably. Probably because she had the end of a slice of pizza.)
Ellie: What does an octopus eat?
Me: Fish.
Ellie: Oh. Like a penguin.
Me: Yup.
Ellie: Or a bear. Mommy, do you know who doesn't like bears?
Me: Who?
Ellie: Lisa. Lisa doesn't like bears. I don't like them either. Does Adam like bears?
Me: I think he does.
Ellie: Bears like to sleep a lot.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Project Backyard Day One!

Side patio demo!



Farewell, our dry rotted friends.

Thanks for an entertaining morning!