Monday, March 31, 2014

Little Bruins.

It's a bummer that UCLA got knocked out of March Madness (stupid Florida!) but last week we got visit with our other favorite true Bruin baby, Mila. Ellie LOVES Mila. Almost obsessively so, since the first time they met. Mila is five days older (and probably five pounds heavier) than Adam, and is already walking, which is just the cutest thing ever.

Mila is like "what are you two lunatics doing?"

Ellie shared her lunch with Mila, talked nonstop to Parissa about everything in her life, and was generally a doting big sister figure. My main group of three friends from college all have birthdays within two months of each other (and were all very late summer/early fall babies. It was weird for me to go from being the youngest in my class to the oldest in the group.) And now it's fantastic to see our kids grow up together. How quickly the time goes!

Friday, March 28, 2014

One Year Stats and Stories.

Adam went to the doctor yesterday and was once again found perfect - he's 19 1/2 pounds (25th percentile) and 29.75 inches tall (50th percentile.) His head is also in the 50th percentile, so growing right along schedule. For reference, he's a half an inch taller than one year old Ellie, but she was over 21 pounds. No wonder people who knew baby E can't believe how skinny Adam is! The doctor said that we could work on night weaning him. I'd be hesitant because he seems so skinny, but if she thinks he's okay, I am happy to cut off the food train at night. I am tiiiiiiiired.

A few Ellie funnies of late:

Ellie: I wear socks with my tennies, but not with my dancing shoes. I used to wear socks with my dancing shoes, because they hurt me, but now they don't.
Me: Well, beauty is pain.
Ellie: beauty is paint?
Me: No. Pain. Sometimes it hurts to be pretty.
Ellie: I'm pretty!
Me: And does it hurt you?
Ellie: Nope!

She also made up a real jazzy song the other day about "who pees in his pants? ADAM! Adam pees in his pants." I know I shouldn't laugh, but I couldn't help myself.

Oh, and she's finally quit crying at preschool drop off. She doesn't even lay on the floor and pretend to be miserable any more! The teachers say that in the past month she's really settled in and blossomed, and is making friends quickly, which I'm glad to hear. I think it's been a really good experience for her (and a wonderful break for me.)

The other day when we were running, I saw some bright orange koi swimming in the rain run off/scrummy "river" next to the trail, so I stopped to show them to Ellie. She told me that because they're orange, they're carrot fish. We also saw a snowy egret on that walk, and I also spotted a rat running along one of the fences. In Orange County, that qualifies as a nature hike.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

First Birthday Party!

Oh hello blog readers, look at who's a whole year old?

This is what the poor tired little snookie was doing at 12:49, when he actually turned one. And then he still stayed awake the whole car ride home, just to be contrary. He'll do that!

Because it was Taco Tuesday, and because Adam loves seasoned meat products, we had a little taco bar set up with some carne asada and Korean-style beef from Trader Joes, beans, cowboy caviar and salad for everyone to serve up. Mom brought ingredients for Moscow Mules for the adults (hee haw!) and I made an angel food cake for dessert, and with all of the egg yolks leftover, made some lemon curd. There was even enough for favors!

So I brought his cake over to his tray while we were singing, and when he went for the flame I moved his hand away.

And this happened.
Happy birthday kid! Happy, happy birthday. There were also two cans of whipped cream (one for Grizz and the kids, one for people who don't want to squirt it directly into their mouths.) Your standard family birthday party around here.

Ellie happily opened all of his presents for him, but did allow him to look at some of them and lick them.

The poor kiddo was so tired. He ended the night comforting himself the only way he knows how - sucking his thumb, with a finger up his nose.

But still, we were able to put together a good dance party.

Because if your party doesn't end with a dance party... your party is LAME.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

One Year in Fifteen Minutes

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They really do grow up so fast!

Adam is One!

Thank you all for your sweet thoughts about Grandpa. It still doesn't feel real due to distance. But I am thinking of him often, and it's comforting to hear everyone's memories.

From Howard William to Adam Howard - the cycle of life: today our little baby man turns one! I can hardly believe it! He is such a sweet little guy. Easy going, with a smile for everyone. He eats well, he naps well, and thankfully, he's sleeping better at night lately (I was about ready to sell him to the circus.)

At one year old, Adam has eight (Miller horse) teeth. He crawls like crazy and has begun standing by himself from time to time, but to Grizz's chagrin, he won't take those first steps. He's a long, lean little guy. The thing that makes him laugh the hardest is when you pretend to devour his stomach, or blow raspberries on it. He claps, he's started waving, and he LOVES music. Whereas in music class at this age, Ellie would sit stone faced and maaaaybe, shake a toy if I was lucky, Adam is all over the room, on a mission to lick and shake and take every instrument. I follow behind with a wipe and an apology. He adores family dance time, and family in general. I love seeing how excited he gets for someone he knows.

He is also the naughtiest little guy. With Ellie, nothing was baby proofed because she simply refused to be out of my sight. She couldn't get into anything because she was too busy crying to be held. But Adam is a mess. He knows how to pull my diaper bag off the bench in the entry way, dig through it, take out my wallet and open my wallet. If there's a cord available, he wants to chew it. He follows me when I vacuum with the intent to chew on the plug when I'm not looking. He also loves to chew shoes, and play with the Road ID tag on my running shoes. He thinks the oven is a toy, and wants to be in every kitchen cabinet. He eats cat food, and if he's not eating cat food, he's overturning their water (but only if it's full to the brim.) Yesterday he dumped over an entire 12oz of (thankfully iced) coffee all over the end table in the Pretty Room (ie: where I keep all of the coffee table and memory books. The only coffee table with nice things on it.) He's figured out how to stand up in his high chair, so I can't even just stick him there with Cheerios any more. Carpet? Yeah, he wants to pull that out of the floor and eat that. He wants to be in the shower. He wants to be in the toilet. And he is FAST so a lot of this naughtiness happens in the time it takes me to rush to the bathroom and rush back. I could do a whole blog just on the messes that are made in the three minutes I'm using the bathroom in the morning on my way out the door.

But he's also so happy to go along. He still rides in the ergo like a champ (though today I found that he's chewed a hole in it!) He's a good little friend on our daily runs, and fairly good in the car. He adores his big sister, and will "hand hold" with her, though yesterday in the car she said something to him sharply and he responded with a serious of "hey, check yourself!" grunts, which made me laugh. He'll eat basically whatever you put in front of him, and already has some mastery going with a fork!

He is also the biggest snuggle bug. When he's tired, he'll tuck his head into your shoulder and suck his thumb and just relax. He loves to be held and rocked, and has been that way from day one. He's just so easy. I was so worried about having another baby, after the difficult, colicky days that were Ellie's first months, but he has been a welcome change from those moments. Sure it's been hard, and sure I've been tired, but overall, he makes me feel like less of a hack, less of a loser as a mom. I'm sure part of it is being an experienced parent, but it has been a relief to get an "easy" baby this time around. I guess I was meant to be the mom of two!

This morning we went for a walk and then Mimi came over for a special bonus Tuesdays with Mimi. We got all fancied up and went to the mall to meet the Easter bunny. Adam unfortunately skipped his nap, so the combo of tired plus huge rabbit led to this:

NO LIKEY. Ellie (in her obnoxious flower and sequin dress from Sears) was all about the bunny this year. She says they are going to get married, in fact. I hope Adam will recover in time to accept the rabbit as his brother in law. He calmed down pretty fast and sat nicely with us at lunch. We've done the Easter bunny and Nordstrom Cafe for four years now, and it's so fun to see Ellie turn from a baby until a lovely little lunch guest, eating her grilled cheese and tomato soup and chit chatting with us non stop. We walked the mall and played in the little mall play ground, and Mimi got Adam a cute liner for his Easter basket. All in all, a successful morning.

Now the kiddos are napping and I must go to finish cleaning my house before the party. More photos tomorrow!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Grandpa Pampa.

My sweet, funny, kind hearted, smart aleck, Big Baldy of a Grandpa passed away yesterday morning at the age of 83. We had known it was coming for awhile - it's been almost eight years since he had his stroke, and things were beginning to slow down, and he was ready to go. He went peacefully with my grandma, aunt and uncle with him.

I knew it was fairly imminent, but when my dad called to tell me, it suddenly felt like something inside of me was ripping open with the sad reality of the fact that he's gone. That I couldn't go and visit him if I wanted. That I won't ever hear him tease me or tell me I'm "such a girl" again. I feel like I've got some disbelief going on - and possibly because it's hard to wallow with two little ones keeping me busy - I anticipate that I'll be more of a mess when we actually get home at the end of April for the funeral. He had a good life though, well lived, and got to watch his kids and his grandkids grow up, and meet a couple of great grand babies. So I am mostly focusing on that, and enjoying reminiscing with my family. Grandpa certainly was a character, and one of his best attributes is that he was always able to laugh at himself. No one seemed to enjoy the "impressions of Grandpa" more than Grandpa himself.

See? I am probably telling some dumb joke, and he is still smiling at me.

What I wouldn't give for one of Grandpa's big bear hugs right now.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The First Day of Spring

Don't be fooled - she's only doing it to get a peppermint patty

Adam's only doing it because he wants to eat the antlers

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Slope Style Show Off.

Well, that went well.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Dinner Al Fresco

Our new patio set has arrived (well, the chairs at least. The table is on order, but they gave us a loaner to get us through.) We made beef taco bowls for St. Patricks Day. I don't know if you know this, but it's a traditional Irish favorite. At our house. Where people of Irish descent live.

We are really, really happy with it all. While I was inside putting together dinner, Tim was out grilling, Ellie was riding her trike up and down the length of the concrete and Adam was exploring the Cozy Coupe.

This is his new "big smile" face, which I absolutely love. He's a doll.

Here it is, close up (he's in the middle of destroying an entire taquito. When he wants, he's the best eater I've seen.)

And here are my two new most favorite pictures of Ellie:
She's big enough now that after an initial push, she can keep herself pumping and swinging. I am astonished every day at how quickly she's grown, and how much she can do for herself.

Like picking out the right accessories for her pajamas, so that she will not look foolish on our morning run.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Yard Work!

Yesterday Ricardo came with a truck full of plants and mulch, and helped in his quest to nurse our yard back to health. He put in grass seed a few weeks ago, and with all of the rain we had, they managed to hang on and sprout! There are still a few little patches that are working on improving, but they will hopefully come back to life, and we can reseed in the fall.

In the meanwhile, he planted a row of succulents along our back wall, leaving some spaces for the crepe myrtle trees we want to have planted. In the front, succulents under the windows, fresh mulch, and some existing plants moved and replanted for better coverage.

Grass babies in the front yard

Farewell scraggle plants, hello new friends!

And here's along the back

This morning Ellie went to the beach with Gigi, and so after Adam napped, Tim and I went to look at patio furniture. The time has come! On Mimi's recommendation we went to a little family owned place in Yorba Linda (where the owners talked about their 13 kids and 8 grand kids. So the place is small and family owned, but not a small family. YIPES.) It was a good, quick shopping trip. The chairs we liked best were a style that was being moved out, so we got a good deal and ended up getting eight chairs total (four rockers, four regular) and a large, non-glass topped table. I think it's really going to look nice, and they'll be able to deliver this week. I'm hoping with the later sunsets, we can have Adam's birthday dinner outside next week (NEXT WEEK. Excuse me while I go and ugly cry.)

I don't mean to belabor the point about the neighbor's trees, but I do very much miss them. I am excited about the trees we're going to put in - I know they'll be little and need years to grow, and it's only four trees, not a forest, but I think it's going to look really nice, and make me happy to see them from the kitchen window. I was looking through pictures to try to find a good one of what our yard looked like when we moved in, and while the great green back yard makes my heart pitter patter with a bit of sadness, it's funny to see how the rest of the house has changed.

We bought our house because it had good bones and was a place we could see starting and raising a family. We knew we'd redo the kitchen at some point, but didn't buy the house as something that we were immediately going to gut and repair and renovate in each room, but yet, when I look at the photos from our listing, every room in this house has changed in some way. Little things like paint and carpet and ceiling fans and lighting make a big difference, even if I don't automatically think of them when I think of "projects we've undertaken." And of course, I do love the kitchen. Almost every day when I walk in there and see the pretty wood cabinets, or use my new appliances, or wipe down the iridescent blue counter tops that are so ME, I feel glad about the make over. Even though we're not done, I feel the same way about the back yard. The patio cover is a life saver on so many levels - our living room is now livable, and we can sit outside and play with the kids. I have been loving sitting out there while Ellie pedals her trike back and forth, or gasses up her cozy coupe. She can let herself out of the sliding doors now, and I feel safe letting her play back there since the new side gates are too high for her to open. I can't wait to see how it's going to be this summer with our new furniture out back and Adam toddling around and both of them splashing in the water table and the wading pool. Though it's taken more money and work than I like to add up and contemplate, it has been wonderful watching this house become our home. And of course, more than the physical renovations, there's the family remodel as we've grown from a couple of DINKS to parents of a couple of wonderful, spirited, funny, sweethearted kids. We are so, so lucky.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Farewell, littlest Melonhead

The flight to Chicago got canceled yesterday, so we got one more lovely day with our little Miss Olivia, her parents and her Gigi. It was so nice! This morning on our walk, Ellie all of a sudden got very sad and said "I don't want Olivia to go!" and then cheered herself with the thought that we could go on a plane and visit her in Chicago.

In the meanwhile, everyone else got another day at the beach (on our walk today, Ellie also pointed out that "Gigi went to the beach with her friends, but not with me") and we had one more night of fun. We went on a trail walk, where Lisa rocked the Ergo for the first time, and rocked Olivia to sleep:

This is in contrast to Monday morning, when Olivia walked the trail near my house

Adam has been really funny with her - he's obviously intrigued, but shows his love by trying to flap his arms in her face, or chew on her feet. In a few months though, they should be good.

Last night we gave the little miss a nice kitchen hand towel and sat her up in the Bumbo, or as John aptly called it "the rubber sit up thing." We also put mom's old rattle between her toes, because that's what we do to babies in this family, apparently. She did a much better job than Ellie did, back in the day.

Now it's just back to life as normal. A fun Tuesday with Mimi, a nice long run this morning, lunch with the ladies, and as much napping as I can force upon them. I also forced the kids to come outside and have their picture taken in front of our bee-laden Indian Hawthorne bush.

I mean seriously, what am I supposed to do with this kid?

And how is it possible that this handsome little mister is nearly one?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Gigi!

We had lunch at Gigi's house today, and so started the day with a brief (freezing) swim. Ellie was so happy though, it's hard to tell her no. It was so lovely to just sit outside with everyone and eat and relax and chit chat. We had to come home to work on nap time (for everyone except Tim) and then it was back to Gigi's house for cocktails and appetizers, now in the front yard. Watching hummingbirds, riding big wheels, and just general having a good time.

Per Gigi's request, I had made her an angel food cake with an orange whipped cream frosting. I borked up the frosting and it looked terrible, but Gigi and Lisa report that it tastes like their 1960s memories, so at least it wasn't a total failure. We ordered pizza for dinner (YUM) and then of course, CAKE AND ICE CREAM

And who doesn't love a sexy man on their cake?

Even more important, who doesn't love a good dance party? We always love a dance party.

It's been such a fun weekend with the cousins, and Juan and Renee.

Ellie continues to be deeply in love with Olivia

And we're all having a good time. Not a bad looking group!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sing Song.

Ellie is big into singing lately. I had made a video of her singing along to Frozen, but those jerks at Disney took it off youtube because of copyright. Don't they know I'm a stock holder!?!? Suffice to say, she has learned all the words to all the songs, and wants to listen to them all the time. I mean, it's a good sound trac, and good songs, but I am TIRED of them. There's not that many, and there's two of them she doesn't like, so we can usually listen to the whole soundtrack in the time it takes to drive the seven miles between our house and my parents. NO FANKS. I am done.

She has also learned a new song, from Grizz. This morning as I was in my room, getting dressed, minding my own business, I learned a little muppet voice start singing "I see London, I see France, I see mommy's underpants!" Then as I pulled my jeans on, she asked "where'd your undies go?" I told her they were under my pants now, and her clever response was "yeah, that's where they stink." THANKS GRIZZ.

Today she wanted some pigtail braids. So cute!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

There's Something About Olivia!

Gigi and Grizz's house has turned into one big par-tay with the recent arrival of Juan and Renee, Great Lisa, and Kate, Jimi and BABY OLIVIA, all in town for Gigi's upcoming birthday (John arrives tonight.) It has been really fun to see all of the little cousins together, and to see what wonderful sweet parents Kate and Jimi are.

Ellie and Adam are pretty enthralled with their little friend. Ellie is big on kissing her and wanting to hold her. Adam is big on... trying to poke her in the face, or climb into Kate's lap while Kate is trying to feed, burp, or comfort the screaming ham sandwich. Adam is also trying to teach her how to be a person - today he started crying, then she started crying. He took a big poop, so she pooped too. TWINSIES!

Check out the 2013 cousins, giving each other the eye.

And here's just all the girls. Since girls rule, and boys drool.

Fine Adam, you can hop in. JUST THIS ONCE.