Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Pictures.

From the 23rd, at Pa's birthday party:
Ellie now enjoys Santa. Even moreso since he brought her star earrings.

Adam, not so much.

Focker family fun!

And here's all the kids. Adam is off screaming.

Christmas Eve at Gigi and Grizz's
Adam loved this little musical Christmas tree of Sara's. And her hat.

The kids in their matching Christmas jammies, "helping" everyone else open their presents. 

And after all of the holiday carnage, pause for a photo with Gigi and Grizz. The Anna doll from Auntie Sara was a huge hit. Also, when I look at these photos, it's really obvious why the Thiels think Adam is a carbon copy of his grandfather.

Here. Perhaps this picture will help you see it better. Adam is doing his badger impression.

Santa brought Ellie a Frozen bike! A big girl bike! She loves it.

Adam got a scooter, but was more impressed with the new babies who came in the basket

Achieve ramming speed!

This morning we had everyone over for brunch, and I managed to have the entire meal ready to go by the time they arrived, except for the fried eggs, which were perfectly prepared by the Eggman (Grizz) yet again. Ellie was so excited to show off her bike and play with everyone, and it was nice to eat and relax together while the kids were at their best (before the real exhaustion set in.) They did thankfully take naps, though it was hard to pry Adam out of their new playhouse that Mimi and Pa gave them. And then back to Mimi and Pa's for a holiday celebration with the family. Ellie rode her bike, bossed Nina and Thalia around a little and did legos. They both had a great time, and now I'm hoping we can spend the next few days catching up on sleep and exercise. Or I am going to have to spend all of my Christmas money on tents - both for wearing and for napping.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas, Part One!

I promise photos at a later date (by the 27th, I promise!) but for now, just an update about the past week.

In negligent parenting information, Tim and I got to go away this weekend, for TWO WHOLE NIGHTS. It was divine. I mean, being able to sleep in for two nights and being fancy free from responsibility for two days - we could have gone to a rocky hole in the ground and just laid there, in the pouring rain, and it would have been like a fantastic tropical paradise. I mean - we got delayed in the airport for two hours and it was amazing how easy it felt, because all I had to do was sit and read my book. No one was pulling on me or running around or peeing their pants or crying. Or rather, if they were, they weren't my problem.

But rather than just going to a hole in the ground, we flew into San Francisco, spent the morning poking around the city with Becca, went into a jewelry store (where I tried on a $175,000 diamond ring) and then Brian landed at SFO, picked up our rental car and squired us away to the Napa Valley, where our mission was to eat at the world renown French Laundry restaurant. Becca and I have both made eating there a life goal, and through a couple of days of diligently calling their reservation line (reservations open up two months in advance) she was able to get us a seating! Sunday afternoon we had a tour and tasting of Nickel and Nickel winery and then had lunch at a little pub place, and then went home to take naps and clean up and get ready to eat.

The meal was amazing. It's course after course of beautiful, perfect food. Small portions, but cooked beautifully and with these amazing sauces and garnishes - all I wanted to do was make sure that I got a bit of every delicious element in each bite. We were there eating, drinking, talking and laughing for four hours. It was truly an unforgettable experience. If you request, you can go tour the kitchen, and we actually spoke with Chef Thomas Keller. When he asked what had happened to Brian (he sprained his ankle at work and was on crutches) I immediately sassed "I hit him with my car."

On Monday we traveled back to Orange County. The kids had done really well, but Thor got spooked while Gigi was trying to give him an insulin injection and he turned and bit her several times in the hand, and it immediately got infected. So Monday she went to urgent care for treatment, and I got a text mid-day from my dad that my mom was going to lay down and he was in charge of the kids. Thankfully, Gigi's hand is on the mend, and Thor wrote her a letter of apology. He's not a mean animal, he is just SO DUMB and when he spooks, he goes feral, and sadly, he went feral on Gigi. Thankfully, she's lived a lifetime with bitey cats. None with as germy of a mouth though, I guess. I knew Ellie would have a blast and not miss us, but I was worried about Adam. Apparently he took it all in stride, though when he woke up from his nap on Sunday he ask "no mommy? No daddy? No mommy? No daddy?" and then accepted when Gigi told him "nope, just Gigi!"

Since then it's been all holidays, all the time. Yesterday morning we had a dozen kids and their moms over for a cookie decorating party to get ready for Santa. I swept the floor before everyone arrived to deal with all of the cat fur and play doh, and then I swept after they left because there were sprinkles and sugar sequins all over the ground. It was a really fun morning with a house full of craziness. And then we got everyone down for a nap and then off to Mimi and Pa's house for the Parmordsen party/Pa's birthday. Ellie was so excited to see everyone and then SANTA came, and he had the STAR EARRINGS that she's been asking for all season! Much screaming when I took out her original studs, but her new earrings are in and looking and feeling fabulous. She gave Santa a huge hug, but Adam cried when we put him anywhere near the jolly old man. The kids both lasted until almost ten, and that was even after Ellie demanded that the whole party move out to Mimi's new front patio to have a dance party. She cracks me up.

This morning was slightly quieter. We cleaned up around the house and Adam took two naps, and then after everyone was rested up, we went over to Gigi and Grizz's to open presents. Ellie could barely hold herself together, waiting to tear into everything, whether it belonged to her or not. She just loves to "help." It was fun to watch how thrilled they were with everything, from Adam and his new broom to Ellie and her traffic cones to set up and knock down. Plus all the peppermint patties they could eat! They are both at such a sweet age. Adam loves saying "ho ho ho" and is trying to say Merry Christmas, and Ellie has truly fallen in love with all of the magic, though she worries me with how smart she is and how much she remembers. I feel like I have to be verrrrrrry careful, beceause one slip up and she's going to figure out how the Santa Sausage is made.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Video Updates.

Last night was Ellie's Christmas concert, and it was as usual, so cute that I wanted to burst into tears with the sweetness of it all. Her teachers do so much to make it a nice night - snacks and drinks and all of our little kiddos, singing their hearts out. Sara and Gigi had a Special Olympics event and weren't able to make it, but Ellie had Grizz, Mimi and Pa in the audience, which she loved. She's so funny - she told Grizz about how Paige is her best friend in class, but "Paige is not a good singer like me." That kid, she's got her mom's teflon self esteem and ego.

The other great part is how she told me several times over the week "Mommy. We made a present for you, and I give it to you after I finish singing. But it's a surprise."

Not to be outdone, but here is a video of my pal Adam talking it up. He is such a goof. The past week or so I can't shower without him bothering me, so it's easier to just let him in for a soak. And yesterday while running we got caught in the rain so I had BOTH kids begging to come in with me and warm up. There is no peace in this house!

Today after I picked Ellie up from school, we went to go see the knitters for a bit. It's harder now that Ellie is in school on Wednesdays, but it's always a treat when we can see them all. Today they were at Janet's, which we all love because WEINER DOGS. Four weiner dogs to be exact. Ellie loved petting them all, and Adam loved telling them to quit barking. And the dogs loved having some kids right at face licking level.

Then we went upstairs to see all of Janet's Christmas decorations and in one of the extra bedrooms were a few knit dolls that Jill had made. To be specific, there were Anna and Elsa knit dolls. Ellie immediately scooped them up and asked to take them home, and Janet said she could have them. Those ladies, so sweet. They spoil the dickens out of my kiddos. Janet even had a knit kitty that Adam picked up and started kissing.

Life doesn't really get any better, does it?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Goofy Grapes.

Adam is talking more and more every day. It's so funny what he's picked up on, and it's also funny to me how he has a sort of breathy, yet yelly voice, unlike Ellie who was all muppet all the time. He loves to ask for toothpaste and to "brush teeth." He loves Cookie and Elmo from Sesame Street, and can name most animals and the sounds they make. He adores the 'no man on our tree, and when we pass the 'no man holiday yard decorations around town. He also likes to touch the lights and say hot. Ditto the stove, though it's never stopped him from wanting to be right next to me any time I'm cooking. I swear, he's got radar. He can be across the house and when I go to open the oven door, there he is, coming around the corner, looking to hop right in like Hansel and Gretel.

Tonight the kids and I were on our own - Gigi and Grizz had hot date night (the one night a week they escape their wretched daughters and grandchildren) and Tim is working late, so we came home, had some supper and then went on a special tour of the lights in the neighborhood. Just a quick little loop, but I gave the kids some hot chocolate to sip in their stroller. Ellie was insane with joy, but Adam didn't like it. The crazy thing is, we went down one side street and Ellie goes "that's the house that has Elmo." We walked by that house ONCE at the holidays last year. ONCE. And she was right - there Elmo was, along with approximately one million other light up figures. Goodness knows what else that kid has stored up in her brain. I'm sure I'll hear about it in therapy soon.

It's also funny trying to watch her figure out what's going on with the holidays. She believes in Santa and the Angel Lady and all of that fun stuff, but has a lot of questions about how they show up - like how did the Angel Lady get to Mimi's house last week? Does she sing while she flies? How did St. Nicolas get in? He came in through the window, probably. I feel like I have to be really careful because one slip, and she's going to pounce on it. Too smart for her own good, that kid!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Parties for Everyone!

Sometimes, the stars align and we get to ditch our kids and go have wonderful adult time AND the kids are so busy having fun of their own that they hardly notice we're gone. Last night was Tim's company holiday party and also Winterfest in Yorba Linda. Mimi and Pa generously offered to not only take the kids to play at Winterfest but also keep both of them overnight, so that Tim and I could go party like childless rock stars.

It was funny because Ellie didn't realize we also had a hot date - all she's been talking about is Winterfest. And yesterday morning I started teasing her, saying that she couldn't go and stay over with Mimi because I'd miss her too much and she got all serious and looked in my face and said "mommy. Sometimes I just have to go spend time with my grandparents. Just like sometimes you have to go spend time with your girlfriends!" Winterfest had food, hot cocoa, pony rides, a petting zoo, a hayride AND snow. The kids had a great time playing and petting and riding and basically living in a winter wonderland.

In the meanwhile, Tim and I got a hotel in Anaheim so that we could get as drunk as we wanted at the Disneyland Hotel. Also, a few weeks ago I was farting around at the mall and bought an insane sequined dress because I sent Tim a picture of it and said "if we renewed our vows, this is what I would want to wear" and he told me to get it. Thankfully, the party is one where if you want to wear a floor length sequined dress, you can do it and no one thinks you are loon (or rather, they do think you're a loon, but also appreciate your moxie.)

Dress fancily, we ate, we drank, we danced, we chatted with everyone, and I convinced Tim to hold his coworkers like babies, which is always my favorite. Everyone loves when a giant sized man holds an average sized man in his arms!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


"Mommy, I don't have very good yawns. Because when I yawn, my mouth wants to drool. Don't do that, mouth!"

"Oh look, there's Lulu! Daddy, cats are free spirits!"

"Mommy! Can I tell you something? I have a great idea! We could have a Christmas party in here, and dance to THE BEST CHRISTMAS SONG EVER. That one you played the other day!"

Monday, December 1, 2014

Boogerhead Fred.

Well, our run of good health with the kids has come to an end - I had to make my first sick baby visit today and take Adam in because his runny nose and smokers cough had gotten a little more extreme than I was comfortable with. He actually coughed so hard that he threw up on himself. Thankfully, it's nothing major - a little ear infection and a bad cold that was caught before it migrated into anything else. The doc wrote him a script for some antibiotics, which I picked up tonight while watching some high as a kite 20 year old boys try to score pain pills. Nice work gentleman, I appreciate having to wait in line behind you.

The big bummer is that Adam had to miss the Christmas train tonight. Judd is missing it too, so it's just the three girls and their dads (and Sara Jo, making sure everyone stays on track.) Hopefully Ellie will have a fun time!

We got our tree on Saturday afternoon (after trying to go on Friday and being told that the trees weren't out yet. Much sobbing ensued from my small friend.) There was less sobbing during decorating time. Adam has been remarkably good about not tearing things down. Thor has already eaten a bunch of pine needles and thrown them up everywhere. Ellie has already broken an ornament. Business as usual! She also told me that her stocking is actually the one mom made for me. I will switch with her, I guess.

Playing with Grandma Pat's nativity

Our Thanksgiving was nice! We went over to Cathy's for apps and snacks and lots of family time, and managed to leave in a timely manner and make it to Jan's in time to help get things set up for supper. The food was great in both places, and the company was too. My favorite moment was when Ellie streaked through Jan's kitchen on her way to bath time, and I rat tailed her right in the cheeks with a dishtowel. Tomfoolery! Hijinks!