Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Paling Around.

Only the best uncles get promoted to great uncle. Fun fact: John was a name we seriously considered when naming Adam Howard. But we thought since I already have an uncle and cousin by the same name, we'd give Adam a name all his own. Still, looks like they enjoy each other.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Day Photography

The kids slept in well enough and woke up ready and raring on Christmas morning. As usual, the favorite toy for Adam was a cheap stocking stuffer.

And then he tried to use it on Ellie. She got a spirograph from Santa! This is in no way related to her mom's love of spirograph. Just a happy coincidence. 

Post brunch dance party!

Also some tea party action

Mimi and Poppy and Jake came over afterwards, and in addition to some loud driving around of new RC cars, there were some quiet moments of reading (Adam is reading to Jake, obviously.)

He also got a chance to snuggle with his godfather Daniel, home from college, at Cathy's that evening. And Hailee got to come along and run around with the scrum of little girl cousins.

Today in big fun, Adam got to have a day with Grizzy, the cousins all went up to LA to tool around, and Gigi took Ellie, Hailee, Aunt Betty and Grandma Rosie to the American Girl store at the Grove for tea with their dolls.

Which, it seems like they had quite the good time. The Grandmas came home as enthused as the girls, and they didn't even get any matching clothes for them and their dolls!

I got to eat Diddy Reese and spend the day with my cousins and their spouses. Everyone wins!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve!

A crazy night of opening presents, including the cousins White Elephant, in which Kari and David ended up exchanging the toilet themed items that they'd brought...

And in the morning, perhaps Santa will leave something for these two cute little elves.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy Birthday Poppy!

Here's to 70 more wonderful years!

Here is the poem that Tim and Jake wrote and read for their dad tonight, after a rousing game of Don Ford/1945 trivia.

To see the world through dad’s eyes
Is to see the world as great.
Every person does their best
No hearts are filled with hate.
But look too long through dad’s eyes
You’ll want to turn and run
You’ll find that every word you speak
Is a groan-inducing pun

To see the world through dad’s eyes
Is to find the good in other folks
If you deprecate yourself
He likely won’t get the joke
To count ourselves among his friends
Is a monumental treasure
To see us grow and lead good lives
Is his life’s greatest pleasure

To see the world through dad’s eyes
Is to see it pure and good
An optimistic view for sure
Not often understood
But I also see the world his way
You might think us both mad
How could this world be any better
When you have him for a dad

Also, good news, Adam and Santa made up. Though I think in the end, Adam's favorite part person of the night was Uncle Brad, who gave him a tickle attack and had a pillow fight with him. Tomorrow, finally some time with the Thiel cousins!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Vacation.

It all starts tomorrow! Tim took the day off of work, we have Poppy's 70th birthday party in the evening (I hear Santa might come!) and the Thiels are on their way in from Wisconsin for the first Christmas with our cousins in twenty five years (I hope this year Santa brings me a present that's as awesome as the Samantha doll I got back then! Or maybe I'll just bust Samantha out and play with her. OR let Ellie bring her to the American Girl cafe on the 26th.)

This morning we went over to Nicole's house and decorated a whole bunch of cookies for Santa. It's the fourth year we've been doing it with those girls and their little ones, and it runs smoother every year - the kiddos had a blast, and it was nice to have a glass of champagne and some lunch with some mom friends who I sadly haven't seen in awhile - things just feel so crazy now that everyone's in preschool!

The kids have been loving having Grandma Rosie in town. When I asked Adam what he was going to do with her, he said "play marbles!" Sadly, she didn't bring the marble game, but she's willing to read any book he picks up, as always, and both kids ran in and gave her huge hugs on Sunday afternoon. That's the Christmas spirit, right there! (it's always more present after everyone takes a good nap.)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Love Remains an Open Door.

Over a year ago, we bought tickets to see Frozen On Ice. Different than Disney on Ice, because it has the Frozen princesses - everyone's favorite. Yesterday was finally the big day, and it was really fun. We were there for a matinee, so got great seats for much cheaper than it would have been in the evening. Ellie, Lexi and Whitney wore their matching leather jackets from Sara Jo, because they are a girl gang, and Ellie also wore her Anna dress and her hair in pigtails. It was like I was there with the REAL ANNA!

I thought this production was even better than Disney on Ice. Perhaps because the moms had a couple of glasses of wine while watching, along with all of the snacks we bought for the kids. But the best part is seeing the looks of pure joy on the girls' faces. They LOVED it.

Ellie informed me that she's going to be in the production next year, and we're going to have to come see her in action. I don't know if she realizes that the child skaters were played by adults. Or that Sven was actually two dudes in a reindeer suit (very impressive, really.)

Speaking of costumes, check out this sweet sequined outfit I got for $5 at a yard sale today. The elastic is totally blown on the skirt, so I'm going to sew on some buttons for straps so that Ellie (and friends) can wear it as a dress. It's not one, but TWO new Elsa costumes.

Lastly, here is Adam helping me make lemon bread on Thursday morning.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ho Ho Ho!

We had a really nice pizza party last night for Tim's final birthday party of the weekend. Ellie didn't do any planning, because she was dedicated to running around with Lexi and Whitney. I bought a ton of chips and dips, because that's what the man loves. What a fun weekend!

Today, ALSO AWESOME! We picked up Sara after school and went and had lunch with the ladies, and then Nana Jill invited us over to her house to meet her new kittens, Wesley and Rikker. Ellie is absolutely and truly IN LOVE. The kittens are sweet natured and friendly and adorable, and very willing to let the kids love on them. They were in their kitten bed when we arrived, and immediately began purring up a storm when we petted them, and then happily let us scoop them up and snuggle them. Ellie was over the moon to hold them, and tonight when I tucked her in she said "I can't believe I got to hold a tiny baby kitten!"

By the time we got Sara home and said a quick hello and goodbye to Gigi and Grizz, and then returned to our own house and read stories, went potty and got ready for naps, it was almost 2pm. Both kids sacked right out, and slept until almost five, when I woke them up so we could go to the Christmas train. This year, we were able to buy tickets for a particular time slot, as the Irvine Park Railroad is trying to make sure that things never get too crowded.

It went really well! We met up with our awesome neighbor friends, and got on the first train, after a little wait. I had let Ellie pick out her own outfit to meet Santa, and she wore a floral party dress, striped pants, and her Hello Kitty hoodie. She also had a braid in her hair, and not pictured, a ribbon tied in a bow. She'd even drawn me a picture of how she wanted the bow to look before we went, just so that I'd be clear on the look she was going for. Adam was wearing a perfectly nice sweater under his coat, but refused to take it off. This is after I had to fight him to get him to put it on and keep it on while we were in line.

Suffice to say, it was a fun night. Despite being cooooooooooold.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Happy Birthday Tim!

Tim is a nice old man, and officially 36. We've had a wonderful, whirlwind weekend. Friday night was his company party, and it was the best one yet! Not only because they did a great job, but we finally got our stuff together about our timing. The team party starts at 6, and the overall company party is then at 8. The traffic to get to Anaheim at that time on a Friday night is MURDEROUS. One year, I was so irritated at sitting in dead stop street traffic that I got out and walked for a bit. I am a treat.

But this year, we arranged to have the kids nap (and sleep over) at Mimi's house, and then slipped out early, checked into our hotel early, and got a chance to nap and have a drink and relax before heading to dinner, and we got there right away, instead of half way through the meal. It was great to spend time with all of our Overwatch friends, eat and drink for free, and celebrate the great year they've all had. Though, my favorite moment was when the game director was up talking to everyone, and he said thank you to all of the spouses for all the support they've provided, and my looney tunes friend Robyn yelled "YOU'RE WELCOME!" She also did an amazing Tina Turner karaoke at the party, and I almost died laughing. The only downside was that the theme was Roaring 20s, so there were a bunch of other women in sequins and vintage dead things, which is my signature look, so I had to beat a bunch of them up and take their fancy garments.

Yes, I wore the same dress two years in a row. Tim is wearing the spiffy new tie that I bought him for officiating Ed and Erlynne's upcoming wedding.

Then on Saturday morning, Tim's actual birthday, we headed over to pick up the kids and have brunch with everyone. Behind the scenes, Ellie has been a busy little bee for months, getting everything ready for a surprise party. She is the sweetest little party planner.

She and Mimi went to the party store and got beautiful napkins and snowflake decorations and balloons, and then she and Poppy went and got the donuts, which were then frosted green. She also made name tags for everyone so that we'd know where to sit.

Please also notice the paper bracelet she made for him. It was such a wonderful morning, AND Tim finally received the Play Station 4 of his dreams (that I made him select, then had shipped to his mom's house and refused to give him until his birthday. Best wife!)

He and Jake went to see a movie, and the kids and I came home and took naps, then took our lemon birthday cake down to Oceanside for Chris and Jolie's holiday pot luck.

The girls had a great time running around together, and Adam loved their new play house. I was so tired that I wanted to fall asleep on the way home, but was driving the car with Sara, so thought better of it.

This morning Ellie and I went to a birthday party for a neighbor friend at the indoor play ground, which was great. Ellie only cried a half dozen times. If you think I am kidding, I am absolutely not. That kid!

Now the kids are napping, and we are prepping for having some friends over to eat pizza and watch football, in celebration of Tim. The fun never stops! We also get to run through the wedding ceremony with Ed and Erl - premarital counseling at its finest. If this seems like a lot of action, crazy to think that six years ago we had almost 100 people come through our house for our birthday party/housewarming. This is a house where entertaining happens, and that makes me incredibly happy!

Sunday, December 6, 2015


On Friday we had a speaker at MOPS who talked about keeping the joy in Christmas. It was obviously very timely, and really got me thinking, because her main point was to stop focusing on your list, and start focusing on what makes you happy. I feel like as soon as Thanksgiving was over, I had a list on my phone of groceries I needed to get for holiday baking, present ideas for our families, things I needed to buy for the kids, list of things that needed to get done around the house...

We talked a lot about the traditions we have in our families, and what things we carry on from our childhood. The main thing I want to do with my kids is try to emphasize the non-present parts of Christmas. The fun we get to have with our families, the holiday baking together, the Jesus Was Born Today dance parties, the Angel Lady, sending holiday cards and making new wishes to put in our wish ornament, and most importantly, remembering to be kind to others, and not making it all about what we're getting out of the holiday, or for the holiday.

To that end, we had a great day yesterday. We made a batch of cookies, and then took a trip to Target to pick out some presents for Toys for Tots. I was SO proud of both kids. Ellie was so happy to get a Frozen Fever Anna and Elsa, and even though she mentioned she wanted a set of her own (said it would be fine to get it for her birthday) she didn't cry about not getting to keep the set we'd bought, and was proud to carry them to the fire house and put them in the donation box. Then we rang their door and gave the fire fighters a plate full of cookies. The kids were incredibly thrilled when the fire fighters went and got them some plastic helmets and Junior Fire Fighter badges.

We also had a plate of cookies for local law enforcement. I thought the police station was across the court yard from the library, but apparently it's just that cops are sometimes at the city council building - it's not actually their station. So, cookies and our thank yous for the librarians! They actually have a great set up at the Civic Center, with a Santa's village going on right now (yesterday your pet could take their photo with Santa - Thor and Lulu passed on the opportunity) and a model trail club had one room of the civic center totally tricked out with model trains. There was a huge display that Adam loved watching, two smaller trains that the kids could drive, and then an enormous table of Legos next to the whole train set up made of Legos. We spend a good forty five minutes enjoying looking at everything, and it was a great opportunity to talk to the kids about the importance of being present in our community.

They took a much needed nap, and then we had a whole evening full of fun with friends. We went to the ceramics studio to work on some artsy holiday gifts with our neighbor friends, and then headed up the street for pizza and beer at Pizza Port (water for the kids!) We got a table near the arcade corner, so we could sit and let them run around and pretend to drive the cars and play the games. And then on the way home, a stop off to hang out with our mom friends, watching college football, and finally, letting ourselves into Gigi and Grizz's house and waking everyone up at 9:30pm (they know how to party.)

The kids were also thrilled because on Friday night they got to go to Winter Fest with Mimi and Poppy. Much sledding and throwing of snowballs, and drinking of hot chocolate. And laughing like crazy on the ride home because one of the neighbors has these light up penguins sledding down their roof, and it always cracks me up because that's a terrible place for penguins to sled! They're going to fall off and break their necks! So Tim and I made a bunch of jokes about penguins going splat, and Ellie laughed until she cried while also trying to correct us that it's JUST PRETEND.

In the end, everyone needs to go to bed early tonight, but it's been a fun weekend so far, and I'm glad for the memories we're making.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Holiday Spirit.

Grinch house no more! Ellie and Adam were so pleased with our new and beautiful holiday lights. How pleased you ask?

This pleased.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Ellie Blurt, Mall Cop.

Title courtesy of my mom, after hearing about the report I got at Ellie's parent teacher conference. Her teacher said that she's hitting all of her marks academically and socially, except that she tends to talk out of turn and blurt things out, and she sometimes has to be reminded that it's not time for stories. Ellie Blurt, Mall Cop. I asked her teacher if she ever bursts into tears over anything, and apparently not. Saves it all for home, for mommy. When we went over to Sara Jo's on Sunday night, we joked about the fact that it was a new record - Ellie was in the house for literally less than 60 seconds before she started sobbing about something (because Whitney said Lexi wasn't coming over, which was untrue. Never trust a three year old!)

So, overall a good report. Ellie is really flourishing in her new classroom and enjoying every minute of school. Her teacher and I nerded out about the fact that she's on the verge of reading, and how very exciting it is to be able to read - she and I both have very visceral memories of the first time the letters on the page made sense as words. Because reading is the best! (sorry, video games.)

It's now December, which means that the angel lady arrived. And by arrived, I mean that thank goodness Adam woke up first this morning so that the angel lady could bolt down the hallway and put out some candy before Ellie woke up. We also put up Christmas lights last night, after 5 years of being a Grinch house. I had to go to the hardware store, and the kids had been talking about it, and I figured, how hard can it be to put up a single strand of lights above our garage door? We have a single story house - it's only 8 feet up. So, we bought the lights, we already had an outdoor extension cord, and twenty minutes and a handful of nails later, we have some multicolored icicle lights up front! Because if I'm going to decorate, it's going to be gaudy. OBVIOUSLY. I didn't realize until I was an adult that people actually bother buying and using white lights - so boring! Or having a tree with ornaments that match. I mean, mine match! They're all ornaments!

Back to school this week has been tough on the little ones - yesterday and today Adam has napped more than three hours, and even Ellie's been sacking out pretty hard. The holidays, it takes it out of you!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Baby Bruins.

Ugh, both of my favorite teams lost this weekend. TIME FOR A BLEACH AND TONIC. The good news is that we got to watch the UCLA game with Pari and James and their kids. And not only that, but when we arrived, Parissa saw Ellie's dress and said Mila had the same dress. And since Mila was still in her jammies, Ellie helped her pick out her outfit!

Sorry to Pari that she had to do all the extra laundry - Ellie's outfits are never simple!

The kids had a great time, but by the end of the afternoon, Adam was so tired that she said "my nap!" and climbed into Rahim's crib. Needless to say, they both sacked out pretty much immediately in the car and were snoring in tandem at one point.

Yesterday we had a movie party with our friends, which was also awesome. Nine kids sitting on a couple of beach towels in Sara Jo's living room while the parents ate and drank and talked smack in the kitchen and family room. It sure was a good weekend for family and friends!

Not a good weekend for crafting, however. While we were putting up our tree I admired all of the ornaments that my grandmas made, and my great grandma, and my mom and Lisa and thought, man, I could make a thing. I could do a craft.

Behold, it's a butterfly. And if you're mean to me, I'll make one for you.

Friday, November 27, 2015


Another good turkey day in the books with our little turkeys. Ellie slept over at Gigi's on Wednesday night - she packed for her trip upon waking up Tuesday morning and told EVERYONE about how great it was going to be. Sara had to work the morning of Thanksgiving, so Ellie had Gigi and Grizz all to herself, for the making and eating of pancakes, a trip to the park, and some time spent baking cookies and prepping side dishes. She was in absolute hog heaven. The day before she and Adam helped me put together two pecan pies, though I sent Tim and Adam to the park when I worked on my mushroom cheesy bake, which turned into a pretty sweet solo dance party in the kitchen, I must say.

We forced them both to take naps, because we are cruel overlords, and then did the grand tour of Southern California. A quick stop off at Gigi's was perfectly timed with Grandma Rosie on Skype, so we got to say our hellos to her, and she got admire Tim and Adam in their matching Favre jerseys (which I bought back when Favre was actually a Packer, and years before we ever had any babies.) Then we stopped by Jan's so that we could see her grandson, who Ellie has never met, but much enjoyed, and eat a bunch of her appetizers like the vultures we are. Then a final load up for the drive out to Yorba Linda. Ellie was a little sad that none of the other young cousins were there, but she took an instant shine to cousin Mary, who seemed pleased with her task of being in charge. I mean, she's taller than me now, it seems reasonable to just give over control of the five year old. Jake was obviously then put in charge of Adam. Seemed like a smaller gathering than usual, but the food was good and the company was great, and of course, Ellie forced everyone to have a dance party against their will. Even the college boys cannot resist her telling them to do the chicken dance. Tim, Debbie and I also tried to teach everyone how to polka. We stayed late, and then the kids were both insane when we got them home and once again tried to put them in their beds.

Today has been more low key, though a lot more whining. We were able to go get our Christmas tree, which was a huge hit with the kids. And since we have to move the car seats into Tim's car to put the tree in mine, I got a chance to vacuum out the interior, which was a good job done. Many rogue Cheerios found and destroyed. I went on a run while the kids were napping, and when I got home Ellie had already started decorating with abandon. She was so cute - I gave her the manger scene and asked her to cool her heels long enough for me to shower, and she got it all set up and was THRILLED to unveil it to me a few minutes later - turns out she's actually tall enough to arrange it on the mantle! And she remembered that the cow lives on the roof. Which, if it doesn't seem obvious to you, recheck your Biblical history. I'm pretty sure it's in there.

We had a pizza party with some neighbor friends tonight, which ended with the kids being totally bat crap insane! I had to tell Ellie at bed time that if they'd all been able to calm down and stop throwing themselves over and off the couch, we could have stayed longer. It was like some sort of WWE wrestling match in the play room, and Adam delighted in trying to climb the stairs... from the other side of the stair rail. Thanks kids! You're acting like total savages! This is why we can't have nice things! But they came home and put on their elf jammies, and insisted on having their bed time books read to them in front of the tree. Ellie kissed it before she went to bed. I can't blame her. I've been sitting in the Pretty Room all afternoon, just enjoying the lights. And I love that a lot of the neighbors have been decorating their houses today. But still not enough to go to the effort of putting lights on my own house, you understand.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

We Run the City 2015.

You know what they say about the family that races together!

We had a really nice morning, despite being at USC. We had to wake the kids up to start the day, which is always a bummer, but we grabbed bagels on the drive up and they were pretty content with it all. We got there and they played with some of the little kid activities, and then Ellie and I went and grabbed a spot in front of the stage when Auntie Sara and a bunch of the other Hawks were leading the pre-race stretching. The event actually sold out, which was great, and Special Olympics beat their fundraising goal! Thanks to all of our generous friends, we raised $1000 for SOSC today!

The Bad News Bruins started at the VERY back of the pack - our friend Andrew and his son Hal were running with us, so we kept our giant strollers away from the ankles of the serious runners. I figured that Tim and I would just walk the course together, but Andrew (who is a serious athlete) started jogging, and then we started jogging, and so I ran the whole thing. Tim, who hasn't run since early college, trolled me by walking, and then jogging to keep up with me, and then when he got close he'd start walking and I'd look back and think "dammit, am I really running so slowly that he can just WALK and keep up?" Thankfully, he got tired out and I dropped him during the last mile, which makes me feel slightly better about the fact that he can eat whatever he wants and never gains weight.

Jake didn't know if he'd be in town for the race so didn't run it, but he came and cheered us on, and jumped in and out to jog with us, which Ellie thought was hilarious. She and Adam also spent portions of the race chanting "go Bruins!" and when people looked back at me, I'd say "yeah, I made my own cheerleaders." They were so cute. Ellie asked about the people in red shirts and I said that today, and today only, we'd like them because they were helping Special Olympics, and Ellie said "well, I like Special Olympics best of all."

After most of the 5K runners were through, they got the kids lined up for a fun run. In typical fashion, Adam tried to take off before the actual gun, and then when the race started, he didn't want to do it any more. Ellie was stoked and ready to go, but within a few steps, she got a shoe blown off by another kid. There was much weeping about it, and she told Jake "I don't want to be last!" So I ran the course with her (taking a short cut) and she came over the finish line feeling good, and was so proud of getting her very own medal. All in all, a successful day in athletics and charitable endeavors.

The best part is that then we got to drive to Yorba Linda and drop off the kids! Ellie doesn't have school at all this week, so perhaps they can just move into Mimi and Poppy's house!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Baking Blogger.

A year or so ago, when Ellie was whining about wanting to watch things about Frozen, stumbled upon the Nerdy Nummies channel on YouTube

And a love affair was born. Ellie loves her cooking videos, and honestly, there's a lot to love about Ro. Her channel is really cute and funny, and VERY creative. Plus, we love nerds in this house. When I heard that Ro was releasing a cook book and going on a book tour, I found the date in Orange County and lo, it worked out that Ellie could attend!

Tim and Elles drove up to the Barnes & Noble in Orange today to buy their copy of the book and get their wrist band, since it was a timed entry event. All of the books were pre-signed when they got there, but they got a chance to actually met and greet with Ro.

Tim says Ellie walked right up and said, unprompted and uncoached "I love watching your show. I'm so happy to meet you!" She and Ro had A Moment, and when she got home she was so excited to show me the cook book and the recipes that she wants to make. I'm so glad that she had a fun afternoon and got to meet her favorite celebrity. And the cook book is really great! Beautiful pictures, good instructions, and lots of fun things to make. You know, if my decorating skills weren't henious.

The other funny cooking item today was that I tried to make a lemon budino, so I busted out my beastmaster stand mixer to whip egg whites. Ellie came into the kitchen and you would have thought that the mixer was a puppy - she was SO excited to find that we own one, though she did request I go buy her her own in blue (not happening! Get a job or go get married like a normal person! That's how one acquires such an expensive item!)

The budino didn't really turn out the way I'd hoped, but Ellie was thrilled to learn that we could also use the stand mixer to make our own whipped cream. And since the lemons came from my own tree outside, it was a straight up farm to table artisan hippie dessert! If I made it in a restaurant, I could charge $17!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Kittens in their Natural Habitat

Ellie, in her crafting-time bliss. There's even a real turkey feather at Gigi's house to adorn her construction paper turkey.

Speaking of construction, they are once again fixing the street in front of our house. Adam probably spent a solid 90 minutes today just watching all of the big truck/bulldozer/Maryanne Action.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fun Run!

Just a quick plug for the upcoming We Run the City 5K, which benefits Special Olympics of Southern California, and pits UCLA and USC fans against one another in a test of athletics and skills. We are all walking it as a family, and then the kids are registered for the Fun Run. Ellie is THRILLED.

So if you are feeling it, you can support any member of our team here!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Home Again!

Despite the very delicious smell of sweet, newborn baby, I was able to tear myself away from my new baby-love Benjamin Button and return home to Orange County on Saturday. Tim did a great job as the stay at home dad - the kids probably like him the best by A LOT more now. They got to go to the science center and the petting zoo, along with having a movie night and watching the Lego movie. However, when asked if he wanted to be the stay at home parent, Tim replied "Once Adam is 5, sure. Two year olds are tough. They are full of bad ideas and they don't hesitate to execute them, then they get real made when you say no." Story of my life! For instance, today I caught Adam trying to play with all of the little doo dads on my dresser and told him no (this after he hid a ring from me yesterday, which was inconvenient.) He cried and said I was not being nice, so I told him he could take the little photos of himself and Ellie and go play with them. He immediately grabbed all four, went to Ellie's room and threw them to the floor while jumping on the bed.

On the flip side, Benjy doesn't sleep through the night and basically cries when he's awake and not eating, but we did some real quality snuggling.

Becca even let me parade around Target with him in the Moby wrap, which is my favorite thing ever. And I did some Moby wearing around the house so that she could nap or get stuff done. I love a snuggly baby. Becca is of course, the sweetest mom, and patient and awesome with him. I was so glad to be able to come by and help, holding babies, petting cats, making dinner, pushing the cart at Target. The whole shebang. And I convinced Brian to try out the Moby wrap! Yards of fabric for everyone!

We used Rocky Raccoon as the stunt baby for Brian's initial Moby lesson. Everyone loves Rocky!

I also got a lot of reading done, which makes me happy. It also makes me incredibly happy to see how close Ellie is to figuring out how to read. She's starting to sound out her letters and get through small words, and she recognizes a lot more words out and about. She asks me how to spell things, or will see a word and ask me what it is. To me, there's nothing more wonderful than a good book, and I absolutely cannot wait for her to have the ability to read for pleasure. Since Tim has already shown her how to play Mario Brothers.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Farewell, Muffins!

Tim had a very successful Blizzcon. This is his first time going as more than a regular employee. He's INTERNET FAMOUS NOW!

This is a good, fairly brief interview (compared to the hour and a half engineering team interview that he did that day.) He's the smartest and the prettiest! The game was well received and all press has been positive thus far. So, good job Team Four!

As for Team Ford, I suckered Don and Jake into coming over for dinner on Saturday night so that the kids and I would have some company, since everyone else was away or busy. Jake is a single man again, which is sad for him, but wonderful for the kids because they have been just LOVING all of the time with their uncle. It does my heart good to see it. They have taken to calling him Jakey, and the other night Adam went and hid behind the time out chair and yelled "here I am Jakey, come find me!" Tim managed to join us before dinner was over, and then I immediately tarted up and peaced out for a bachelorette party. Stayed out past 1am, and stayed sober enough to drive myself home from the party bus!

It's been a long couple of weeks though. Tim's understandably been working a lot, and the kids are just insane. Adam is in full on two year old mode and has learned the art of back talk. It is unbelievably frustrating times to feel like everything I say is received with whining or an argument back. I am not running a debate team, you little jerks! I am trying to keep you alive and raise you to be decent human beings! I am so thankful to leave for Chicago in a few hours to meet Benjamin and love on Becca (and Brian.) I am actually looking forward to getting up and helping with middle of the night feedings. Sure, the baby may cry, but he's not going to chuck a block at my head, or slam his thirty pound body onto a sensitive part of my body, or scream in my face when I tell him that he can't eat yet another piece of Halloween candy. Tim is taking the rest of the week off work and has nothing planned, so good luck to him! I did make sure that we have groceries and diapers, so hopefully he can avoid the fun of trying to herd both kids through the store. And tomorrow Ellie has no school, so they can perhaps go on a larger adventure. The biggest adventure for me is realizing that I own noise canceling headphones, and I can wear them on the plane because I'm not in charge of anyone other than myself! Here I come, airport gin and tonic!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Brown Eyed Girl

School pictures came back today - is there anything sweeter than this face? I adore her so. And I'm glad she didn't take the opportunity to look like a nut.

Today feels like an especially nutty day. Tim is off to Blizzcon, to talk about Overwatch and be an all around important guy. Ellie had her jog-a-thon at school, which meant all of the TK kids were "early birds." Thankfully, we didn't have any more trouble parking and getting to school than usual. Just the regular frustrations of trying to herd two cats over to the entrance. Adam has been bringing his trash grabber along and insisting on stopping every four feet to move some leaves around. Note to self: trash grabber not allowed at drop off any longer.

Then I was off to our MOPS boutique, which is our big fundraiser of the year. There's a bunch of vendors, a bake sale and silent auction stuff. I helped write the silent auction descriptions this week, and as I was doing it I thought "why did I volunteer for this? I just now remember that I hated doing these for the gala when I was working." Still, it was a fun, crazy morning. I ate a cupcake for breakfast, I wore a Santa hat to sell raffle tickets, and Adam was so happy to go to the nursery today. He said "I go to my MOPS! I see my fwends!" Vast improvement over me dropping him off while he sobs.

Now I am ready for a nap! But I wish I had more cupcakes.

Monday, November 2, 2015


Another weekend full of friends! We had the Blizzard trick or treat event, followed by impromptu pizza with the neighbors, a Halloween birthday party, lots of trick or treating, and then a Sunday Funday football party on the docket this past weekend. I went to bed last night feeling so grateful for all of our fantastic friends. 

Our Halloween crew was a half dozen families and approximately six million small children, or so it felt. 

Three of the families live in the same neighborhood, and there is a street that goes all out with candy, cotton candy, a popcorn machine, bottled waters, and even beer and wine top offs for the grown ups! The kids were so excited to trick or treat, and most of them walked the entire two mile trip. Adam did a lot of it without his shoes on, and did the entire thing sans costume. He asked once for his fire fighter outfit, but the second I put it on, he demanded I take it off. I asked if he wanted to put on his football shirt, he also did not want to do that. Thankfully, everyone was nice about it and understood that sometimes two year olds have problems. He was so excited about it all - after each house he'd run to the end of the driveway and proudly hold open his bag and show me his treasures. 

I asked Ellie to smile so I could send a picture to Mimi. She looked like this:
Nice, kid.

Adam's got cotton candy all over his face. He's not a vampire (yet)

On Friday for the Blizzard trick or treat, I dressed as my Overwatch alter ego.
NAILED IT. People keep asking if Tim asked to have me put in the game, and the truth is, I've probably never met the artist who designed Zarya. I'm just a classic beauty, I guess. And yes, putting lipstick on my forehead did immediately make me break out like a teenager. The good news is that the purple hair dye washed out pretty easily, when I made Tim spray me at the kitchen sink. Teamwork! 

Ellie's favorite part was the sherbert. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Overwatch has now been released to closed beta, so it's been a very exciting week around here. I am unbelievably proud of him and all of his wonderful nerds. It's certainly been a long road to get to this point - we moved into our house six years ago for him to work on at Blizzard, and his hard work is finally out there for the world to enjoy.

AND I'm so excited that I actually play it! I'm not good (at all) but I'm having fun. I enjoy playing the Russian bodybuilder hero, not in small part because one of Tim's coworkers pointed out that she sort of looks like me in the face and hair (wish I was that buff!)

The funniest thing is that Tuesday, one of Tim's coworkers sent an email to the team with a screen shot of an excited, swear filled chat from someone in the game, who was loving the action. Then an exec sent out a screen shot his wife had sent him, of someone typing "wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww" during the game she'd been playing. Tim took one look at the second email and had to say to everyone "guys, that's my wife." I was trying to walk and chat at the same time! I don't know what's going on! Don't make fun of me you guys! Everyone had quite a good laugh. Mostly me. Tim keeps asking if I want to join a game with his coworkers and friends - big no thanks to that! I only like to humiliate myself in front of strangers.

This past weekend we did a family photo shoot for Don's 70th birthday. I don't want to spoil too many surprises BUT, I definitely think we got our Christmas card photos.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Week in Review.

Ellie had a very successful fifth birthday, partying with all of her people. It also got me thinking about how much our lives have changed in five years. So many new friends that we didn't know five years ago and now absolutely cannot live without. So much new experience with weird little kid things. So, so, so much joy and love. She is the light of our lives.

Poor Tim has been working a lot of long hours lately, usually only home for a bit in the morning before school and then home after the kids go to sleep (sometimes after I've gone to sleep as well.) We are doing our best to keep on keeping on.

Mostly this has included a lot of time spent at the park, because I can read a book or magazine and they can run off some energy.The other night they told me to leave them alone because they were having brother and sister time. The only problem is trying to scrub all of the sand out of their hair at the end of the night.

Here they are, doing some good dancing outside of El Maguey for Ellie's birthday

Last week at the park. Typical.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Our Five Year Old.

Opening her big bag of socks and undies!

Lunch with the ladies, and a special dessert

Birthday cake, started as a turd

Finished as a beautiful dress for Princess Tiana!

Family love

Ellie and Grizz having some fancy dancing

The Ford boys, all excellent dancers