Friday, July 31, 2015

A Decade.

From this:

To this:

Because yesterday was the tenth anniversary of this:

Ten years, two kids, two cats, one tiny apartment, one large mortgage, and a million joyful memories. It's been a great ride, and I'm lucky to have Tim. We were able to go out to L'Hirondelle for dinner last night, thanks to Mimi and Poppy, and it was wonderful to sit under the twinkle lights, next to the little fountain in the courtyard and enjoy a wonderful meal and some wonderful meal. I was also saying to Tim how weird it was to think of being there on our fifth anniversary, when I was hugely pregnant with Ellie. If we had only known then how crazy the next five years would be! Tomorrow night we're going to see Darius Rucker (aka Country Hootie) in concert, and staying overnight in a hotel while Gigi watches our brat kids! Winning all around!

Here's to a million more.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Reach Up LA!

The Nollin girls had to head back to Chicago today, but thankfully we will see them again in two weeks. Kate and I have planned the girls outfits so that they can match every single day that they're together. It's a beautiful thing.

Today was Ellie's very last trip to the library for Tuesdays with Mimi. The library is taking the month of August off, and then in September she'll be in junior kindergarten. Sunrise, sunset. Sunrise, sunset. Thankfully, there's always Adam.

Then after nap time we headed up to UCLA to see Sara and some of her Hawks teammates play flag football at the Special Olympics World Games. They're not officially part of the US delegation, but er playing as part of the Play Unified campaign, where Special Olympians and non-Special Olympians play on mixed teams together. Unified, as it were.

The drive up was a bit of a slog, but I had plenty of snacks to pass back to my small fry. Parked without issue, despite warnings about how crazy the parking might be, and headed over to the athletic fields just in time to see Sara and her team take to the field. It was a good mix of athletes, and each team had a former professional football player to help coach. The players all had fun, and the kids had a blast. Gigi provided them with some pom poms and they had some more snacks, and then after the game was over they ran around playing football with Sara and her buddy Alex.

We visited the little Olympic village that they had set up in the quad before we left and had our picture taken in the Reach Up LA area. Such a good team!

ESPN has daily coverage of the World Games at 7pm Eastern. Definitely check it out, it's great. And I'm so glad that the games are getting some actual media coverage. These athletes definitely deserve all the recognition they get.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Cheetah Girls Strike Again.

Such a fun weekend with our Olivia Fig Newton Jane. There was tons and tons of swimming (Ellie was in the water so much that she didn't get an actual bath or shower between Thursday and Sunday night.)

It's darling to see the cousins together. Last night we brought over a bag of clothes that Ellie's outgrown, one of which is the cheetah print dress that Olivia is wearing (Ellie wore it when she was a cat for Halloween.) Well, showing that dress to Olivia reminded Gigi that she had a NEW cheetah dress for Ellie, so the girls instantly had to change and match. Even though Olivia doesn't say a lot, you could tell that she was excited to dress up like her big cousin. Bonus: both dresses were a little too hot for the weather, so the girls were matching dresses and matching sweat hogs. Adam isn't crying because he got left out - he's crying because he dumped out his bubbles earlier in the day. Which is actually the second bottle of bubbles he dumped over the weekend. So careless with his soapy water! Ellie was amazed today to learn that when I outgrew my clothes, Sara and Kate used to wear them. It's the circle of life!

Thursday, July 23, 2015


Good news: My eye is on the mend. Bad news: I had a really rotten Wednesday because of it - hardly slept, could barely see to drive Ellie to school, and then had to get mom come get me and drive me to my first eye doctor appointment, which resulted in a referral to a corneal specialist. So dad had to take me to that and mom ended up taking care of the kids for the afternoon. They are so nice to me.

BUT! My eye is better, and Olivia Jane, her mom and Gigi are in town!

And ready to swim!

It was pretty cute - Olivia was fairly cold to me and Grizz upon first meeting, but within seconds of Ellie arriving, she was willing to give Ellie a hug and a kiss. She has since warmed up to me, probably because I give the best kiss attacks around. When we left tonight, she gave me an unsolicited kiss goodbye and I melted into a puddle of goo. I think mostly she enjoys me because I'm Ellie's mom. Adam is not as interested - he is sort of annoyed that someone else is touching his stuff, but he did give her a hug when I asked.

The family that splashes together!

Olivia and her cute mommy

Grizz and his pal

Grizz and his pal read Mike Mulligan

The ladies do some art work in their matching butterfly tops

Adam joins the crafting project at Ellie's art studio. 
Please note that she has engaged a nude male model (Rocky)

Art is very, very serious business

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


The sweet face and vocal stylings of a young man who poked his mom in the eye and made her go to the eye doctor, which for his mother, is a fate worse than death. Some people fear spiders, some people loathe the dentist, I get weak kneed at the thought of eyeballs. I almost passed out when they had to put a contact lens over my scraped cornea.

And now, I have to wear sunglasses inside in order to keep my eye from watering uncontrollably. Sunshine indeed!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hot Dates.

When Ellie was a small muffin and Tim and I wanted to go out together (without her) Mimi would always tell her "tell mommy and daddy to have fun on their hot date!" So now, any time two people want to leave the house without the rest of their family members, it's a wonderful "hot date."

This weekend was full of them. On Saturday we had a family evening of going up to the Valley to Fluff and Jasmin's house, where she had made an enormous spread of delicious tapas. There were your usual cheese and crackers (fancy cheeses!) plus four types of potatoes (salted, dumplings, fried) two kinds of palella and Iberico jamon. And then four different homemade desserts, plus all of the snacks contributed by guests. And two types of sangria. It was definitely worth the long drive for the food and the company. The kids are finally at an age where they are happy to take off and play together. This time, playing mostly consisted of running circles around the house. Everyone joked that my kids would pass out as soon as they hit the car, which always makes me twitch to hear because in her entire life, Ellie has never simply given up and fallen asleep. She'll keep those exhausted eyes open for hours, as she did on our drive home. Just because you've been running for two straight hours and it's almost 11pm, that doesn't mean you need to sleep!

She managed to rally in the morning, and she and Tim went out for a hot date to see the minions movie. He reports that it was a pretty dumb movie, but Ellie happily said she loved it, and spent the entire movie curled up against him.

Of course she wore a party dress.

And then the biggest hot date of all - today Mimi picked her up from school and took her out to Yorba Linda for a SLEEEEEEPOVER.

Adam has been stuck hot dating with me. Yesterday we went to the grocery store (whoo hoo!) and also stopped by Childrens Orchard because all of his pants finally fit in the waist but are two inches too short. Today was a more fun date - we met up with Hal and Robyn at the mall and did some running around.

Here he is with his face stuffed full of cheesey-burger, which is his fave. Unlike his sister, who will always ask for the grilled cheese. Bonus: I used social media to get a free cookie at the Nordstrom cafe! I love a free item of any sort, but especially of the baked goods sort.

This is how we dressed Adam for Saturday night. The funny story is, I bought the Favre jersey back in 2006 or 2007, way before we were even close to having kids. I told Tim that even though we weren't planning on any kids soon, it would be in our best interest to buy a Favre jersey while I could still get one for cheap, off the rack at ShopKo. As we all know, between then and now, Favre broke my heart by playing for other teams AND being a pervert, so Lulu had been the only child of mine to wear the jersey (she wore it for Favre's last play off game. And bit me.) But on Saturday, I was able to do some forgiving. So I guess it's not a waste of $12. 

Lastly, the kids have been doing a lot of art projects with Gigi. She has many kinds of markers and colored pencils, and then stepped up the crafting game by introducing pinking sheers of various patterns AND glue sticks. Adam has been very content just gluing scraps to the table cloth, but Ellie suggested to Gigi that maybe they should get something even more fun, so Gigi picked up a bunch of glitter glue. 

It really helped Ellie's creativity blossom. This mixed media work features tons of the glitter glue, a feather, some scraps of skin shed by the iguana at her school, and a little piece of yellow ribbon that she found on a walk. Look for it soon in a gallery near you, because modern art is a wonderful, confusing thing. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Diving Team.


But today we did convince Adam that he didn't need to hold anyone's fingers in order to jump off the wall, and he was so pleased!

He is counting down and also yelling "blast off!" How can you not love it? Not pictured: Ellie's joy when Adam has to get out of the pool because he's shivering, and she and I can play mommy shark and baby shark. Today she "washed my face for me" by splashing me for a couple minutes straight. Thanks baby shark!

I love these two little nuts

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Ellie and her classmates in their little leotards and their little ballet slippers will never killing me dead. They are so tiny and so sweet in their get ups, and I'm so glad that she's learned to like ballet. I only hope that we can find a class we like as much when she isn't going to her Montessori school in the fall.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Adam Says.

The "fun" thing about having a second child is knowing more of what you're in for, and when your kid hits the terrible twos, thinking "oh right, this happened last time, and I hated it then too" versus wondering if your formerly mild manner child had been taken over by banshees. The bad news is that I realize he's going to be a pretty big jerk until he turns four, because three is worse than two.

But it's also funny how the same and different kids are. Adam is nowhere as whiny as Ellie was, but man, is he naughty. He is defiant and naughty in a way that she never was - twice in the past two days he has taken off running the other way when I've asked him to come to me in public. He also enjoys completely ignoring me, like his ears are stuffed with cotton. Ellie generally responded to being hollered at, and time outs worked. Adam just does not care - he does what he wants with a smile on his face, pushing boundaries all the while.

This was his response yesterday when I asked him to come hop in the car. There is also a lot of screaming about how he wants to "cwimb up big boy!" into the car, but he also enjoys climbing in, trying to crawl into the front seat, and then flailing like he's being electrocuted when I'm attempting to strap him down.

It is however, sort of funny when he does whine, because he has more than once answered "NOW!" when I ask him what the magic word is, and when he really wants something, he will definitely tell you "Fwozen songs WIGHT NOW!" The flip side is that he's incredibly sweet about saying thank you, and also will say he's sorry very quickly, whereas Ellie to this day would rather have her toenails torn out than apologize.

My other favorite thing is that back when Adam was nursing, he called milk "newt." This applied to both breast milk and milk from a cup. Everything was newt. And then when we stopped nursing (you know, back when "newt" was broken and all gone) he started calling it milk. Smart boy! However, he insists on calling water "ma." He can say water. If you ask him to say water, he says it perfectly. And the other day I said "Adam, it's called water," and he goes "I say ma!" Well, okay then.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Independence Day.

I know you're all going to be shocked, but our Fourth was just as busy as most weekends are around here! Busy, but also freeing, as St. Gigi took the kids most of the day on the 4th so that Tim and I could get things set up for our party, and so that the kids could get good naps in a quiet house.

They started their day by going to check out the new kids area at the YMCA. Turns out, they have a splash pad. Gigi didn't know that going in, so didn't have suits. Good thing my kids don't care! Well, Adam cared that he was getting wet, but once he had a rash guard over his clothes, he was fine with it.

Then they went home and swam, lunched and snoozed, and came back with Auntie Sara for our annual cookout with Tim's coworkers. We had about a dozen people here, and it was a great night. We are so lucky to have such a good group of friends and cohorts.

Ellie made a big stink about not wanting to use the sparklers, and was 100% whiny about it, but Adam thought they were pretty great.

Ellie didn't get to bed until 11pm! So yesterday we spent the morning pretty much lazing around and waiting for nap time, and then spent the evening with Sara Jo and Todd and Whitney, who just moved into their new house, And by just moved in, I mean we helped move some furniture and unpack some boxes and build the beds. Then ended the evening letting the kids watch a movie while the parents had a couple of drinks and some take out sushi. It's a pretty good life. I went to bed last night feeling very glad for our great network of friends who feel like family.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Holiday Weekend!

Tim and the kids went over to swim in Mimi and Poppy's community pool this morning, so I did what any Real Housewife of Orange County would do and spent two hours mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges and cleaning the patio so that we'll be ready to have our Fourth of July party tomorrow. I have decided that if I had a tree trimming business, it would be called "T-Rex Arms Tree Trimming" and the logo would be me, standing on a chair with the extended clippers, still wishing I had another three inches so that I could cut the branch that I really wanted to get. Hire me! I do a mostly crap job!

We've had a pretty quiet week this week. The weather hasn't allowed for tons of pool time at Gigi and Grizz's, sadly. The other day our big fun was going outside to do some finger painting in our undies (I wore a dress)

They finished their projects by mashing all of the colors around, and then we went out front to water the plants and clean their hands. Fun for everyone!

Yesterday Jolie and the girls came up for the morning and lunch, which was a blast. Ellie, Nina and Thalia are less than a year apart, and as they get older, they play together really well without adult supervision. Which is basically the dream of all parents - go play by yourselves! Adam is pushing out his last two molars, so was a nightmare, but the girls were great! Ellie was so excited that they arrived wearing Disney Princess dresses, and immediately she changed into her Elsa dress. They ended the party though, all changing into various Elsa dresses. We have:

John Glen, Summer Elsa (Nina), Coronation Day Elsa (Elles) and Winter Elsa (Thalia.) And then the play date ended with four tired, hungry kids sobbing about various and sundry reasons. That's how you know they had a good time!