Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend.

It's been quite a week around here. The biggest news is that Overwatch is a bonafied sensation. It's one of the smoothest launches that Blizzard has ever had, tech-wise, and it's flying off the shelves and getting great reviews. It's so amazing to see Tim's hard work be so well received. I love looking at the Overwatch hashtag on instagram and seeing how people are reacting. And I like that there's so many new people in the game, because my few hours of playing during Beta actually mean that I'm better than some of the newbs. Pew pew - here's a plasma cannon to the face!

And it's nice to have him home for dinner and bath time and bed time every night this week. Been a long time since that happened!

No real news with the kids this week. Ellie is winding down her year at school, which is bittersweet. She's had a great teacher and a lot of nice friends in her classroom, but next year she'll be moving to our home school and only one or two of the kids will follow. I'm looking forward to being able to walk her to school in the mornings though, and through MOPS I've met a lot of moms who live in our neighborhood, a few of whom also have kids starting kinder in the fall.

I look forward to many more years of her lunatic fashion blogger outfits.

The other day, as we were walking back to the car after picking up Ellie, Adam all of a sudden laid down on the little grassy hill.

He absolutely cracks me up. We joined the YMCA this month so that I'd get a discount on their swimming lessons, and I've been putting him in the child care and going to work out this week - he loves it, and I like having an instructor kick my butt. I think it's going to be a good plan for this summer, because goodness knows they are too big to push in the double stroller, and I am also not waking up early to work out every morning. And I need the endorphins to help me get through the day.

This weekend has been a bit of a bummer - I went to bed on Friday night with a tickle in the back of my throat, and woke up with my ears plugged and my throat swollen half shut, like I was swallowing knives. I spent most of Saturday in bed, and yesterday actually hauled myself to Urgent Care, where they diagnosed me a gross bacterial infection. The good news, not super contagious, so the kids and Tim should be okay, and the antibiotics had me feeling about 25% better after the first dose and a nap. The bummer is that I missed Hal's birthday party, but Tim and the kids had a great time. I thought about rallying to go, but was back in bed, achy and exhausted, at 7:30. So, probably a good choice to continue to lay in my own filth. Memorial Day is either great for us, or a weekend of illness it seems. Hopefully next year will be better results!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The World Needs Heroes.

It's happened! Overwatch is finally, finally live! Tim has shipped a game at Blizzard Entertainment! After years on Project Titan, and then years of secrecy while Overwatch was being developed, now he's able to just bask in his successes. And thankfully, he even look us along for the ride!

The game went live a little after 4pm in California, having gone on sale at midnight GMT on the 24th (which is 4pm on the 23rd, our time.) Works out well for the developers because they've had the day to get ready, and they still have hours before bedtime, so it's not terrible if something goes awry. It was actually one of the best launches that Blizzard has ever had - very smooth for all involved.

We showed up at the office a little before 7 for dinner at the cafeteria. I assured Tim he didn't have to hang out with us in case things were hitting the fan, but everything was pretty relaxed and he was happy to help me lure the kids into eating their grilled cheeses. Then we brought the beautiful pan of scotcheroos that we'd made over to the office suite, as it has proven to be the favorite treat of the various nerds when we've brought treats to help everyone survive the long hours. 

(these are ones I made for the open beta launch, but you get the idea.)

We got to be there as the Conan O'Brian "Clueless Gamer" skit when live, so that was fun to sit and watch with all of Team 4. They were so excited! We were so excited!

You can watch the video HERE.

The kids snuggled up with Tim, and it felt like he was the QB who'd just thrown the winning pass at the Superbowl, and now got to cuddle with his babies on the field. It was such a good, fun energy, and I'm so proud of Tim, and all of the other buddies on the team. 

And as Tim will freely say, he's lucky to work in a toy factory. In fact, here he is with his boss last Friday, when they played hooky to look at the giant Trixie Doll (aka Tracer Action Figure) at Hollywood and Highland in LA.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Card Sharks.

Ellie's teacher started teaching them how to play cards, as a way to work on numbers and colors and suits. So she got very into playing war, and has also been very into Go Fish, especially with Gigi and Grizz, with dumb assistant Rocky.

Grizz likes to be very virtuous about how he doesn't take advantage of Ellie showing her cards, unlike myself and Gigi, but he also has no problems with just cleaning her clock if he gets the chance. It's darling to see them all sitting together and having fun playing. I figured, since she understands Go Fish pretty well, maybe she'd enjoy playing Crazy 8s - plus it's more fun and takes a little bit longer than you're average round of Go Fish.

Turns out...
It's not her game

I know it's wrong to laugh at your weeping offspring, but it was also hilarious. She was so pissed that it wasn't her turn to "start" (aka change the suit) and she was really mad when she couldn't lay down all of her heart cards on one card, etc. Poor thing. Plus her hands are small - it's hard enough to hold five cards for Go Fish, let alone a fist full when you keep having to draw until you get what you need. Maybe when she's six.

Good news, she remains a fearless swimmy fish girl. On Saturday Tim took the kids to a friend's birthday party at Olivia's grandparents' amazing house. I was at a MOPS leadership training, so missed out, but when we met up with our friends that night at the CHOC gala, everyone seemed pretty impressed with E's swimming skills. I think people were mostly amazed that the kids were doing something other than crying? 

Mimi and Poppy were generous and gracious enough to take our kids for ANOTHER sleep over this month. We couldn't promise that we'd be home early, and Mimi said she'd rather then have the kids stay over night, which is fine with me, since the basic rule of thumb is the later you go to bed, and the more you have to drink, the earlier your kids will wake up. So, they woke up at Mimi's house, and I didn't roll out of bed until 10. It was great. The night at the Gala was great too! We were with three other couples, and had a fantastic time (other than some sobbing during the presentations, where they brought up a five year old boy who had survived cancer thanks to the work at CHOC.) 

Sara and Nicole are wearing flatter shoes, and I am wearing four inch heels with platforms. It's the only reason I don't look like an actual little person. But, I did get another chance to wear my over the top sequined gown. Note, the kick pleats at the bottom are really fun for swirling and twirling on the dance floor. Second note: it's spot clean only, which means I am trying to use a wash rag to get the DO and BO smell out of the armpits. I am a trash fire. 

We spent the rest of the weekend just hanging out and relaxing, and cleaning the house (do I know how to have fun, or WHAT?) It was our last weekend before Overwatch, as it goes live at 4pm Pacific Time today. Can't wait to see how it goes! We are so, so proud of Tim.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Bit of a Fixer Upper.

We got Ellie's dance pictures back this week. I will just leave these here for you to squee over.

"That girl has a huge melon, and her shoes don't match the other dancers, Let's put her in the middle so we can disguise it."

My sweet little dancing bean

We also opted to do a "buddy picture" with Ellie and Lexi, because they're buddies. 
For reference, Lexi is ten days older, but her dad is not an abnormally tall human being. Ellie was so thrilled awhile back when she asked me who her first friend was, and I said Lexi, because they met when they were only a couple of weeks old, and I certainly didn't know anyone else with small kids, and Kristen was gracious enough to hang out with me, even though I was a total deer in headlights. And now, it seems like only yesterday that it was this:

And now here we are on the verge of kindergarten, and a big dance recital! (Lexi already has one under her belt, having not been a ballet school drop out at three, And of course, Ellie is missing this year's recital. Maybe in 2017!) (Ellie is the fat baby on the left, just FYI.)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Desert Rats.

This weekend Tim and I went out to Palm Desert for the wedding of one of my sweetest friends and former college roommates Annie, and her lovely new husband Brandon. Mimi and Poppy graciously agreed to take the kids overnight for us, and they had a blast as well. They went to the children's museum, they fed many a duck and duckling at the lake, they ate dinner on the golf course with their pets...

AND they even napped! And slept in and then woke up to pancakes (no rotten eggs this time.) Always nice when the small friends go easy on their grandparents.

Despite the heat, Tim and I had a great time at the wedding. It was so sincere and personal and beautiful - they got married out in front of city hall (Annie's dad was a city employee for many years, before passing from cancer several years ago) and then had the reception in the back yard of her childhood home. They had a mariachi band and make your own tacos and PLENTY of beer, both home brewed and brought by the other beer nerds for the bottle share. Don't you guys worry, I never miss a chance to be a jerk, so I picked up 80oz of Miller High Life (the champagne of beers, let me remind you, perfect for such a festive event) and brought 40 of it to the reception (the other 40 we drank in the hotel lobby waiting for the shuttle.) And you know what? Other people were delighted and drank it. Because sure, sometimes you want an IPA or a sour or a hearty stout, but sometimes you just want a smooth, domestic pilsner. Especially when you can buy those 40z for two bucks apiece at a gas station.

They had made lots of little seating areas (Brandon actually made the benches and the cushions) and there were candles everywhere. The DJ played some good songs, and there were TONS of cupcakes to eat (Tim and I may have eaten five between the two of us.) Annie is legitimately one of the smartest, most gracious, grateful, hardworking, considerate people that I know, and Brandon has a great spirit and such a kind heart - it felt so good to be there celebrating them, and partying with them.

Then the next day we didn't have to check out of the hotel until 12, so you know I laid in bed until 11:30.

We stopped at this place for lunch, but DISAPPOINTING, there were no antiques. New management, change your damn sign!

We had a nice night with Mimi and Poppy and Jake, who made a big pasta dinner to celebrate belated Mother's Day.
Please enjoy this shot of the artists at work. Ellie enjoys doing her art en plain aire like Monet. However, unlike Monet, she ordered her minions (aka Poppy and Jake) "less talking, more coloring." Oui oui!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mother's Day, Part Two.

I hope you had a good Mother's Day. Or a good weekend, if you weren't doing much celebrating.

Did you have as much fun as Grizz?

what about Grandpa Jim? He certainly looks like he's having fun. 

But where are Gigi and Granny Janny?
Poor ladies, out in the street with some little urchins.

In all seriousness though, I think we all had a nice Mother's Day. I know I did. I got up late, and Tim and the kids made me coffee and hunter-gathered me a donut, which I ate in bed (spilled coffee on the comforter and crumbs down my shirt, so it was perfect.) 

Then my mom came over for lunch, and while Tim put the kids down for their naps, she and I went to a rock show. You may be thinking, well, what band did you see. But by rock show, I mean minerals and gems, which is to say that it was the most fun, nerdy thing in the world, because we bought a bunch of big rocks and cut slabs and geodes and basically had the best time ever marveling at how cool nature is. 

Adam loves Gigi's new big rock, and both kids REALLY loved smashing geodes with a hammer yesterday. Ellie is especially pleased because hers is the shiniest. 

Speaking of shiny, here's a preview of Ellie all dolled up for her dance pictures. So once again, we have the costume, we've paid for pictures (only so that we could get pictures of her and Lexi, which I think are more fun than just E by herself - lord knows she poses for enough pictures around the house) but we're not going to be in the recital. But don't worry - if you play Fixer Upper from Frozen, she's happy to bust out all of her moves. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day


Monday, May 2, 2016

Viva Mexico!

Lucky ducks Tim and I just got back from five days and four nights in Punta de Mita, Mexico (near Puerto Vallarta.) Last year, friends of ours had bid on a stay in this fancy beachside house at a charity auction, and allowed us to buy our way in. We had five couples all together, all with kids around the same age, and all ready to leave them all behind and go party.

And it was great. And by party, I mean do absolutely next to nothing. Before we left, someone mentioned that the number one rule should be that no one would be required to do anything that they didn't want to do - no having to get up early, or come along on an excursion, or eat every meal together. I think that was a key thing to have going in, because my goal for the week was to relax and lay around like a fat American whale, beaching herself in Mexico.

We hired a chef to come for two dinners and two breakfasts, including the night we got there and the following morning, and that was amazing. Benny and Martin cooked beautiful, tasty food and took such good care of us - I could get used to laying by a pool with my friends while someone brings me a fresh made mango margarita. We drank a lot of beer, we had a dance party, we played card games, bananagrams and reverse charades (which was hysterical - highly recommend.)

We also spent one day at the beach (because the beach down from our house was rocky and not good for swimming or surfing, but nice to walk along while looking for beach glass, and the occasional dead puffer fish) and got paddle board lessons. The better athletes in the group were able to use the paddleboards to actually surf - I tried mightily but never caught a wave, but I did love the whole experience. Then we ended the evening with a nice meal in their restaurant, and told the waiters that it was Wes's birthday, so they brought out an insane surfboard covered in desserts. The boys also spent a morning fishing, which was mostly them sailing around and barfing, since they only caught one fish (but the chef turned it into ceviche for us!) The rest of the time was spent pool side, other than a trip out for dinner, and some minor tourist time buying presents for the kids the morning before we left. I really could not have asked for anything more. And it was a relief to know that my kids and cats were in good hands - I was more worried about Gigi than the kids.

Clearly, I am miserable.

The beach, just a short walk from our house

Dinner in progress

Bananagrams is serious business

A walk on the beach with my boyfriend

Uni Hat

Turns out, we still like each other a lot

"birthday" boy Wes and his insane desserts

I am an ideal vacation companion

Bruin colors, should have bought it.