Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Wisconsin 2016

What a great trip! We had an absolutely wonderful time back in the Midwest with our families. Once again, being able to fly with Grizz and all of his airline perks, and Gigi and Sara and their wonderful helping hands was a delight. I joked (not joking) more than once that the only way we survive is that there's five adults and three children. The kids were decent fliers - Adam gets a little squirrely towards the end and requires a lot of entertaining, but he's three, so it's to be expected.

We spent the weekend in Chicago with Becca and Brian and Benjy, who we love.

 We got to have a really fun Father's Day in downtown Chicago, meeting back up with their friends Sara and Ken, whose daughter Natalie was the co-flower girl with Ellie back in 2013. We went down by the Bean (which Ellie later called "the Wisconsin Nut" and played at the fountains/public art in Millennium Park.)

Ellie could have stayed there all day, but was also glad to get a frozen lemonade (Chicago style hot dogs for the grown ups) and go over to a new park on the other side of the highway. The kids had really struggled going to bed the night before (Adam was a monster) so I was amazed at how well they held up that day.

Good news, Ellie had friends to help her nap.

Bad news, the small furry friends had nowhere to escape from Adam.

We spent the week in Door County in a nice rental with Gigi and Grizz and Sara. We had plenty of bedrooms and more than enough beds, a nice kitchen and a great yard. The kids loved that we had a swing set, which they called their play ground. It was really a great way to keep them entertained - that and the wonderful VHS tapes of older Disney movies.

It was a fantastic week. We had big beautiful peonies blooming in the yard, and we could easily walk into Gills Rock or over to Lisa's. We ate ice cream every day, I drank beer and had cheese every day, we were able to ditch the kids because Grizz was usually home during their nap, and Gigi put them down for us one day so that we could take a whole afternoon to ourselves. The kids got to play with all of their cousins - Olivia and Sweet Baby James, and our big girl Hailee. 

We had a couple of good afternoons down at Sister Bay Beach:

We got to celebrate Juan Dog's birthday with him:

We went to the Olde Ellison Bay days parade, and Uncorked Food & Wine Festival
At every turn, the kittens had plenty of people to love on them and play with them. From Grandma Rosie to Baby James and (nearly!) everyone in between from my side of the family, all in one place. They collected bugs and rocks and dug holes and picked flowers. And Adam did eventually learn to go to sleep without a huge fight, and they were thrilled to share a room.  

Plus, did I mention booze and cheese for the adults? 

One of the funniest, most Wisconsin-y moments of the trip was on Sunday, when Tim and I took the kids into Sister Bay to see the goats outside of the Door County Creamery and have some lunch and ice cream. Because I'm so very fun, I let them get ice cream first. Yet that did not please them, because when we went outside to eat, the goats were not there yet. So, they cried into their gelato for a few minutes until LO, the goat herders came with their goats in a truck, and unloaded them into the pet where they hang out all day and get petted, as they learn how to be nice goats that give milk for the creamery (I think this a direct diss to Al Johnson's, which has only useless boy goats on their roof.)

So, they said hey to the goat. And then a few minutes later, the hippies who take care of the goats got out some twine and leashed their goats for a walk to the beach.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Pre-K Graduate

The busy week continues! Our little lady is a transitional kindergarten graduate. She received rave reviews from Mrs. Goodman, and has been deemed more than ready to start kindergarten in the fall. Gigi and Sara came by to watch Adam on Thursday afternoon so I could go participate in the end of year festivities, which was very sweet. Mrs. Goodman actually got a little teary while she read the class one final story.

Last day fashions were of course, pure Ellie.

Here she is with the wonderful Mrs. Goodman, sporting the tee shirt that everyone signed

This morning I had high hopes that they'd both sleep in until 8:30, but it was eyes open at 7:15, and Ellie immediately asked me if it was time to pack. Not yet! I like to wait until the last minute, while keeping an extensive, running packing list. Thursday is laundry day in our house, so Friday is the perfect day to pack, because all of the clothes are clean! And for the first time, I don't need to take a diaper bag! (though, let's be real, I sort of want to put Adam in a diaper on the plane, just to not have to worry about him.) He's so excited to pull his own suitcase again, and Ellie has already packed her backpack (sad news for her that I'm going to empty it and get it sorted after she goes to sleep tonight. MEAN MOMMY.)

Good news, Thor got a clean bill of health from the vet this week (had his yearly check up, and we had to get it done because he needed a new prescription, and he'd otherwise run out of insulin while we were gone.) Our nice neighbor Lisa (who is a vet) had agreed to come over and shoot him up for us, but she is also out of town. but her ALSO very nice husband Patrick is home and even though he's allergic and doesn't even like cats, he said it's no problem for him to help out. I truly appreciate it - not only does it save us a FORTUNE since we don't have to board them, but Thor is terrified of the vet - he pees on me while I'm stuffing him in his carrier, he yeowls like he's dying, and then he trembles while he's there. Even if Patrick is not the best insulin injector ever, at least both cats will be in their home, instead of a cage at the vet. I also had a good dentist visit yesterday, because I planned poorly six months ago.

Good news/bad news: Adam's much beloved explorer boots have finally bit the dust. He was helping Gigi water yesterday and his socks were just soaked, because his rain boots are no longer waterproof.

We shall give them a Viking funeral. Just kidding - I already threw them in the trash! He is much enamored with his new Paw Patrol light up tennies, so hopefully the loss of his smelly, sweaty, gross boots won't be too much to bear. You've been a good fish, Pepper.

When not being an explorer, Adam is as always, a Junior Fire Fighter. You may have seen the brush fire in Southern California this week, and yes, it was right on the back side of my parents' neighborhood. We went over when things had mostly calmed down, but the kids still had a great time watching the helicopter dropping water, and the many fire trucks and police cars.

Well, now I have to work on my summer 2016 play list, so we can party at the cabin. Pack some clothes you say? NONSENSE. We can buy clothes in Wisconsin - can't buy these kind of great jams!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pizza and Ice Cream.

The best $5 dinner that money can buy. Plus I fed them some free samples beforehand.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Use the Force.

Yes, hello, hi. This may be my last week of blogging, because I'm not quite sure I'm going to make it out alive. It's the last week of school, which means a different activity every day, leading up to last day on Thursday. The other fun thing is that on Thursday we have to take our stupid cat into the vet for the day, because otherwise we'll run out of insulin while we're gone and he'll croak, and I have a dentist appointment that I planned six months ago in the afternoon. And we have to do laundry and pack and make sure our house is okay to leave for nine days. And this morning the check engine light popped on in my car. Plus my delightful three year old is being a grade A jerk weasel, who throws fits and gets dragged screaming from parties, and finds every last nerve of mine and rides it like a show pony. HOORAY! I joked to Dad last night that if he was my friend, he'd make me a bleach and tonic.

MOSTLY KIDDING. I'll stick to my scrawny mules. But I'm going to drink a whole pack's worth. I realize this happens every time we travel - even though the kids do well on the plane, and we have more adults than children, the week leading up to actually leaving has me totally bonkers beneath the surface at all times. SO FUN.

Plus we had a busy weekend this past weekend. Our friend Penelope turned five, and she had a big Star Wars themed birthday party a local park. It was drizzly, which was actually a nice change from standing outside in the blazing sun. They hired a bunch of performers to do Jedi training, and they trained those kids for THREE HOURS. Many balloon light sabers (many... many... because balloons plus grass is not a good combination) and then learning to fight with pool noodles. I was amazed at how long the entertainment went on, and was glad that they served food first. There was also a jungle gym there, for Party Pooper Extraordinaire Adam to play on. And he had a good time chasing Tim around the soccer field, kicking a tennis ball. Ellie loved it - yesterday she told her friend at school that she's a real Jedi now.

Learning from Rey

Fighting with the birthday girl

Adam, trying to cut down his own father.

After nap time, we watched the newest Star Wars. Ellie curled up with me for part of it and goes "mommy, in these movies, the kids kill their parents. I promise to never kill you." Thanks, my little padawan.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


We're continuing to wind down to summer around here (or rev up to our trip to Wisconsin, your choice.) I'm looking forward to sleeping in, and I think the kids are too (I have to wake Ellie up 95% of the time.) But some of the final adventures are getting to me.

For instance, today was the last day of Music Together class until the summer. And since Ellie will be home and is too old for Music Together (based on both the class listing, and the fact that I'd rather pay for piano lessons versus toddler music class) we're pretty well done. In the fall, he may go with Mimi on Wednesdays, but his buddy the Juddy will be in preschool on Wednesdays, so the days of Kristen and I going in and being the best singers in the group is pretty much over. It's been such a fun class - fun for the kids to hang with their friends, fun for me to hang with my friend, dancing and singing and being real goofy, and the music is (mostly) great. Thanks to the countless hours of Music Together (and Miss Elena songs in the car) we have so many songs to sing together and so many great melodies. And great memories. Ellie's been doing it since before she could crawl, and Adam started going to class with us when he was four weeks old? Two weeks old? He was a lump in the moby wrap - he knows nothing other than the delight of Crazy Miss Elena.

Here he is as an organ grinder's monkey.

And here he is during my favorite song, Old Brass Wagon. Circle to the left, y'all.

Also today was Ellie's last dance class. They let us come in and film the last performance, which is nice, especially since Ellie's missing the dress rehearsal and the performance. She doesn't seem too broken up about it any more, though she has big plans to show off for everyone in Wisconsin (prepare yourselves!) She's really made great progress this year as a dancer - it's a more serious class than her preschool ballet, and she especially loves being loud and tapping around. It looks like we'll try ballet again in the fall, but with the same instructor (and being in class again with Lexi, which is always half of the fun.)

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Shave and A Hair Cut.



In case you were curious, the blow-pop was an awful idea. I hoped maybe he'd eat it and be quiet during his hair cut, but still there was plenty of complaining about the buzzers and having to sit still. So instead of just regular crying, he was taking big licks from a hair covered sucker, and then drooling red juice everywhere. Those poor barbers - we go because it's a quick hair cut and it's cheap (Tim and I also get our hairs cut there) but when I bring in Adam, I tip more than double, for combat pay (and because sometimes it takes two barbers AND me to hold him and shear him.) 

Yesterday after nap time, we were at an impasse as to what activity sounded fun - both kids were a bit whiny and I'm sure would have enjoyed just turning their brains to mush with TV, but then the big one said she just wanted to art, and the little one said he wanted to go to the park. 

So for once, I was able to make everyone happy!

Overwatch has now been out for two weeks, and by all accounts is a smash. I play a couple of times a week, and have finally had few matches where the number of time I die is actually LESS than the amount of kills I get. YES I AM THE BEST GAMER EVER. The end of last week was filled with a lot of celebrating for Tim. Blizzard does a champagne toast for a successful ship, or as I have been calling it, either Nerds Gone Wild, or the Nerd Wet Tee Shirt contest. Please to enjoy

Friday, June 3, 2016

Tip A Cop.

Another fun Tip a Cop night last night, this time at the Irvine Spectrum. They really turn it out for the event - a whole bunch of restaurants participate (including our favorite, Ruby's) and because there's a large central space, law enforcement can bring out a ton of vehicles. Last night the kids got to eat burgers, drink milk shakes, and see a SWAT vehicle (they loved popping their head out of the top), a mobile command unit, various cars and motorcycles, AND a police dog. Plus a bunch of other random dogs wandering around - Ellie was petting this enormous black monster dog, and the owner goes "you can sit on him, if you want." So, she rode a dog (did not get a photo, sorry.)

We did photograph her fancy outfit for our hot date with Gigi and Grizz

Mostly Grizz.

We got to ride on the ferris wheel with him, which was a thrill for everyone. Grizz was a very nice date to have, because the Spectrum is huge and the kids want to explore every inch, but also don't usually end up wanting to walk the whole way. And since Tim was still at work, I very much appreciated having a second set of hands. 

Of course, we also rode the carousel. And since Ellie can sit by herself now, Adam got to choose whatever animal he wanted (instead of me having to keep them near each other.) Of course, he picked an ostrich. What could be more fun? 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Here Comes Rhyming Simon.

I've said before, one of the things I miss most about living in LA is being able to go see more live music. When Tim and I were young and dumb, there were several months a year where we'd have two different musicals to go see, and a concert or two, because we had cheap season tickets to the Ahmanson and the Pantages, and if a band I liked came through town, I'd buy tickets 99% of the time.

The good thing about Orange County is that it's not so far away from various live music venues, and Gigi is sweet enough to stay at our house until we finally roll back in at 1am. Sure, the curfew at the Hollywood Bowl is 11pm, but that doesn't take into account getting out of the venue, out of the stacked parking lot, and down various freeways that were all closed right before we could get on the 5 South.

Anyhow. All that to say that Tim and I were able to get out last night to see Paul Simon at the Hollywood Bowl, my favorite of the far away Los Angeles concert-seeing-venues.

And hooray, my favorite boyfriend date, and my favorite musician. What more can you ask for?