Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Swimmy Fish Children.

In case you haven't heard, it's hot as Hades here. Which leaves us with no a lot to do other than sweat to death, or GO SWIMMING!

After his initial hesitation, Adam is back into full on swimmy fish mode.

And after initially having to hunt down our swim instructor, we've had consistently good lessons. Today, the Y was absolutely slammed in the morning because there's a swim meet at the facility next door. The kids and I pulled up around 9:10 so that I could go to the 9:30 boot camp, and at first, parked about a mile away. We were midway through our walk when I realized, I was going to miss the class anyways, I was going to have to walk BACK with my kids when all was said and done, and we were still going to have to try to come back at 1 for swim lessons. Instead, we packed it up and headed home. Ellie put up a big fuss, even though she says she doesn't like the KidZone anyways, but then at 11:30 when we showed back up we found convenient street parking, and they hung out in the KidZone while I worked out on my own, and then we all did some good swimming. I only wish the video of Adam was a little longer!

And please to view green band winner, Elizabeth Beans! She's now passed her swim test and is cleared to swim where ever she wants at the pool!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Living Their Best Lives.

In general, I find nothing makes my children more unhappy than doing fun things, especially the more money you spend to make those activities happen. But every now and then, you find that they will just enjoy themselves instead of finding something about which to be totally sour.

Yesterday they had a swim lesson in the morning (Adam was not a fan) and then both were so tired from the week that I couldn't get them off the couch, even with a bribe of taking them to Ruby's and buying them a milkshake. Which probably ended up being for the best, because they went down for early naps, and then I woke Ellie up in time to head over to city hall for a bubble fest, put on by the friends of the library. Recall a little over a year ago we paid a bunch of money to attend bubble fest at the Discovery Science Center, and she lost her composure so badly that we ended up walking back to the car about five minutes in.

This time, she was a delightful little bubble guest!

It definitely helped that this event was more low key, more well lit, and that every single kid got to go in the giant bubble (which is basically all that they're interested in.) Our neighbor friend Aislinn came too and also loved it, and afterwards we went over to the library where Ellie picked Bridge to Terabithia out of the Friends book sale. She followed that with fifteen minutes of squealing about having A CHAPTER BOOK!

From there, our hot date continued down PCH to the Laguna Beach, where they were having a Tip a Cop fundraiser. I've managed to get Lisa to join my 5K team for We Run the City, so it was nice for her to see some of the athletes and learn more about Special Olympics. Plus it's always such a fun thing for the kids. The girls got to have milk shakes, the moms got to have milk shakes (we bought child sized ones, because we are so virtuous) and then they had free balloon animals, face painting, and time spent getting arrested.

Then we went back to Lisa and Aislinn's house to join with our husbands and have dinner. The kids came home tired, dirty and happy as clams.

This morning I made pancakes, and then we went over to swim at Gigi and Grizz's house. After some initial hesitation about jumping off the back wall, Adam is now back to throwing himself around in the water like he can actually swim. Now they're napping before we go to the concert in the park with Lexi and Judd. What more could the kids want? (stay posted on whether or not they cry the whole time.)

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ministerial Services.

Another hectic summer week has come and gone!

Brian, Becca and Benjy flew into town on Saturday for our friend Lauren's wedding, which was this following Monday. Adam and Ellie were so thrilled to have baby Benjy at our house, and loved playing with him and snuggling with him. Sometimes with their gentle hands, sometimes not so gentle. This time, when we had Adam sleep in Ellie's room, he actually SLEPT so that was a relief. Now that we no longer have house guests, he has decided that he no longer wants a baby bed, and changing his "crib" (aka, a cage around his mattress on the floor so that he can't crawl out) to a big boy bed made Ellie want a bigger girl bed, so we took down her bed rail. Everyone is drunk on power, and exhilarated about the chance to fall out onto the floor. They're doing well though, which feels like another good milestone. No more worrying about cribs on long trips, since they can both sleep on air mattresses, or in a regular bed. We only have to take diapers for overnight, and soon, we'll be down to only one full sized car seat. Traveling so light! (which is funny because friends ask me about getting TSA precheck or trusted traveler, and traveling with small children makes it feel so not worth it.)

My friend Lauren is one of the sweetest loves of all time, and has been such a supportive auntie to my kids. However, when she talked about her wedding, I immediately said "please don't ask me to have Ellie be the flower girl." I had zero interest in having the kids at the wedding with us, especially after she asked Tim and I to perform the ceremony. But, we were able to take the kids up for the rehearsal on Sunday morning and the brunch following, and they had a good time with all of the wedding party (and everyone was so sweet to them, even when brunch ran really long and they got squirrely.) Our waiter was named Adam, which upset Ellie because she said "everything is about Adam!" and then I said "well, raise your hand if you have Elizabeth in your name" and both Lauren and Joy raised their hand (it's their middle name.) That made her feel much better. What made me feel the best was when Ellie asked if Lauren, Joy and I were cousins (which is one step slightly below sisters) and I said "we're sister friends!" I adore those girls. And Becca. Here is a good before and after for you.

I mean, have you ever seen a group of women age so beautifully? The first picture was almost ten years ago, when we were all together for the first time (after meeting on an internet blogging site, which was a super creepy thing to do back in the day.) And now they are some of my very, very dearest sister-friends.

Monday, the day of the wedding, was a little tense, because as you may know, my mom took a tumble off a ladder on Saturday afternoon, She was stable over the weekend, and it wasn't so grotesque that they had to take the ER. But dad wasn't sure what the doctor visit schedule would be like, and surprise, he didn't want to take Adam along with his wife, old Peg Leg. The good news is that Ellie was at camp all day and out of everyone's hair, and our friend Kristen saved the day by letting us leave Adam with Judd and his nanny during the day. He was THRILLED to spend the day was Juddy, and was apparently a good boy who took a nice nap and didn't have any potty accidents. Dad spent the day driving mom around and then going to pick up kids and Sara and drop Sara off at club, but everyone received good child care during the day, mom got the doctors appointments that she needed, and then the kids were well behaved through our arrival home on Tuesday afternoon. Adam even got to watch a new butterfly hatch!

Oh, and the wedding was great! Tim and I performed well both under the chuppah and on the dance floor, and we had an amazing time with our friends.

Benjy was also an exceptional wedding guest - he's wearing the tuxedo that Adam wore when Brian and Becca got married. The only downside was when he tried to overserve himself at the hotel bar before the nuptials. 
It was also in the hotel bar where I did some really good wolf whistling at the mother of the groom. I'm friendly!

Ellie is continuing to enjoy camp, but she's so tired at the end of the day. 

I pick her up well before 6 every day, we usually stop by and check on Gigi and Grizz (who most days have been hanging out with Adam so that I don't have to drag him along) and then we're home by 6:30 and she's a zombie on the couch until she flops, exhausted, into bed at 8. Today they're taking the kids on a whale watching field trip in Dana Point, and when we walked into camp, I said "oh, you get to wear your special camp shirt today!" Cue explosive tears. I ended up taking the shirt, borrowing a sharpie and scribbling some hearts on it to make it "pretty" but I bet she will rip it off the second she gets back to the gym facility, and will never ever wear it again. She likes to make very specific fashion noises, and I can't blame her. I did however, tell her she'd have to leave it she couldn't get it together. She and Lexi have had two really fun weeks, but I'm glad we didn't sign them up for any other sessions. Also - I love that on Monday, they gave my dad a huge ration of crap because they'd misplaced the form where I'd authorized him to pick up Ellie that morning, and yesterday, schedules worked out so that I could grab both girls and meet Kristen and Judd for ice cream (Adam was napping with Grizz) and even though I wasn't on the official form, they just wrote down my name and allowed Lexi to leave with me. I wonder if they would have allowed it if I had a mustache. No one trusts a guy with 1970s facial hair, Grizz!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Desert Rats and Baby Showers.

Hello again, friends and family. Tim and I greedily took another weekend off from parenting this past weekend to drive out to Palm Springs and celebrate our friend Sara Jo's 40th birthday. Palm Springs honestly remains a bit of a mystery to me - it's so unbelievably ho, and the landscape is so alien and sandy and rocky. What's the fun in that, long term? I mean, it was great for a weekend. We had a wonderful hotel with a nice pool, within easy walking distance of good restaurants and bars. Which is not too shabby. But I don't know if I'd enjoy it as much if I wasn't lounging in a pool drinking booze drinks and eating chips and guac.

The kids had a great time with Mimi and Poppy, despite the fact that when we dropped them off, Ellie was wailing hysterically because she'd lost a piece of shiny trash that she'd picked up at the splash pad, and Adam was angry that he had to go to the office, not to Mimi's house, and he was hungry, even as he was scarfing a Kind bar. They got to go night swimming, and day swimming, and have pancakes and pizza. And Ellie got to do a lot of good crafting work getting ready for Jolie's baby shower on Sunday morning.

Kids table action - no yucky boys allowed!

Then after everyone left, we had a little birthday party for Jake. Yucky boys were allowed.

For Grilling..

And Chilling...

Unlike her mom, Ellie did not take advantage of any downtime to nap, and so passed out on the way home. She's at a day camp this week, which runs from 8am-6pm at the local fancy pants gym. I've been going to pick her up closer to 5pm so she actually gets some day light time with her family, but she's hanging in there better than expected. She's swimming a lot and loves their rock climbing wall. I hope she understands that naptime will resume once camp is over. Otherwise mommy will go nuts. 

And in closing, here is Tim doing some karaoke in the desert. Our friends were surprised that he was so willing to get up and belt it out solo. I was not. He's just as big of a showoff as me, in his own way.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Summertime Blues

Everyone around here is getting tan, with ratty hair and sun screen all over their skin, which I guess is the way to be during summer vacation. It's hard though! It's nice to sleep in past 7 every morning, but the kids are nutso. TK didn't feel like that much time every day, but now that Ellie's home, it's three extra hours that they can bicker with each other or whine to me.

It's wonderful that we have our Y membership, because then momma gets an hour to work out every day. Ellie complains every morning, but I remind her that last summer she didn't want to go for a run in the stroller every day, but she did! We're getting back into their swim lessons, which is great, and Spa Thiel is now up and running. Adam's been much more hesitant this year about jumping in and swimming, but he's slowly warming up. Still won't jump off the back wall yet. He said he's scared because he can't swim, but we assured him that it would be okay. And the first day he got in and did some good paddling, then I had Ellie hanging off of me crying that we though Adam was a better swimmer than her. Kid, he can't even swim. I'm not ignoring you, I'm just holding onto him so that he doesn't drown. I know, meanest mommy ever.

Ruffle fish getting ready to hit the waters.

We had a busy Fourth of July weekend. On the 3rd we went to a friend's house, and the kids (Ellie mostly) spent almost four hours in the pool. Then bounce house. Then we finally crammed dinner and dessert into them and they sat and watched a movie and let us sit outside and talk about them for ten minutes. We didn't get home until almost 11!

Then on the 4th we had our traditional nerd party with Tim's coworker friends, and bonus little kid friends this year. Tim got a virtual reality helmet, so part of the party fun was everyone trying it out. The best nerd accessory ever! We had tons of good food and brats and lots of chips and dips, and the kids helped me make a big dirt cake (because I love America, but I'm not very proud of it right now.)

Jake picked up a big pile of sparklers and fountain fireworks, so we set those off when it got dark. Thanks for not calling the cops on us, neighbors!

The best part is that every year Jake lights the fireworks, even though he's usually got an Ironman lined up. Sure, blow off some fingers or toes - it's not like you're going to need them!

The rest of the week we've just been keeping busy. Adam has lots of chores to do, obviously.

And today after the Y we went the splash pad, which is great because it's also right near a fun park. Did Adam cry almost the entire time? YOU BET HE DID.
Ellie loved it though, so that's good.

Also enjoyed a nice family park date last night. Adam and I ended up on the swing next to them, making us a family of circus animals.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Video Catch Up.

Here's a few from our trip, and one from last night.

Here's the little cousins, busting some moves

Ellie did lots of good jumping that day - you can see how cold it is though - she scrambled for that ladder REAL quickly.

Ellie and Olivia did a lot of good table dancing during their time together. The funniest part was when John Nollin tried to get up and join them, and Ellie informed him that he was TOO BIG (much to his great sadness.)

Oh Adam Howard. Please note, he got plenty of candy immediately after this, but did manage to do some good laying face down and crying by the side of the road. He's a real treat.

Everyone's belly laughter absolutely slays me. All children and generations LOVE when Dad talks in his Donald Duck voice.