Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Sweet Things Kids Say.

Just a random assortment of things I'd like to remember:

The other day we were outside and Adam picked me a couple of flowers from the side yard, and then very excitedly told me "you can go and put dese in your fwower vase inside!" He was so, so happy with his contribution.

Yesterday, on our stroll to the first day of school, I asked Ellie what the most important thing was about being at school (last year, her immediate answer was "no jewelry.") Yesterday, she said she didn't know, then hemmed and hawed for a moment and said "be helpful and nice to everyone?" Good answer, but not the correct quotation of the Thiel School-going Rules and Regulations - the correct answer is "always do your best and we will always be proud of you." Luckily, she always does her best, and only two days in, we're already very proud of her.

This afternoon before nap, we finished reading Little House on the Prairie. It ends with the family packing up their wagon to move away from their new plot of land in Kansas, because it turns out that they were three miles into "Indian Territory" and the government was going to force them to move out (and then later, force the Indians to go some place else, of course.) The book has a lot of statements about "the only good Indian is a dead Indian" and rather than skipping over those parts, we've been trying to use it as a teachable moment for Ellie. Sometimes society acts like children are colorblind, but they're not. They have to be taught prejudice, but small children notice how people look, and how people are the same or different (last week when our friends Mila and Rahim were here, Ellie talked about how I'm tanner than her, but how Mila and Rahim are darker than Parissa.) As she was getting into bed, Ellie said "in the book, Mr. Scott says the only good Indian is a dead Indian," and I asked her "do you think that's a nice thing to say?" and she said "no. Because we should be nice to everyone. We should treat people how we want to be treated."

And in less serious news, today she told me "Mommy! Adam called me pee-pee-poo-poo-pie!" and instead of scolding, I burst out laughing. So, in short, I'm the best mom.

Monday, August 29, 2016


My big girl is a kindergarten girl! She woke up so excited! And since we had until 10am, she had plenty of time to fart around the house (as did her lazy mom.) No more waking everyone up and hustling out the door, with me in my pajamas. Today, work out clothes, because we walked down to school. Both kids loved running along together, and we'll definitely try to keep that up. It's weird during pick up and drop off though, being a later gator, because the place is pretty quiet, other than the other thirty or so parents of later gators.

She wore her boots, because she's Ellie, her Hungry Caterpillar dress made by Grandma Rosie, and her new lemon barrette from her back to school shopping trip with Mimi - the lemon is so that the hungry caterpillar can have something to eat if he so desires.

She said she was a little nervous before she went in, but she introduced herself to her teacher (she's decided to go by Elizabeth this year) and then she walked in and hugged her friend Kayla, who is an early bird. Blew me a kiss, and that was it! Adam and I strolled home and then headed off to the Y, and I spent the rest of the morning doing some house cleaning. I was unsure how Ellie would feel at pick up - she usually eats lunch around 11:30, and is down for a nap around 1, and being a later gator means she has a snack at 10:15, lunch after school, and then today we didn't get down for nap until closer to 2. I know it'll be an adjustment, but she was happy to see me - she and Adam resumed their after school hugging like they'd been separated for years - and she said that she LOVED kindergarten. Did some coloring, read some books, had her snack, and immediately slammed the rest of the food in her lunch box while we walked to the car. Now, everyone is having a little snooze, and we'll get ourselves ready for another day. SCHOOL FOREVER!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Big fun today, going to orientations for both Adam's preschool and Ellie's kindergarten. All I have to say is:

Woof. In both cases, we got a packet of information, and then basically had a presentation in which they read us highlights from said packet of information. And then opened the floor for questions, and people asked questions that only applied to their family. Please ask those questions in private, so the rest of us can leave and quit doodling on our packets (or telling our kids to pipe down.)

I meet Adam's teacher next week. I met Ellie's teacher today - she's a new teacher, which raised some eyebrows in the room, and the principal is also only in his second year at the school. Compared to some of my friends, I feel almost dangerously laisse faire. I have done absolutely nothing to advocate for Ellie's instructor or instruction - I filled out the packet of info as requested back in May, I turned it in on time, and since then, I have done nothing. I haven't emailed other parents, I haven't researched the various teachers, I haven't gone and tried to balance the feng shui of various classrooms... I just can't be bothered to be too concerned about kindergarten, even if it is THE NEW FIRST GRADE. As I tell everyone, I figure that Ellie will be able to bloom where ever she's planted. She did great in TK and is a smart kid, and if it turns out that she's either genius level exceptional, or a local idiot, we'll deal with it at that point. Until then, I'll assume that the school and her teacher has her best interest in mind, and that she's surrounded by intelligent, loving family members.

I will also say that I don't anticipate crying next week. I love five year old Ellie. I love watching her mind work. I love hearing the things that she learned in school. I held a six week old baby today, and it in no way made me want another baby, or wish that my children were infants again (especially not my little melonheaded ball of colic.) I anticipate dropping her off and going for a jog with Adam, fairly dry eyed.

Also, I felt like a bit of a cheater today, going to the meetings in a dress and jewelry, with my face all made up, considering that last year I rolled out of bed, put on yoga pants instead of pajama pants, and then threw a sweatshirt on over my pajama top. Add sunglasses and travel mug of coffee, and that was my look every morning at drop off. And half the time, at pick up, I was in very sweaty clothes after going running.

We'll see how this year goes - depressingly, Ellie is a later gator, which means she starts at 10, and basically my whole morning is going to be in the toilet. HOW AM I GOING TO ATTEND MY 9:30 CLASSES AT THE Y? But, the later gator classes are smaller (as early bird is preferred) so the teachers were talking up the benefits of kids having more one on one time (as they are hoping maybe some parents will opt to push their kids back to the later session.) We'll see how it goes - we have a few more fun weekend plans, and then it's back to the grindstone. At least we'll get to sleep in!

Ellie resumed her dancing this week. Now the Wednesday class is ballet, so she's back to her pink tights and pink shoes, doing lots of good first position. However, her recital is also the same day as Olde Ellison Bay Days, so I'm preparing her for skipping the recital again this year. Hopefully, we can figure out our plans before I have to pay for her costume this year.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Disco Fever.

I was talking with a girlfriend about my kids loving a dance party, and she mentioned that she'd bought a disco ball for a New Years Eve party that proved to be a big hit.

You guys, it's life changing.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bedtime for Bonzos.

Tonight after dinner I was lazing around in bed (hiding from my kids. What, you did it too at one point) and as usual, they found me. First, they tried to crawl all over me and I pretended to be asleep, so they tried to open my eyeballs (no thanks) and Adam yelled in my ear while Ellie tried to stuff her fingers in my arm pits and tickle me. Double no thank you. But then, after I pointed out that no one likes to be screamed at and for the love, don't touch my eyes, they softened and did some lullaby singing. This is the second time Adam went through this song, but it made me laugh SO HARD that even though he knows a dozen or so bedtime songs, this is what he picked.

The other one is giving Jerry Jeff a run for his money. It's funny because since Lisa's been in town, we've heard Navajo Rug in the car twice, and both times I told Ellie that we danced to it at Auntie Kate's wedding, but maybe she doesn't remember because she was still in my belly.

A good story that I forgot to share: so this past Sunday, Eileen and Don had gifted Tim and I with tickets to see Cabaret at the Segerstrom. When we scheduled it originally, it also came with babysitting services, but then it came up that they had other plans, and we all figured Gigi could take over (and be paid with peanut M&Ms.) And then Gigi broke her leg. And it was a Sunday night and Sara has work on Monday mornings. So it came to pass that I figured Jake might owe us one, after we spent our wedding anniversary watching him jog around town up in Windsor, and I asked him if he'd mind babysitting. He said yes, because he is both a nice uncle and a nice brother. We went easy on him - the kids had already eaten, they were relatively clean and didn't need a bath, and so basically he had to keep them alive until bedtime, and then have them in their beds before we got home. And we were home by 9:30, so he had less than four hours as the adult in charge. Ellie was still half awake and so we had to go in and kiss her when we got home, but that's not uncommon. All was well! And then in the morning, I realized that Jake has apparently never changed a diaper, because Adam's overnight diaper was on backwards. But, there was no leakage, so basically, I'd be willing to pay Jake DOUBLE what we paid him on Sunday.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Little House.

A few weeks ago, Ellie and I started reading the Little House series. She as really into the idea of reading a chapter book, but was clearly paying zero attention to Bridge to Terabithia. No pictures, a little above her reading level, kind of a different story. Plus, I don't remember reading it as a kid, and was informed that one of the lead characters dies in the end, so maybe no the best for an already sensitive five year old. So I told her we were going to move on to something better. She has a children's book version of Little House in the Big Woods (a very short book with lots of pictures, more of a bedtime story) so she was familiar with the idea, and I'd already told her (about a million times) that it was my favorite book series growing up.

It's so fun to be reading with her. We read the better part of a chapter at night (and before nap) so we're already onto Little House on the Prairie. Some things I have learned, now re-reading as an adult: there's a lot of stories that end with someone getting their ass whooped for disobedience (mostly Pa) and there's a lot of stories about guns and shooting things. Since we do not own firearms or cut switches, that has been interesting. There's also a lot of panthers on the attack, which thankfully we are also not dealing with around town - just the random skunk wandering through the back yard.

Still, the funny part is watching the kids all of a sudden incorporate these new concepts into their play. They've been spending a lot of time laying under the train table, which has become their tent, and then they run around the house, brandishing guns (mostly sticks, or Adam's trash grabber) to fight off some bears. I can't blame them, because how many years did I spend in dress up clothes, pretending to be riding around in a covered wagon (a Radio Flyer with a piece of card board over the top can work in a pinch.) I can still remember getting Little House in the Big Woods for my sixth birthday from my Grandma, and curling up in bed to listen to my mom read to me, and it's truly wonderful to be sharing this now with Ellie.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Not too much to report around here. We've had a pretty quiet week, which is nice after all of our travels. Every morning, the kids whine about not wanting to go to the kidzone at the Y, and every morning I make them go so that I can work on my fitness.

Thankfully, they're not suffering too much, as you can see. They've also been doing lots of art projects this week, which pleases Ellie greatly. Adam's always happy to play in the sandbox and use the blocks.

Auntie Lisa is in town this week to help out with Gigi, and we got to pick her up from the airport. Ellie loves having a captive audience, so that she can tell an hours worth of random stories in twenty minutes. No idea where she gets that from.

Speaking of car time - they recently discovered Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire and now request it. The funny part is that it's my traditional karaoke song. I know all the words, it's easy to sing (it's more like talking) and it's impressive! They are well on their way.

Yesterday was my 35th birthday - I had a new, obnoxiously yellow dress, and Ellie made me a beautiful necklace (she also took this picture.)

My neighbor Lisa was hosting a baby shower for her friend Lauren (who I also knew from UCLA and have enjoyed reconnecting with) and so I spent most of the day over there, showering Lauren and helping out, while Tim and Patrick contained the kids at our house.

We got the kids and went swimming with Grizz, which was much needed during the hot afternoon, and then had a delicious dinner with everyone, followed by cake with Sara Jo and Todd and Whitney. The evening ended, as all good parties do, with a dance party:

Monday, August 8, 2016

Why'd We Come In Here Looking Like That...

A few months ago, I got an email that Dolly Parton tickets were going to go on sale. I asked Tim if he wanted to go see a legend in concert, and he said no, but that I could take Ellie. Which is a nice idea, and 9 to 5 is definitely her jam, but I don't feel like the Hollywood Bowl, over an hour away, is the best place for baby's first live music concert, nor do I feel like the Dolly audience would appreciate Ellie whining the whole time until 9 to 5 was played. I was emailing with Becca and she said Brian didn't want to go see Dolly with her in Chicago, so invited me to come.

Which as you can imagine, I was happy to do! Because I am a terrible spouse, I then called Tim and asked "do you mind if I see Dolly Parton with Becca?" and he said no, and then I told him "great, I'm going to fly out to Chicago and see her there!" Could have made his own life so much easier if he'd just gotten on board with my concert going plans. And if Brian had gone with Becca, he wouldn't have had to put up with the two of us twin-talking the entire weekend long. It was a great show, Dolly Parton sounds fantastic - you would not know to look at her (obviously) or hear her how old she is, but she was GREAT. And I had a very relaxing weekend with the Nieburhsons. It helped that I treated myself to a first class flying experience. It's very nice up there. Free booze, good snacks, large seats. Makes it worth saving all of those miles over the years!

In the mean time, Tim and the kids had a good time and kept busy. Don also sent some of his Ironman photos - please to enjoy some of Adam as a riverboad captain.

Plus, good old bossy boots talking at her dad.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Third Time is the Charm!

We had a fun long weekend up in Northern California, cheering Uncle Jake on during his third Ironman.

Please enjoy how Ellie dresses herself for airline travel:

Both kids were great travelers, and when we got into San Jose, we went and visited their children's museum, which was a great size for our kids, and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening with our friends Bob and Nancy, and their kids, who are just a touch younger than ours. It was nice to be in their house, just relaxing for the afternoon and letting the kids play, and then we left right around bedtime and convinced the children to close their eyes for the drive up to the Russian River.

The cabin that Jake rented was very quintessential cabin. Down a one lane dirt road, lots of segments built into each other, no level floors, wonky bathrooms. It was right over the river and was built into a copse of redwood trees.

Ellie enjoyed some time in the hot tub on the deck

The master featured these sweet wagon wheel lamps, and a fireplace that made the room smell like a campfire. We had a kid on either side of the bed on one a cot - when we were getting them in bed on Thursday night, I moved the bed so that Ellie hopefully wouldn't roll off into the stone fireplace, and when I came to bed, she of course was hanging off the bed on that side. She was so tired though that picking her up and scooting her didn't register with her at all.

Friday was a lot of race prep - here is Jake working with one of his little helpers
The kids and I spent some time down in the river, and Adam loved that there were tons of butterflies and caterpillars around - he found three chrysalis on the railing of the deck (sadly, did not get to see any of our new pipevine swallowtails hatching.)

Jake also had to contend with Tim wanting to share in his video game time.

The morning of the race I did get my lazy self out of bed to tell Jake good luck... but then got back into bed and slept in until after 8, and then an additional fifteen minutes was spent snuggling in bed with a kid on each side of me. Sure beat swimming two miles!

The course ended up going around and around the local high school and a park, which was nice for us spectating because we didn't have to go all over the place. Ellie and I missed seeing Jake get off the bike because she was in the bathroom, but we did get to watch him pass us at the park a half dozen times. And in the meanwhile, Ellie did some safety exercise.

Ellie did end up wearing the bedazzled shirt she made, but Adam refused. Ellie also made Jake a sign at lunch that said "thank you for all your love." She's a sweetheart, that one. I was really impressed with how well both kids hung in for the day. I did take Adam for a brief drive and snooze, but otherwise they were out in the sun, playing around.

Oh, and Jake looked pretty good too. In fact, he absolutely smashed it. He came in 17th overall, 2nd in his age group, and crushed his previous times by coming in just under nine and a half hours. He looked good afterwards and was able to scarf some pizza, rest a little and then rally at the end of the night to go back and watch the final finishers. I hadn't done that before, and it was REALLY a fun way to end the day. I cried a little, I won't lie.

The four of us missed seeing Jake on the podium yesterday, but we got there in time to watch him turn down his Kona bid, like a total bad ass. I felt so happy for the 4th place guy, who was probably bummed about missing the cut off for the World Championships, but then got to find out he was getting a spot. And after a nice brunch with the rest of Jake's wonderful support team, we headed back to San Jose. I had hoped we could get out and take some pictures by the Golden Gate bridge, but both kids were sound asleep as we approached (and I woke up probably five minutes before we crossed over myself.) We ended up having time to kill at the airport, which was fine because it's one obnoxiously long terminal and were at the far, far, FAR end, so the kids stopped to make forts

And eat snacks.
The kids were good on the ride home - the lady in front of us said that she thought we were a nice little family. Just goes to show what she knows!

(and happy anniversary to Tim and I - that's even more miles than 140.6! I'm lucky he still puts up with me.)

I'm so glad we were able to go along and cheer on Jake, and stay with everyone. The kids loved having Mimi and Poppy to snuggle with in the morning and play with at the park, and more hands always make lighter work for a tired mommy. Jake's certainly had a challenging year, and not just because of the training for the race, and I'm thankful that he had his whole family there to encourage him and cheer like crazy. Goes to show you just can't beat those Fockers!

(and little Fockers.)