Friday, September 30, 2016

Reunited and It Feels So Good!

Recall that in January, we had our existing handyman special garage cabinets torn out, in hopes of having a nice, fancy new garage with good storage space. The contractor came, he demoed, they put all of our garage possessions into the newly extended attic space. They dry walled the whole place. We had it textured and painted. And then... we waited. We waited all summer. I would call Glen and harass him, and he'd say it was happening soon. Problem with the cabinet factory, his family got in a car accident, the cabinets are on order, they'll be there any day. Basically, he is totally off the rails and spent the entire summer LYING to me, because he doesn't even own the cabinet factory any more, and my cabinets never even got ordered!

We ended up serving him with a letter from our attorney, and he gave me this big song and dance about how he was so sorry, he wanted to do the job because our friendship is important to him, yadda yadda. He'd be happy to refund my money, understood that I wanted to go with someone else (and then lied to me when he said the check was in the mail, because he said on a Friday that it had been mailed "weeks ago" but then when it showed up on Tuesday, it was dated and postmarked the previous Monday. Hmm... I think he is either having some sort of mental break down, or is on the verge of bankruptcy and robbing Peter to pay Paul, because everyone we know is having major problems, and he wasn't like this with our other renovations!)

ANYWAYS, long story short, it's all done now, with the mostly minor exception of lighting, and I could not be happier. I love the way it looks, I love all of the storage space, I love how clean it is, and I LOVE that all of our worldly possessions are down from the crawl space (had to hire a different handyman to install a ladder pull down, but it's in!) I LOVE ORGANIZING!

The guys finished at about 1:30 today, and I spent the next three and a half hours in the 90 degree heat, in our gross dusty crawl space, pulling down most of the boxes and bags and then putting them in their new homes. Thank goodness we did a huge purge before even embarking on this project, because it was a lot of junk. But now, it all fits really nicely with room to spare (side note, I take a smug pride in being able to park both of my cars in my garage. There are so many people in our neighborhood with two and three car garages just stuffed to the gills with CRAP and their cars parked in the driveway. How many couches do you have in your 2,000 square foot house that you have to store another one in the garage, I wonder.)

So here's the before:
Weird cabinet thingie that meant only the Fit fit on the left side

Very fancy cabinets, work bench mess forever. My favorite is that the original owner cut the middle set of cabinets so that the doors opened fully under the garage door track, but not so the ones on the right - they only opened part way.


All this junk and more, now home where it belongs (the Packer helmet is for chips and dips, obviously.)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Big Truck Man.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I wish I loved anything as much as Adam loves the big truck man. We've been talking about Halloween around here, and he keeps saying he wants to be the big truck, and so today, with the help of a diaper box and a can of spray paint, I made his dreams come true.


I also made this delightful video, hoping to get him to say "dump it!" in his funny little voice. But instead, a different story was told:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Biscuit and the Little Girl Who Could Read.

One of the things that Ellie works on in kindergarten is "sight words." It's small, basic words that they expect her to recognize and not have to sound out. Small stuff like "look," and "we" and "the" and "a." You get the gist. We've been going over her sight word lists (because they get quizzed!) and I realized that if she could get all of those words, she was probably ready to tackle some of the very basic "I Can Read" books that we have - namely, the collection of a dozen or so very short Biscuit books that Gigi bought a million years ago. Sure, Ellie had them read to her a thousand times, but she hasn't look at them in quite awhile (making the possibility of her just reciting them to me very low) so today we gave her a book and asked her if she could read it to us, and she could! She read Biscuit and the Box (needed no help with the word box) and Biscuit and the Cat. I'm so proud of her! Reading is the very, very best - I can't wait to watch her take off.

As a memory, here's when she absolutely HATED Biscuit and the Frog for no particular reason:
(OMG, this is FOUR YEARS AGO.)

I am also amazed at her command of basic math. On Sunday after the Lions scored, I was despairing about the Packer game, and Ellie looked at the 20-34 score and said "mommy, it's okay. We're still winning by 14 points." I mean, I can barely do that math - I was so impressed!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Mixed Reviews.

Adam went and saw his first movie tonight in the theater! Our little pal Whitney has been desperate to see the new kids movie Storks, and so Sara Jo and I schemed that the dads could take all of the children, and she and I could then go on a hot date that did not involve telling people to sit down or shut up (except for our verbal abuse banter to one another.) It ended up perfectly - the kids and dads went to the giant movie theater, and we wandered around Pier 1 and TJ McMarshalls, and then got some ice cream and met them afterwards.

Tim reported that the kids were mostly good - did some talking and some wiggling, but no one had to be taken out or melted down. Then he handed me a bag of Starburst and said to hide them from Adam, because he'd already eaten more than his fair share. Tim made a joke about "I worried he was going to get sick."

The good news is he didn't get sick in the car. The bad news is that he was sitting on his bed, told me his tummy hurt, and then launched Starburst and popcorn on me like an absolute fountain. I ended up with my skirt full of puke, like a farmer's wife gathering eggs in her apron. It was vile. Plus then there's Ellie sobbing that she doesn't want to get sick, and Adam taking a pause and then going back for a second round. I managed to get us both in the shower while Tim cleared up the spills on the carpet, and thankfully he went to bed without any further mess.

So now Siskel and Ebert give the movie experience on thumb up, one thumb down.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Butterfly Time.

Another busy weekend in the books! The kids are pooped, and are down before 8pm tonight. They were so tired that I ended up giving them a bath before dinner, just to get clean and calmed down a little (usually they shower, and it's a mad house. Tonight, soothing warm bath for babies, and then Adam snuggled with me in the rocking chair, all swaddled up in his towel.)

On Friday, Sara and Gigi went to Target as mom's outing for the day, where they picked up these beautiful babies, for a grand total of twenty bucks:

There is very little that Adam loves more than a Tiger Swallowtail (I think he likes the trash truck more, and maybe Lamby) and Ellie was happy to be a monarch along side of him. They've been very darling this weekend, running around and flapping their wings, and have pulled out our pocket butterfly guide and our favorite out of print book Butterfly Time so that they can look at themselves. They also love the tags that came on their capes, and have been carrying their treasured "butterfly notes" with them as well.

It's utter lunacy, but so darling. Adam now says that he wants to be a butterfly for Thanksgiving. Ellie is still set on being Rapunzel, with the costume she's sure Mimi is buying for her.

Today we had Mimi and Poppy and Jake over for lunch, which was really fun and relaxed. Tried to get Jake to show Ellie how to ride a two wheeler, but she's not even really getting the concept of putting her feet down - she basically tries to jump clear of the bike if it tips, so I think we have a way to go.

Then it was down to Oceanside for Nina and Thalia's fifth birthday party (on their actual birthday!) Ellie was very into the fact that they were all five together, but that she was still older. She was also really into Cora, her new baby cousin:

Adam was pretty enamored too. It's always fun to see all of the kids in their big, happy scrum together. even though we had to leave when Adam had a tearful, screaming melt down. Sometimes the best you can do is a quiet nap in the car, a nice bath, and an early bed time.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why'd you come in here goofy like that?

This is your Ellie on nitrious and Dolly Parton.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Where a Grizz can be a Kid!

Grizz turned 61 on Friday. It's somehow less fun now that we know he's going to live forever, rather than best case scenario only making it to sixty.

He started his day by driving Sara to work, and also taking Ellie to school for me, since it was my first day back at MOPS. The day before at the YMCA, Adam had dictated a card to Ellie, which features all of his favorite things to do with Grizz:

They like to pick vegetables, and go to the park, and watch the trash trucks. And there are lots of hearts and love. I also cried when Ellie showed it to me. Her card had less illustrations, but just as much love.

They also like to help Grizz grill, which he had to do for his own birthday dinner. He made them some sliders to start, so they enjoyed their food while helping him feed the rest of us. Then we had brownies, and of course, sang twice because each kid had to be allowed to blow out his candle for him.

The big fun though, was that he asked them to see Chuck E. Cheese with him, in the style of Grandpa Howie having his grandkids come with him to Showbiz Pizza for his birthday celebration. I have never taken my children to Ratville, and was nervous going in, but it was nowhere near as bad as I feared. For one, they have actual lighting now instead of it being some weird, dark pit. Whether because of germaphobia or other litigation, there's no ball pit (which is good for Sara. A favorite family memory is her getting stuck in a ball pit, and Uncle John having to climb in and scoop her out because she couldn't get her feet under her, and David and I thought she was actually drowning) and there's very little climbing equipment. Most of the place is taken up with video games and carnival style games. I absolutely killed it in skeeball, and Grizz and Ellie did some good smashing of clowns.

The video games are oriented much more to small children - Adam did a great job at some fishing game because all he had to do was smash around. There were some incidences of weeping, but considering how easily my kids get overwhelmed, it was a very successful outing. Plus, who doesn't want to pay a bunch of money to then turn in a bunch of tickets for the grand prize of not one, not two, but THREE plastic rings! A spider, a butterfly, and an enormous purple jewel.

There was another pizza place in the shopping center, so we were able to go and get regular pizza instead of Chuck E Cheese food, and also they had beer! See, he didn't need to go to Germany last year - there's plenty of fun here.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

High as a Kite!

Because Tim and I are terrible parents, our little girl ended up with a bunch of cavities this year - four in total, back in her molars where the teeth touch. Our dentist has been so nice about the whole thing, has avoided making me feel too much shame, but the thing I felt worst about was the fact that Ellie had been SO good at her dental appointment, so happy to be there, and I worried that one bad experience with a filling would put her off of it. I know too many people who hate the dentist or are scared of dental work, and I don't want that for her (especially because if she has her dad's teeth, she's going to basically live at the orthodontist and dentist in her teen years.)

Our dentist assured me that it would be a good experience, and recommended that we give her a dose of laughing gas to take off the edge. Ellie sauntered into the dentist on Tuesday, happy as a clam, ready to get her "sugar bugs" fixed. The doctor asked her if she'd like to listen to music, and she goes "oh yes, 9 to 5!" So, she got Dolly Parton up on the headphones and plugged Ellie in, while the assistant plugged her into the goofballs. And oh man, was Ellie a goofball. At one point she hollered out "ISLANDS IN THE STREAM! I LOVE THIS SONG!" and then waved her hands around, dancing. She didn't flinch during any of the injections (even though later she said she felt like it was a shot - please recall that I have to hold her down at the doctors for her boosters) and she was so happy to share random facts with the dentist, like saying out of nowhere "I WEIGH FIFTY POUNDS!" And when the dentist asked her to scoot up in the chair, Ellie goes "don't look at my underwear!" because she was in a skirt. Our dentist was so great with her, explaining everything in terms that she could understand, and making it fun. While she was putting on the bonding compound, she told Ellie that she was drawing on a tiny picture of a kitten, and her assistant goes "oh, don't forget the whiskers." They really played it up. At the end, Ellie sat up and goes "now it's time for the toybox!" and told them "this is the best day ever!"

Plus I got her a milkshake on the way home, because I figured dinner would be a bit of a mess with half of her mouth numb, and lo, it was. The filling itself was fine, but at some point in the late afternoon, she put one of her teeth deeply into her lip, and also really chewed up in the inside of it. So, she's had a huge fat lip for the past two days, despite promising the dentist that she wouldn't bite at it. I don't know if she did it in an absent minded way, or if she did it on purpose because her face was numb and she couldn't feel it, but hopefully this is the only time it'll happen. Because we have to go back next week and get the other side fixed up.

The poor thing then cried yesterday morning that she couldn't go to school, or to ballet "looking like this." Oh, my poor darling. No one will make fun of you, I told her, and if they do, tell them to worry about themselves. And also, this is probably not going to be the last time that something's wrong with your face and it makes you want to stay home. But whether it's a fat lip, or a fat zit in your teens, you're going!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

School Aged Children.

I DID IT YOU GUYS! I survived long enough and raise my kids old enough to send them to school! I HAD TWO WHOLE HOURS TO MYSELF!

As expected, Adam was a dream boat about going to preschool. I did not make him a sign at home (because somehow it doesn't feel as real as regular school. I mean, I can keep him home or switch schools or do whatever I want, since I'm paying for it) but at preschool they had cute little chalk boards if you wanted them.


He gave us a hug and a kiss, went into his classroom, and that was that. Put Lamby in his cubby, and apparently had a fun day! He made some art, his teacher said he was a good helper, and there were no tears at pick up either. During the three hours he was at school, Ellie and I went to the drugstore and bought some new mints, and then I dropped her off and went and got my hair cut, AND went to the grocery store, all by my lonesome. Cue very loud car sing alongs!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day Weekend.

A weekend of leisure, a weekend without sleep for our kids. Uff da. Friday night we went over to a neighbor's for a BBQ. Ellie and her friend Kayla are in the same class, so she was so excited to see each other TWO TIMES in one day. And Grayson had a really good toy dump truck that Adam basically adopted for the night. Ryan put in a great tree house over the summer, so the kids were climbing everywhere and chasing each other around while the parents ate and drank and had a good time. We didn't get home until 9:30, and the kids were covered in grass and grime, so we had to run them through the shower before we could plunk them in bed. And then of course, they were up early in the morning.

BUT! Not my problem, as Mimi had generously offered to take the kids overnight so that Tim and I could go and have a hot date (and lo, we did! We went out for dinner, some country line dancing, AND a night cap, because I refused to be home at 10pm if we didn't have to.) Meanwhile, at 10pm, the inmates had taken control of the asylum, and were not yet asleep at Mimi's house. Apparently, sometimes Adam needs to get up three times to go potty before bed. The excitement of a duffy boat ride could do that to anyone.

This is what it looked like fifteen minutes after we headed home. The lambs slept from before noon until after four pm. I finally woke them both up, and they were still tired and wonky. Sleep deprivation is like a hangover for babies. Just put them in front of the TV and offer them some greasy carbs.

We got them in bed early last night, and they slept in well enough today, but then we went over to our other neighbor's house for a Labor Day BBQ. Hot dogs, corn on the cob, and smores in their fire pit - what more could you want? The other parents were saying that they'd just skip nap that day, but we brought ours home at 3 and tucked them in for a little over an hour, and then it was a very quiet evening around here (more baby hangovers.) The good news is that we managed to get them showered, AND I trimmed and manicured all of their filthy little claws, plus trimmed the ends of Ellie's hair, so now everyone's fresh for a new week of school. Adam starts preschool in the morning! Four whole hours to myself every week - I don't even know what I'll do! (maybe nap! It's healthy for everyone!)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Nothing I Can See But You When You Dance Dance Dance Dance


Dance classes have resumed around here. Ellie is back to doing ballet, because then she can do it with Lexi. Everything is more fun with your bestie!

A video posted by WCMP (@westcoastmovementproject) on

Ellie is the one with regular hot pink tights instead of delicate ballerina tights. How cute are they all?!?!

And because dance fun is not just something for five year olds, I am achieving a life long (or recent) dream and taking adult tap dance classes through the YMCA with my friend Lisa. We went to the preview class last night, and it was AMAZING. I know nothing, so we went over all of the very basics and tried to figure it out, and then at the end the instructor played some music and we did a tiny routine (like, four easy steps in sequence.) It was so awesome! I sweat like a hog, I made a ton of noise, and I had so much fun. I even tried to practice in the garage after the kids went to bed, because it makes me crazy that I didn't instantly pick up on the time step. Teacher's pet, practicing after class!