Saturday, December 31, 2016


We've been making the most of our lazy vacation days. The kids are sleeping in, and now that they're big enough to go and watch a video on the tablet in the living room, Tim and I are sleeping in even more. Going back to school next week is going to be a rude awakening (and also a welcome respite, because we're all pretty sick of each other round about 11am.)

However, I'm trying to keep things fun, so I bought tickets to the Rain Room exhibit at LACMA. It's a small room with rain coming from the ceiling (hence the title) but it's programmed to recognize people on the floor, so if you walk slowly, you can walk across the whole room and stay dry. Or, if you're Adam, you do a runner and get wet. We had 5pm tickets, and managed to not only make it up there in time, but find a parking meter and so only pay a buck to park. And our tickets got us admission to the entire museum. I wish we'd had more time to explore, but in the hour we were there we went through the Rain Room, we saw a big piece with a bunch of matchbox cars zipping around (very exciting for Adam) and we went outside and played in all of the light poles of Urban Light.

The kids thought the whole experience was really cool, and that's what counts. Next time, we'll plan on making a day of it and take Adam to the Petersen, which I'm sure he would love.

However, our day of fun was not done! Our town puts a bunch of holiday decorations in the Four Corners area - there's lots of decorate trees, a manger scene, and a giant dreidel and menorah. A few weeks ago, Ellie was asking about Hanukkah and started crying when I told her we weren't Jewish and didn't celebrate. Auntie Lauren to the rescue - we were able to go up to her house for dinner and celebrate the seventh night with her. The kids thought it was pretty great (though I could see Adam desperately wanting to blow out the candles in the menorah) and loved playing dreidel.

A delightful day of learning, all around!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Ho Ho Holidays.

Uff da, another Christmas behind us. We're officially done, especially after I heard the trash truck this morning and realized we had to undress our desiccated tree and drag it to the curb for pick up.

We had an amazing time, between Poppy's birthday, Christmas Eve at Gigi and Grizz's house, Christmas morning brunch here, and then Christmas Day with the Irish Catholic masses. On the 26th, we all stayed in our pajamas all day (I spent most of the day in bed, reading and only getting up for food.)

Both kids got a whack ton of Legos, which they LOVE. Ellie was especially happy to follow the directions and build each of her little masterpieces. Adam got a firetruck and a rescue helicopter from Santa, so did a ton of rescuing. They are such a fun age, so full of imagination and the magic of the holiday season. Plus their sweetness just kills me. Ellie made little art projects for everyone and wrapped them up with notes (I got a piece of a toilet paper tube turned into a cat puppet) and this is her letter to Santa.

I mean, com'n. Doesn't it make your insides crush up into a ball of mush?

And now, holiday photos.

...and then, the afternoon of the 26th.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve.

What a week we've had! We've had friends over every day this week, except for Thursday when we went to see the movie, and we've gotten to celebrate with all of our besties. We've decorated a ton of cookies, we've eaten a ton of cookies, we've gone to the YMCA to work on said cookies. All in all, a good week, and now we're fat and happy and ready for family celebrations.

Apparently, all of her handicrafts have bonkers eyes this holiday season. Between this and her goat-looking reindeer ornament.

Last night was Poppy's birthday, and the annual Parmordsen party at Don and Eileen's. The poor kids were a little tired and nuts going into it, and so at nap time I told them to both stay in their beds and get some good rest. Ellie doesn't nap 100% of the time, but I try to force her when she really needs the rest, so when she wandered out of her room at 3pm on the dot, I told her to go back to bed and actually get some sleep, saying she couldn't come out until 3:30. Yeah. At 4:30, when I went in to wake her up, I discovered that like me, she takes a better cat nap when she gets an actual cat.

As usual, it was a great night with a fun crowd. Now that all of the kids are getting bigger, the adults can relax and be merry a little bit more. Unfortunately for me, I dropped the bottle of gin I'd brought on the drive way where it smashed. Tried to take a sip off of the pavement, but I ended up heading to Trader Joes because sometimes, mommy just wants to drink a Christmas tree.

The kids loved having Santa come. A funny (but not that funny) story about Adam is that he has no shame about peeing his pants. If you don't make him go potty during the day, he just won't. He's peed on the couch more than once (though thankfully, he poops in the toilet every time.) But last night after Santa arrived, he ran to the bathroom of his own volition and told us "I don't want to have a potty accident on Santa's lap!" The kids are at such a fun age because Santa is so real to them, and there's so much Christmas magic all around.

Last night Ellie asked Santa for a Rapunzel scooter (which I've already told her she might not get, since she already has a perfectly good scooter) but this is the letter she put together for Santa the other day. Her sweetness just crushes my heart up into a ball. She's also made a picture of everyone who is coming to brunch tomorrow, as a gingerbread person.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Vacation.

The kids have had this week off, which has been a nice slide into the holidays. We've gone to the YMCA every day, as we do. Adam is always enthused, Ellie always whines, but they have a good time once they arrive, since they get to see friends and hang out with a bunch of nice folks (Adam calls them the "teachers.") He always goes straight for a book about garbage trucks, and Ellie immediately sits down to work on a coloring sheet. She made my heart crush up into a little ball this week when she took the "letter to Santa" holiday coloring sheet and wrote that for Christmas she just wants all her family together.

Monday evening we had a bunch of neighbor ladies over for a cookie exchange and a decorating party. The kids enjoyed making a bunch of gingerbread shapes with me in the afternoon, which none of them seemed very interested in decorating, save for Ellie. The nice thing is we had leftover frosting and supplies, so we've made cookies with anyone who visits this week, including Ellie's old pal Clare.

2012 versus 2016

Since it's so rainy today, we decided to go and curl up in a movie theater. We picked up Auntie Sara, got ourselves some popcorn and saw Sing this morning. Adam actually sat through the show pretty nicely for a small boy - Ellie insisted that she was tired and had to snuggle with me, but I suspect that she was just cold because she ignored me when I suggested that she might want to wear leggings. The movie was really cute, and all of the music kept the kids engaged until the end.

Such comfortable seating!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas Angel.

Today was the Christmas program at Adam's school. The invite for each class actually featured several pictures of the kids dressed up. Adam's class is full of kids in white choir robes with halos... and then a little elfin looking kid wearing his FDNY shirt. His teacher said she even tried to bribe him, but no dice. He dresses to himself! It cracked me up, because it's so very Adam.

I went to the program but hid towards the back because I didn't want him to see me and start sobbing, since he refused to sit on the stage during his Thanksgiving pageant. He came in ringing some jingle bells, and when he spotted me he yelled "hi mama!" and then proceeded to have a pretty great morning. He sang along with everyone, but didn't do the hand motions, and had a brief argument with a classmate when she said her brother was a baby (Adam told her "he's not a baby!" with some good foot stomping.) And his screwing around on stage made me laugh like crazy. Please enjoy.

Tim is staying at his mom and dad's tonight, having gotten his eyeballs lasered this afternoon. He has an optometrist appointment in YL in the morning, so best for him to stay with them and save everyone some driving (mostly saving me the driving.) I will say though, ten years ago I would have ORDERED him to stay with his mom because eyeball stuff grosses me out, but after getting poked in the eye by Adam last year and having to be brave at not one but TWO eye doctors, It's going to be weird to see him without glasses! But it'll be great when he can shoot laser beams out of his eyes (that's how it works, right?)

Meanwhile, our neighbor Lisa was also on her own tonight, since her husband had a work dinner. When we were on our way to Vegas this weekend, we stopped at this weird truck stop in Barstow and I bought the kids a bunch of geodes to smash as a souvenir (because smashing geodes is awesome.) I was tempted to buy pieces of amethyst and other crystals on magnets, but then realized, I could glue some rocks to magnets for WAY less than seven bucks. Oh man, did we have a fun time. First, Lisa and I dumped the kids at the Y together to work out, then when we got back, we set up in the garage (with safety glasses!) and hammers. All of the geodes yielded great results, and we made almost two dozen good magnets.

(BTW, Tim and I spent the weekend in that overpriced, smoke filled hellhole known as Las Vegas, because his work took everyone there for a combo holiday party and game shipping party. We had a great time, but because we got to hang out with our friends. I could die without going to Vegas again in my life. But at least four-eyes and I looked good doing it!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Goodyear Blimp

What an amazing day! When the list of incentives for We Run the City fundraising came out, I didn't think much of it, because as I told them when I interviewed to be an ambassador, I'm going to come out and run the race, I'm going to start a team, and I'm going to urge people to donate, whether you take me on in an official capacity or not. So I was in disbelief when right before the race I got the email that I was leading fundraiser for UCLA, and so had won the top prize - a trip on the Goodyear blimp with an athlete of my choice!

After much deliberation, I decided to bring Sara.

It was so cool! I've seen the blimp parked next to the 405, and I've seen it at sporting events and on TV, but I was unprepared for one, how big it is (over 200 feet long) and how tiny the cabin actually is! It's roughly the size of a minivan, and only fits 7 passengers, including the pilot. The blimp we were in is actually being replaced in a few months by an airship that has computer controls and screens and an actual joystick, so I thought it was neat to be in a more old-fashioned, analog one. The pilot uses a wheel for the rudder, because if it was a yoke, you'd be fatigued in minutes trying to steer.

We voted that Sara should sit in the front seat, which she was cool with, other than the brief moment when we descended near the ocean in Manhattan Beach, turning the nose down 30 degrees. She just looked back at me real sharp, but thankfully did not get sick or anything. I get it - she was right near the windshield, watching us point straight towards the water.

Here's some videos I took - you can't hear any of us because we're wearing head sets, so it's mostly just scenery. The blimp only goes 35mph and stays nearer 1000 feet, so it's low and slow, designed for marketing, not for speed. The landing was pretty amazing, circling until we came in and the ground crew could grab the nose lines as the wheels hit the ground. Then we got to watch the second group from Special Olympics get on board and take off, which was almost as cool as being on the blimp ourselves!

Such an awesome day with my very favorite sister.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Are You Not Entertained?

I am pleased to present the Ellie and Adam show. They do their own staging, song writing and original choreography. It's quite impressive.

Man, that kid really loves trucks. Please enjoy this photo of he and I from his Mommy and Me Day at school last week. All the other kids wanted to do arts and crafts and were willing to take a staged portrait. I am in the sand, squinting into the sun like a photo of the Gigis back in the 60s.

Speaking of my little dancer though, she wore a new dress from her Aunt Jolie to school this week, and was a darling fairy princess. Check out those poses!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

All Aboard the Christmas Train!

Tonight was our annual trip to the North Pole via the Irvine Park Railroad's Christmas train. It gets better every year because we know how to keep the kids satisfied in line, and Irvine Park now has to buy a time slot, not just a ticket for a day. Also nice, we went with our neighbors Thomas and Aislinn, their parents, and their grandparents, so there were many adults against the children. Plus every year we bring heavier coats to try to stay warm. It's cold at the North Pole!

A little heart breaking - neither child cried. But they looked cute and had a good time, eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate during their wait to see the big guy.

We also took our picture in Santa's sleigh real quick, and then were able to hop back on the train and enjoy the ride back to Irvine. Ellie and I were sitting by the conductor, so he let her say all aboard and happy holidays into the mic.

She's a goofy little elf, for sure.

We also met Mrs. Claus!

Ellie said it was her best trip to the North Pole ever. And funnily enough, facebook informed me that her first trip was five years ago today!

Sure has gone fast! (look at how young we once were!)