Saturday, June 17, 2017

Last Day!

Our little lady finished her first year of kindergarten, and had a great time doing it.

It was Red White and Blue spirit day, so she was red, white and cute, per Hello Kitty. All of the kids were early birds, so it was a nutty little scrum, but most of the day was their goodbye party. They've been a great little group, and I'm glad that we'll be moving on to first grade with all of them.

She had a great year of kindergarten. We really enjoyed her teacher, and loved the big memory book that she worked on all year and got to bring home on Friday. Lots of little hand prints and drawings and even pictures! As you can see, she's still working on her spelling, and I totally left this typo in the card for her teacher. Though, she's got me as her mom, so good luck to her in the future.

She didn't want me to pick her on her last day, but had a good afternoon with Gigi instead. And then, because I continue to be the meanest mommy, we dropped them off at date night at the Y rather than spending the evening with them!

Except, that back fired on me today. We got them to bed after 9:30, and then they were up at 7 and in the pool for lessons at 8:30. And despite my admonitions that they'd both feel better if they napped for awhile, neither did. Ellie and I went to a birthday party for one of her classmates, and by the time we got home, the wheels were coming off. Mimi and Poppy and Jake and Karen came over for early Father's Day dinner, and Ellie cried for a solid 20 minutes when Tim had to go grab dinner instead of opening cards, and Adam refused to eat dinner and then fell asleep in his bed, in his clothes. Then he cried about being put in his pajamas. And of course, I am also tired and stressed from packing, so I'm basically Medusa. PERFECT FATHER'S DAY CELEBRATION FOR ALL. I'm just hoping they sleep until at least 4:30, when Tim and I have to rally for our flight to Chicago.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Dance Break!

Ellie had her last ballet class for the year yesterday, and her teacher let the parents come in and watch the final performance, which was sweet. Once again, we're missing the recital, but after the discussion about slicking back their hair and covering them with lipstick and blush, I'm not too sad about the whole thing. The good news is this year I knew we'd be out of town BEFORE spending $85 on a costume that she's only worn once. I thought she'd love it for dress up, but seriously, only worn the once, other than for pictures last year.

So, here she is in all of her glory. She's off to the side because she's not going to be there on the day, obviously. Dance purgatory!

She proudly tells everyone, "I'm not going to the recital. I have to go to the parade in Wisconsin." Good news, there's candy at the parade!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Last Week of School.

The craziness is hitting us full force this past week! Ellie only has two more days of school, but every day this week is spirit week so all of the parents have to remember a bunch of crap to send into the classroom, along with the kids having the option to dress up every day. We've already done crazy hair day and pajama day, today was Twins day, so Ellie and our neighbor Mila got into the act.

Ellie is on the right, in case you couldn't tell.

Tomorrow is favorite character day, and also our very last garden day. Working with the kids in the garden has been the perfect level of involvement for me, and it's been fun the days that Gigi has been able to come and help us dig. Next year we move out of the raised beds and into the big kid garden! Then on Friday they have a class party, but thankfully, no long winded graduation ceremony.

Then of course, we have swimming on Saturday morning, a birthday part Saturday afternoon, and Saturday evening we're celebrating Father's Day early with Poppy. Then wheels up bright and early Sunday morning for Wisconsin! So, suffice to say, it's a little nutty around here.

Plus this past weekend we had two parties for a few of our favorite four year old boys. My MOPS friend Brooke had a Super Hero party for her son Andrew, who Adam paled around with a lot at MOPS, and there was an amazing face painter there. Adam wasn't really into any of the party, other than the big trucks in the play room and the trampoline, but Ellie was happy to sit and wait patiently for her turn getting her face painted.

She was beyond cute. I think I'm going to get it replicated as a face tattoo. Unsure if I want to do it for her, or for me. Then on Sunday Juddy and Matty had their fourth birthday party, which I missed because I was working the We Run the City booth, but Tim and the kids reported a great time. So many fantastic four year olds!

In Adam news, Ellie made him this sweet shirt over the weekend.
It has an excavator on the front and says Adam Ford Big Truck Man and on the back is a trash truck. They're both incredibly pleased with it. This is also the before picture for his summer do.

This is my little lamb shorn. The photo belies the fact that the was miserable during his hair cut. Worst one we've had, actually. I had to hold him in my lap and he struggled and cried so much that by the end he was sweaty and covered in pieces of hair. Plus, all of the crying meant that he had hair in his mouth as well. Nothing that a cool down in the wading pool couldn't cure. But in short, all of this action has me ready for vacation, where the only choices are what beach to visit and what beer to drink.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Fancy Ellie.

This weekend Ellie and Mimi got to go to the home of Fancy Nancy's illustrator, Robin Preiss Glasser, as a fundraiser for the Segerstrom Center. Ellie loves Fancy Nancy and being fancy, and also, hanging out with Mimi.


We've actually been fortunate enough to meet Robin before, since she lives in our community and does a lot of events to raise funds for literacy and the arts. Since she's the illustrator, I didn't have Ellie ask about potential alternate titles for the Fancy Nancy books, For instance, we always call Fancy Nancy and the Day at the Museum "Fancy Nancy Barfs on the Bus" and likewise, Fancy Nancy, Poison Ivy Expert has become "Fancy Nancy and the Mystery Rash" at our house.

However, at Robin's house, no mystery rashes, just a really fun day for all the kids and their chaperones. They got their face painted, go to see the art studio and Fancy Nancy Museum, and hung out with the stars of Fancy Nancy the musical. There was even a fountain full of pink lemonade, tres chic. And grilled cheese on a stick, but Ellie reports ignoring all actual food in favor of treats. That's my girl!

Ellie and Mimi with their Tea Party Hostess, with the mostess

Ellie had a fantastically fancy day, victory all around. In other fancy news, she finally learned to tie her shoes. Before her last school field trip we realized her current tennies were too small. The light up tennies she'd coveted and begged Gigi to buy for her, then promptly never wore, unless under duress. I'd picked up some hot pink Nikes at the Rack for her a few weeks ago, and she cried when I showed them to her, and demanded to know why everyone wanted her to have tie shoes. But, this weekend she got the hang of it (I made her wear them to her last field trip) and she's been happily wearing them every day since. One more small accomplishment in our efforts to turn her into a self sufficient human being.

However, on Friday night while we were having ice cream with Gigi and Grizz, she said something about how she was going to be twenty when she was in high school, and I said "only if you're stupid," and Adam immediately repeated it to her several times. She burst into crocodile tears while the rest of us burst out in uncontrollable laughter. Adam, having gotten a laugh, continued to tell her "yeah, if you're stupid." Sorry kid, truth hurts!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Weekend Funs.

Turns out, we are very busy and important people. Mostly me, because I was on not one, but two airplane trips in the span of a week. After getting back from our pilgrimage from Laura Ingalls, I had the week to get life back in order before turning around and hopping a plane up to Northern California.

Tim's high school friend, also named Tim (Tim C, for ease) was getting married in Monterrey. Tim C is in the Navy, and over the past few years (decade) we've mostly seen him at other weddings of the high school friends. Nevertheless, it's always awesome to see how all of those boys settle right in to their friendships after such a long break and all of the wives and girlfriends are pretty great too. Jake's ladyfriend Karen is a frequent traveler for business, so she hooked us up with United Club passes and hotel deals, and for me, it was nice to have another competent adult on the trip, since usually I book everything for the boys and then have to boss them around.

They had a cocktail welcome for everyone the night before the wedding, and the invite said "smoking jackets encouraged," because a bunch of dudes in Tim C's squadron had smoking jackets made when they were overseas in Korea. Because I like to follow rules, I found velvet blazers for Tim and Jake, and wore a leopard print YSL jacket that I bought for five bucks a million years ago.

I spent most of the day of the wedding in bed with what I thought was a hangover, but turned out to be some sort of food poisoning/stomach bug. Thankfully, I was able to rally for the wedding, which was black tie. I found that directive harder to follow, especially when dressing Tim, but lo, we cleaned up okay.

Bow ties forever!

The wedding was beautiful - the bride, the groom, the venue, all of it. We had a really fun night dancing and hanging out with friends, and since our table was at the edge of the dance floor, when the Best Man started making fun of young Tim C, he had many hoots of approval from the men of Servite.

The bride, Ashley, is from Eden Prairie, so you know she's a good egg.

The kids spent the weekend with Mimi and Poppy. Everyone napped and everyone survived, so a million thumbs up to them! Because dealing with those two ruffians is not as easy as making Tim bring me another drink in from the bar, that's for sure.

It's amazing how quickly we're coming up on the last day of school. Adam's class had a beach party this past week, on a drizzly and overcast day. But he came home with sand in his ears and paint all over his face, so I'd say it was a success. Ellie had a field trip to the local library, and wore her new tennies without crying over it (learning to tie her shoes is resulting in crying, naturally.)

She's been asking for weeks if we could go back to the petting zoo, and since we had no other plans, we went yesterday. They continue to change things around and keep it mostly interesting. We went so much when Adam was a baby and we had an annual pass, but just going to go gets expensive, because everything other than holding guinea pigs or brushing goats costs money, and turns out, kids love riding the train and the ponies. The nice thing is now they're big enough to not try to put their hands in their mouths or eat corn out of the corn box.

Binny pig whisperer

Goat groomer

Meanwhile, Adam mostly enjoyed running through and on the maze of hay bales. Hey, whatever floats your boat kid.

We ended the evening with dinner at Lexi and Judd's. The kids had a great time, made smores and finished up with a singing performance.

Look at these dedicated competitors! They did a bunch of performances and then we critiqued them like they were on the Voice. Good news, everyone made it to the next round, even Adam, who did some pretty serious fake crying when he didn't get his song choice played right away.

Speaking of fake crying, the other night while she was eating her ice cream at Gigi's, Ellie announced that when she was twenty, she was going to be in high school, to which I said "if that's true, you'll be pretty stupid." And then Adam parroted "yeah, you'll be stupid," in his little lisp. Ellie burst into crocodile tears while he kept repeating it, and meanwhile, the rest of us laughed until we couldn't breathe. It's hard, being the most supportive parents in the world. We are very understanding and kind (mostly me.)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Half Pint.

In summary, I am the worst blogger, and the highlight of Mother's Day was the fact that I got away for a night, then went to see a concert and was basically the worst mom ever, and so I probably deserved when Ellie wrote in her "about my mom" paper that her mom is as smart as "a dog," knowing that I think dogs are stupid (and look, we can debate it, but I'm not talking a police animal or a service dog. I am talking your average garbage-eating, butt-smelling, scared-of-its-own-farts type of mutt.)

But that's all us. The big fun is that this past weekend Sara, Ellie and I got away for a girls weekend with our ultimate girl, Grandma Rosie. Earlier this year, when Ellie and I finished reading the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder series, I decided it'd be fun to take her back to Wisconsin to see the Museum and cabin in Pepin, and it worked out that we were able to come into town for Grandma's 88th birthday.

And it was great! It was everything I hoped for when I planned our pilgrimage. The Laura Ingalls Wilder museum has been redone since Grandma and I last visited, but it's still pretty small. Ellie was so cute - she kept asking about every artifact, asking if it belonged to Laura (spoiler, only one item actually belonged to her) and when she kept getting disappointed, I finally started saying "yup, that was Laura's!" I was really impressed with how much she remembered from the books - she clearly was listening to what I was reading. They also have a little one room school house replica and a lighthouse thing that the kids can climb, so she and Hailee had a great time playing pretend together (and they were great road trip buddies.)

Grandma wasn't feeling 100% on her birthday, plus she had a water leak in her basement, so celebrations were slightly subdued, but still great. Everyone came over for pizza and Ellie got to roll around on the floor with her new baby cousins, and during the afternoon we took grandma out for a manicure, and Ellie got her first pedicure, because I told her in Wisconsin you can get one before ten (because I am not the type to take a six year old along with me during quiet, relaxing mommy time.) She was the best little pal though, through all of it. She was a superb plane traveler, coloring and relaxing. She loved following Grandma around and baking brownies with her, and she adored being the big girl cousin. The only snafu we had was the first night when she was so restless and I was so tired that I eventually moved her out of the bed and onto a pallet on the floor. Who's the dog now, kid!

Assistant pilot Elizabeth Beans

Yes, I picked these up at ShopKo

Nelson, always delicious

With Laura's quilt

Many years of Little House love

We also visited Grandma Pat

Birthday Brownies

Ellie and Leah

Ellie and Clara (who is a month older)

Meanwhile, the grandparents stepped in so Tim could get to work last week. Lest you feel bad for the young man left behind, he got to to Knotts with Mimi and Poppy, visited the Mission with Gigi, spent a whole afternoon the care of Grizz, and then Saturday he and his daddy went to a touch a truck event. Both kids were great on their own... and of course, fussing at each other the second we all got home. You can't win them all!

Yesterday we had a really nice day with Mimi and Pa and Jake and Karen - we went out to YL for lunch to celebrate Mimi's birthday a little bit early (I'm going to guess that after they have the kids for three days over the long weekend, she will be okay with missing them on her actual birthday, ha!) and then in the evening, everyone joined us for a service project at the church where I do MOPS. The leader of the children's ministry is a wonderful, inspiring woman, and she put together a project with the nonprofit Together We Rise to build 100 bikes and 100 'sweet cases' for kids in the foster care system in Orange County. The bikes are self explanatory - we built a beach cruiser and a big ten speed (thanks Jake!) and then Ellie and I decorated a whole bunch of bags for the sweet cases - they give them to kids who may have been removed from their home without even a chance to grab a tooth brush or a comfort item. So we wrote messages of love and drew photos on the bag, and then packed it with toiletries, crayons, a coloring book, a blanket and a teddy bear. It was a really wonderful, meaningful evening, and I'm so glad that I had the whole extended family there helping us building. I felt very lucky and honored that we could give back, and that I have such a wonderful family around me.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Friend Time.

Sorry for being the worst blogger - it's been a busy week. Really, it's been an embarrassment of riches when it comes to us getting time to hang out with our friends. We've had several backyard-y parties in the past ten days, which I always love. The adults sit outside and watch the sunset and drink booze drinks, and the kids are in and out, playing dress up, riding scooters, doing art projects. We had a friend sleep over last weekend and went to a pool party at another friends house, and last Sunday our neighbors came over for lunch, and after the kids finished splashing around in the wading pool, Lisa and I got in the pool and drank beers in the sunshine, thus living our absolute best lives.

Plus, we have to check on Spike and Yogi every day. Now that they're all healed up from being fixed, they're ready for lots of loving. The kids are mostly gentle, though about every ten minutes we have to tell someone to put a kitten down. Yogi Bear is the biggest mush and doesn't react to anything, even Adam manhandling him like a rag doll. Now that Spike is fixed, he's turned into quite the lap cat, which Ellie of course loves.

Ellie got student of the day one day last week, and her teacher said it was because Ellie is a good listener and is a kind friend to everyone, which absolutely warms my heart to hear. In an area that's very focused on looks and status (even down at the kindergarten level, believe me) I'm glad she's extending friendship to everyone in her class. She's a good little egg. And reading more every day!

Adam had a Mother's Day presentation at his school this past Thursday (because next Thursday is parent teacher conferences) and it was so darling. They sang us a couple of songs about how much they love their moms, and then we had scones and got the crafty little gifts they made - a little towel with their hand print as the blossom of a flower. He also drew a picture of me and said that his favorite thing was that sometimes I give him a cookie after supper. I especially love that my four year old calls it supper, because as Tim would say "that's Midwestern as hell."

I also deeply enjoy this picture from last week at the Hat with our friends, because the kid will eat next to nothing some days, and everything is yucky, but he went to TOWN on those onion rings, and I myself wouldn't eat an onion ring until I was well into my twenties (still would rather have french fries, sorry Mom.)

Last night we were up late with friends, having tacos and relaxing, and this morning we had to wake them up for swim class, which they did well at, despite the drizzly weather. So today I'm hoping for big long naps, because we're dropping them at date night at the Y for the full five hours this evening. Farewell, suckers! Time for your dad and I to go hang out with grown up friends!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Video Round Up


Once again this year, Ellie is missing her dance recital, but she's practicing like a pro. The teacher had us come in and take video the other week, so that the girls could practice at home if needed. I can't get over how sweet and grown up she looks.

This past Sunday was like a dream come true - we spent the whole day at home, and the kids just relaxed with us. They played nicely together, they built a lot of Legos, they finger painted and pounded rocks outside (for serious - they'd gotten a kit with a bunch of polished rocks buried in chalk "boulders" so we gave them some hammers and they went to town for a solid hour) and allowed Tim to play Overwatch, while I sat outside and read an entire book and did crossword puzzles. And played my favorite smooching game with my favorite boy.

These videos are over a week apart, but they're wearing the same clothes, both of them. I swear they have more than seven outfits!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter, et al.

We survived the rest of spring break, thankfully by keeping busy. We went to the Y almost every day, and I was able to get a cute picture of our kids with the neighbor kids in the mustard blooms - easier than driving out to the wildflower fields. This will be the album cover for their first band.

No one is really looking or smiling! Another perfect shot!

Wednesday we were able to go with Mimi for our traditional jaunt to the mall to meet the Easter bunny. Last year, Adam was tepid at best about the giant rabbit, but this year he ran right over and gave the bunny an enormous hug. While I'm a little sad about no more crying pictures, there's also something nice about having beautiful, sweet children.

We also got to have a delicious lunch and go to the little indoor play ground, so another perfect bunny trip with the lovely Mimi.

On Thursday, our big fun was going to have frozen yogurt before picking Sara up from work.

We had some time to kill before Sara was done with work, and since the pet store in the shopping center is closed, I offered that we could walk through the hard ware store, and they were so excited that it was like I'd told them we could go to Disneyland. So many house wares! So much stuff for improving your yard!

We also spent a lot of time with the kittens.
Baby Wolf

Baby Lynx

Then, on to Easter. Last year, the Easter bunny put out a fairly well stocked Easter basket, to which Ellie responded "why isn't there an egg hunt?' This year, the Easter bunny brought bathing suits and a small item for each kid, and then hid many eggs instead. The Easter bunny would definitely rather just buy a bunch of candy than toys, especially because the Easter bunny likes to eat the kids candy after they go to bed sometimes. Don't judge the Easter bunny, he's just a magical animal doing his very best. 

They were able to go a fully 20 seconds at a time without injuring themselves or torturing each other. So great! We had brunch at Mimi and Poppy's house, and I thought we'd manage two or three hours, but the kids were having such a great time that we finally had to haul out at 4:30 for dinner with Gigi and Grizz (and because I had a side dish that I hadn't bothered to make in the morning, thinking I'd get it done during naps. Oops.) They went to bed tired and hopped up on sugar, which is the way to end a good spring break. 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


It's spring break for the kids, so we're trying to keep things busy, in order to cut down on the amount of time they can spend arguing with me or bickering with each other (I can't decide which I enjoy more! All of the back sass all of the time!)

I've taken the kids to the aquarium in Long Beach a couple of times before, and every time I leave physically and mentally exhausted, because the kids have been too little, and I end up carrying one (or both) of them around, or turning my back for a fraction of a second to turn back and realize I can't find them in the maze of other small children, or them just being regular old small children who get tired and hungry and overwhelmed quite easily. This time though felt like the sweet spot. They're both big enough to walk the whole aquarium under their own power, and also big enough to not do a runner or dart too fart out of sight. We met up my old coworker Emily, her husband Brad, and their son Liam and daughter Jordan. Jordan and Ellie walked around holding hands the other time, and having a third parent with us was great in terms of managing all of the littles.

How great is this? We were on the second story, outside, petting some rays and looking at the penguins (also nice, Ellie is big enough to pet all of the animals in the touch tanks without having to be on the verge of falling in) and the sea lion show started. This big guy was up on the high stage right next to us, so they got to have a VERY front row seat to some of his tricks and antics.

Ellie, Emily and Liam, touching animals gently.

The kids loved watching the seals and sea lions, and the otters swimming around. The other thing is that the otter tank is set up with several viewing levels, and then pretend rocks in the back against the wall, which was like a rock climbing wall for small friends. Adam says that was his favorite part, of course. Ellie loved the touch tanks and and sea lions.

And then they both loved getting to pick out a stuffed toy in the gift shop afterwards.
Welcome, Spotty Spot and Winter Cloud.

My favorite are all of the sea horses and sea dragons. And I love how soft the little sharks and rays are (and yes, I'm also finally tall enough to reach in and touch them without needing a boost.)

It was really a fun day with our friends. And, though the kids didn't fall asleep on the car ride home, we all took a nap from 2;30 to 4pm, which is the REAL victory.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Activity Report.

Uff da, it's been a busy week!

Our cousins are in town from Chicago, so there's been a lot of celebrating over at Gigi's house. And at our house, having a pupusa party on Friday night, ending with some good disco ball dancing. They're a funny little foursome. Adam wants nothing more than Olivia's attention, Olivia wants Ellie more than anything, and Ellie basically wants Gigi's kittens nonstop. And James just wants to be along for the ride. Is fine if I give him a kiss attack while Kate's holding him, is horrified if I pick him up myself.

The kids are loving all of the action, and all of the attention from Gigi Ann and Gigi Lisa. John is even in town, and when I was explaining to the kids that it's Kate's brother John, not Grizz's brother John Ellie goes "oh, so baby Uncle John." Baby Uncle John it is!

Here's Ellie, tamer of ferocious little panthers.

Loving their fur right off.

On Friday when everyone was over, they got some good dress up going. Ellie wore last year's dance recital leotard for the first time since her recital pictures (please recall, was in Wisconsin and missed the recital. This year, she's doing all of the dancing, but I managed not to spend money to buy a costume we won't use.)

Then yesterday, no foolin', we were out to Redlands for Princess at the Castle at the Kimberly Crest House with Mila and Pari. The boys came too, and hung out with James and Rahim (aka the dads watched TV while the boys took a nap, and then went to a party at a coworker's house) and we celebrated our newest four year olds, as Mila is only five days older than Adam.

Princess at the Castle was even better this year, mostly because the temp was fifteen degrees cooler and I didn't feel like I was going to sweat to death. Though the day was sold out, it felt less crowded than last year, and we were in the first group to be announced, so Ellie was the second girl through the door, giving us the rest of the two hours to visit all of the activities, hang out and take pictures. A board member was able to secure decorations from a Rose Bowl float, and it was really beautiful.

Cinderella let us use her carriage

Princess school, balancing a glass slipper on her head

Catching herself a fish

Meeting a handsome prince

Her dress is a skirt that I found at a yard sale (also has a matching top.) The elastic was shot, so I made some straps and sewed in some buttons so it could be a dress. She got that little green cat as a prize from the gift shop, and I think someone hand sewed it. Ellie named it Rocky Yogi, and she loves it.

My very best girl

Pari and James have several orange trees in their back yard, so the kids had a great time doing an orange harvest and playing together. Rahim is only two, but is almost as big and as chatty as Adam. And I can't believe our March babies are already four - it seems like Pari and I should still be 20 years old, 22 at most.