Monday, July 17, 2017

Another Weekend Workout!

This weekend Ellie decided that she wanted to play soccer too, so we signed her up for the same soccer camp at the Y. Thank goodness for the YMCA. I mean, we already practically live there, but basically anything I think our family would be interested in, they offer, and I can just throw money at the problem and support a nonprofit!

I was already at bootcamp when the kids arrived, so I was surprised to see Ellie wearing a sparkly skirt instead of pants or shorts, and she'd taken her hair down and put in a clip. Oh, that glamorous little California girl, making sure everyone can admire her blonde locks and her long legs. Both kids immediately began crying about being asked to wear a jersey, but managed to get it together. Adam didn't accuse anyone of cheating this week, and is really improving with his footwork. Ellie is more tentative, but makes up for it by being fast. Together, they'd be a great soccer player, but they cry A LOT. Next week, hopefully more improvement. And I've already told Ellie, no dirt in the skirt.

We had a pretty relaxed weekend overall. Did a lot of swimming and laying around, and then last night went to see the concert in the park down in Dana Point. It was a Pat Benatar cover band, which was fun. The weather was perfect, there were plenty of snacks, and Ellie continued working on her physical skills.

Juddy, dancing king of the universe, obviously. Ellie has already said she wants to do gymnastics in the fall with Lexi, so we'll see how that goes as well (bet it will involve weeping!)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Sporting Life.

Little known fact about me, despite my sparkling social skills and ability to be an amazing teammate, I never played a team sport growing up. I was not that much into the sports, being more into being left alone with a book and my imagination. I know, hard to believe. And Tim did youth sports and then turned to running, which is just a thing that sickos do. And then abandoned all physical activity except the use of his valuable typing hands. Which also double as his video gaming hands.

So as expected, we have not been the parents who signed our kids up for tball and soccer and all of those activities. Partially because I don't want to talk to other parents on the sidelines, and also because I don't want to dedicate several hours a week to watching a bunch of little dweebs run around, missing the ball. And plus, the kids have never really expressed interest in team sports, though Ellie's liked dance and they both love swimming.

But lo, the other day there was a sign at the Y about a kids soccer camp on Saturday mornings - a half hour of practice and a half hour game, and I mentioned it to the kids, and Adam said he REALLY wanted to play soccer. First practice was this past weekend.

He wasn't sure if he should dress for football or futbol, but he was pretty thrilled about the whole thing, until the game got going, and then he cried when other kids stole the ball from them and accused them of cheating. So, still needs some review of the rules. The good news is that Ellie initially refused to sign up, but after watching Adam, she's going to join the group this week. So, team sports it is, we're trying.

Meanwhile, look at these two fish!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Knee High...

...by the Fourth of July.

Out of the frying pan and into the fire, once I felt like we'd started to recover from our vacation hangover, it was time for the long holiday weekend! And lo, it was nuts. We had three pool parties in three days - a family birthday party out in Yorba Linda on Sunday, where Ellie tried to learn to dive and cried a lot, a big friends BBQ on the 3rd, where the kids again swam for several hours nonstop, and then a lunch time BBQ on the 4th at a different friend's house in the same neighborhood (most of the same crew, slightly more sunburnt and chlorinated this time) and then after that four hours stint in the pool, everyone took a nap, we ate a final round of hot dogs with our neighbors, and ended the evening with sparklers and fireworks in their driveway.

Suffice to say, everyone has been pooped. The good news is that Adam is really getting the hang of swimming on his own, seemingly overnight! And I love what swimmy fish the kids are, even if it can be tiring to make sure that they're not drowning in a huge scrum of other kids, while also trying to make sure no one is splashing water into my beer. I have also found that picking up one of my children when they're screeching in their crocodile tears fashion, and throwing them into the center of the pool really puts a damper on their ability to fake cry. And it's satisfying for me! Because I am truly Ursula the Sea Witch.

So now hopefully we can settle into a routine, since neither of them are going to day camp until the end of the month. We go to the YMCA in the morning, and every morning Ellie complains that she doesn't want to go, and I complain that I don't want to go either, but if I don't work out I'll have to yell at everyone all day, and then run some errands, come home and have lunch and nap, and then wait to go jump in Gigi and Grizz's pool and pick up their kittens all afternoon. Trying to keep things fun with craft projects, and the entire house is strewn with all of our toys. It's been great to watch them play Legos or trains with each other in the morning - they love building and using their imaginations, and it's always awesome when they play together.

We also went to the library last week and got their first library cards. They were really excited about filing out the forms and picking out the card they wanted, and then we had a great time choosing books. I'm the mom who doesn't let them buy junk at Target or the grocery store, so it was a fun reversal of fortune telling them yes to everything at the library. Adam got a bunch of truck books, Ellie got a cat book and a couple of new chapter books to try. She was beyond adorable - we couldn't find anything in the stacks ourselves, and I suggested she go ask the librarian for help, and tell her that she finished the Laura Ingalls Wilder series and was looking for some new chapter books. Ellie was so polite and grown up, answering all of the librarian's questions about what kind of books she likes, what she liked about the Little House series. We're halfway through our first chapter book, and planning lots of good library trips this summer. Air conditioning and quiet reading, two of my favorite summer things!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Door County 2017.

Another great family summer vacation in the books! This year, we were once again able to spend our entire Wisconsin time in Door County, since all of the Thiels (minus Auntie B, sadly) were able to come over for the weekend, so I had my entire extended family in one place at the same time. And it was great! There's something wonderful about seeing my kids enjoying time with their out of state family, from their great grandparents, to all of their little cousins.

Got to spend Father's Day traveling with Grizz

Stayed overnight at Auntie Becca's and got to love on the kittens (not pictured, Adam waking everyone up by throwing up at 4:30, and then being fine for the rest of the vacation.)

Wisconsin, has all of the sky

We visited the goats at Door County Creamery and ate ice cream almost every day

Went to the Ridges, where you can read to a stuffed deer


And splashed in the lake and dug in the sand. Like their mama, they don't care that the water is freezing

A lot of hammock time

Making art in matching clothes

Eating cake that Gigi Renee made

Exploring and catching crickets

Yard games

Examining the dead bug collection

Playing cards

Playing bananagrams

Playing harmonica with Grandpa Charlie


Catching up on summer reading/Benjy book club

And of course, getting a ton of candy and having a ton of fun at the Olde Ellison Bay Days Parade

And obviously, dance parties. 

I also realize I'm a dirt bag and didn't take any good pictures of the kids with their Thiel cousins (other than our best gal Hailee) but I have this one I filched from my sister

But I do have this video of smiley-kins Leah, who makes me laugh so hard with her huge smile and baby laughter

Seriously kills me dead

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.

SO FANCY.

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.