Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Meowy Christmas!

We had a great one! Well, the humans did at least...

(Thor, Lucky, Taco and Yogi Bear)

There's also this guy too:

We had a good, family-filled holiday. The kids loved opening their presents on Christmas Eve and it actually lasted longer than 15 seconds. It's always funny to see what they love - Adam opened a single matchbox car first, and acted like he'd hit the lottery, yelling "WHAT THE HECK? I DON'T LIKE IT, I LOVE IT!" Ellie's favorite present was a notebook for journaling. And they both appreciated that the Thiel cats bought them some new breath mints.

Christmas morning Ellie was thrilled to receive a stuffed animal that looked like Lulu, and a locket with a picture of her and Lulu inside, just like she asked for. She also told me though, that Santa didn't bring her anything she wanted (this was immediately following when I wouldn't let her take over Adam's newest presents.) She did however, like her embroidery kit, and is working on her handicrafts with me.

We had a really nice brunch with our grandparents - everyone was SUPER thrilled with their toys from Mimi and Poppy, and after nap time, we had a wonderful evening with the Ford Hoard. Thanks to all of the family members who were willing to play walkie talkies with Adam and his sub-par walkie talkie skills, especially his "big friend" Matthew (which is upgraded from Thanksgiving, when Adam said "he's not my friend, he's my cousin.")

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve

The merriment continues! Friday morning we had Ellie's first grade Christmas program, which was very sweet. We ended up standing in the back, which was fine, because we could see her better and it gave Adam a little more space to roam. Also, I am not all about showing up a half hour early to get a bunch of seats, since I'm a lazy mom.

Can you find her? She's got a big old melon!

The kids did about 20 minutes of singing - each little group with their different costume got to come down and sing in the front for a song, which was darling.

As you can see, she truly knows that the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

I got to take her home from school early, which was good because it gave everyone (including me) a chance to nap after the previous late night on the Christmas train. And then afterwards, she did her gymnastics class, which she's loving, and we packed it out to Yorba Linda for the Parmordsen party/Poppy's birthday.

Ellie was so excited to get there and see her "cousin" Carly, Adam was thrilled about the new train going around the Christmas tree. And they were both happy to see Santa this year.

Adam was especially into it this year - he made Santa pause during his reading of the Night Before Christmas to tell him about 1) his boo boo on his arm 2) his friend Judd and 3) to sing a song about peppermint sticks. And he wanted to give Santa a huge hug several times, very cute.

Such a fun, crazy group of kittens

And Santa himself, kind of a wild guy

All in all, a very successful evening, though I was pooped when we finally got home - the kids weren't in bed until almost 11! So yesterday was mostly recovery - the kids both napped for almost three hours, and I spent a solid two hours sitting and reading with the kittens curled up in my lap, which is what I call living my best life. Now, just preparing to start the onslaught of opening presents!

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Tis the season! This week is delightful and busy, getting ready for Monday.

Yesterday was Adam's last day of school, and they had their Christmas program. It's always sweet to see which kids are singing their hearts out, and who, like Adam, are chewing their finger nails and noodling around.

I'm sorry I couldn't get a better picture of this - this is his class, and he's the Wise Man on the far left, with a real goofy grin on his face. Unlike last year, when he refused to put on the angel costume.

Ellie had her class party yesterday, and then she went to the Megaparty for kids who hit a specific fundraising mark with the jogathon. They had a lot of bounce houses, a tug of war (she said girls won) and then did a lot of just playing with her friends. Her bold stylings for the party kill me.


Then we did some serious cookie decorating with Thomas and Aislinn. Lisa seriously made enough dough to provide cookies for Santa, the elves, and their families.

Tonight, we had a fantastic time taking the Christmas train to the North Pole, meeting Santa.
No one cried, and we actually had a really fun time with these amazing glasses, like 3D glasses, that allowed you to look at Christmas lights and have them turned into a holiday shape. We had snowflakes, Santa, a reindeer, gingerbread man... and it made waiting in the line for the train and Santa himself go much quicker. Adam even wore them all the way home, looking at streetlights. Thanks Auntie Becca!

And lastly, as far as merriment goes, our Christmas kittens are really settling in nicely. They are so sweet and friendly - Taco runs down the hall to greet us, purring before I even reach down to touch him. They slept with Ellie last night, and she said she woke up to find Lucky curled up next to her, purring, which is what we were hoping for with our new cats. I had told the adoption lady, we have crabby old cats, which on one hand is good because it's taught the kids to respect their animals and their boundaries. But on the other hand, I want them to have cats who want to cuddle with them and play with them.

And look at who else wants to play with them!
It's Thor! He loved the bird toy as a kitten, and now he loves it with the kittens! They are all getting along smashingly. I thought it would be weeks before he accepted them enough that we could have all three cats having free run of the house, but Monday night they were all fully integrated and friendly. Taco really wants Thor to be his buddy, and will run up and touch noses with him. Lucky is not as into him, but he hasn't so much as swatted at either of them. Plus I think he likes all the new and entertaining toys. Plus kitten food! It's funny though, now that he's the elder statesman, I keep calling him Chuckie.


Sunday, December 17, 2017

New Loves.

Turns out, a house with only one cat doesn't feel like a home. God love Thor, but he's a pretty crummy pet. He mostly lives in our bedroom, under the bed or in the closet, or laying in the bathroom sink. He'll come out to eat, and he comes out for love when the kids aren't around, but unlike Lulu, he won't lay and sleep on the couch with us - he's got to be walking all over us, doing some good stomping and meowing. He's not much of a snuggler, though he does sleep on Tim's feet at night.

I told Ellie, somewhere out there, new kittens for us exist, and someday we will find them. Wednesday and Thursday night I even ventured to search through Petfinder.com, but didn't see anyone who gave me cat-love feelings. Then on Friday, I tried searching for polydactyl cats just as a lark, and up popped a little six and seven toed tuxedo girl with a sweet face and lovely markings. Better yet, she was part of a bonded pair of kittens and came with an equally lovely, though normal-toed brother. I sent the link to Tim and told him I was going to submit an application to adopt them. I figured, given mom's experience trying to adopt Yogi Bear and Spike, it'd be months before I got to even meet my friends, but long story short, their foster mom liked my application and we had a good talk on the phone Friday night, and today I went to meet the kittens, and TOOK THEM HOME. So much for waiting until after spring break... or after Christmas even...

Ellie was delighted to see them, and started crying a little.

They are SUCH loves. They purr like crazy, they're friendly and inquisitive, and they're just DARLING.

So please welcome to TEAM Ford, Lucky Flower (seven toed girl) and Taco Big Truck (regular sweet boy.)

Happy Family!



And for reference, Tim loves them very much too!

Saturday, December 16, 2017


Things are still sad around here over our Lulu-girl. I find myself looking for her, or expecting to hear her meow at me. Telling the kids that she'd been put to sleep was brutal - Ellie sobbed and wanted her back and tried to bargain with us, and Adam said he was sad and didn't want Lulu to be dead. Me either, buddy, me either. I also caught myself calling Ellie by Lulu's name today, trying to get her to come and get her hair brushed before a birthday party. Tim and I spent some time looking at picture of Lulu from when we first got her, and it really throws into relief how much has changed for us since 2004, looking at our tiny apartment with the hand me down furniture, and how our mean old lady cat was once a young thing too.

But, life goes on. We had a really nice birthday party for Tim on Tuesday night - Lulu was able to lay in my reading chair and be a part of the disco dance party. Grizz, as always, kept things lively.

This can only end well.

Tim turned 38, and I accidentally but quite proudly put a 3 and a 7 candle on his pie, thinking I'd nailed it in terms of having the right number candles. Remind me in October to buy both an 8 and a 9.

Last weekend Ellie had her first ever sleep over. We went with Judd and Lexi to watch the boat parade in Dana Point harbor, and when they got sick of the boats, we took Adam home and left Ellie with her friends. I thought Adam would be upset because he wasn't getting a sleepover with Judd, but he was sadder that his sister wasn't coming with us, and that night told us he couldn't wear his matching jammies without Ellie. He's also taken to taking off his shirt in the morning and running around in just the pajama bottoms, for what it's worth.

Ellie had a great time, and while there was part of me that was nervous about her being away from us and with a non-family member, I then remembered that Kristen and Jeff have known her since she was a few weeks old, probably changed some of her diapers along the way - if there's anyone who can handle Ellie even though she's not their actual flesh and blood, it's them. Thankfully, she was the very best guest and had the very best time.

One of the funniest moments was on our drive from dinner down to the Harbor - we'd split up with boys in one car and girls in the other, and funnily enough, Girls Just Want To Have Fun was playing when we started the car. Ellie and Lexi were in the backseat, and Ellie showed Lexi the bracelet that her "boyfriend" Preston picked out for her during a visit to Disneyland, and Lexi, like she was a 20-something lady, asks "oh, where did you meet him?" Thankfully, she met him through school and isn't using dating apps quite yet.

Mom and I went to see a show at the House of Blues on Wednesday night - always nice to take Saint Gigi out for an evening. Plus we got the Hat, which was exactly the salty mix of grease that my sad feelings needed.

Ellie helped me wrap all of my Christmas caramels on Thursday afternoon, which was a good job done. I can't believe Christmas Day is just around the corner. The last few presents are rolling in from Amazon (Ellie needed Santa to get her a stuffed animal that looks like Lulu, and a locket with a picture of her and Lulu, and a cat on the front. Thankfully Santa has Amazon prime.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017


Friends, our beautiful, sweet, naughty six-toed Lulabelle has been in kidney failure all fall, and today we made the decision to let her go to kitty heaven. We got her when we were engaged, picked her because of her extra toes, and because when I took her out of her cage and made a kissing noise at her, she licked me right on the mouth. She was a spark of light in our tiny apartment when Tim was working 80 hours a week. She curled up next to me in the middle of the night when I was up feeding the kids. She came to the door to greet us when we walked in the house, and curled up in my lap anytime I spread a blanket for her to make a nest. When I sat down to eat lunch she shoved her face into whatever I was eating, and meowed for scraps when I was cooking. She's been with us our entire adult lives and the house already feels so empty.

One of the episodes of the Crown we watched last night was about QEII wondering if she’s middle aged. I told Tim this morning, we’ve had Lulu for our entire adult lives, having to put her to sleep makes us officially middle aged. We got her when I was 23 and he was almost 25 - I’m sure our parents thought we had no business getting a pet, considering we were in a tiny apartment, and we’d just had to borrow money to fix Tim’s car and also, we were your general idiots. But we’ve taken care of her and loved her through everything - remember in the beginning when she had to get her internal spaying stitches removed because her weird defective body had rejected them and pushed them through the skin on her abdomen? How she was allergic to everything and got little blisters on her face? And then all of her old age naughtiness - as much as I hated cleaning up after her, I knew that we were giving her a good life - so many others would have gotten rid of a cat like her. But she’s put up with us through all of it. From hating our kids to sleeping in bed with Ellie (so long as Ellie doesn’t try to touch her, of course.) 

Sorry to all of you whose arms she licked until the skin was raw, the kids she bit when they dared to come near her as she slept on the Lego table, the people who witnessed her pee on the carpet to show her displeasure with having guests arround, the allergic friends that she always sought out for a special cuddle. She was the worst, wasn't she? She was the best.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

December to Remember.

I have to be honest, I am not feeling horribly festive this year. We've got the tree and the outside lights up, I've got almost all of my shopping done, and the Angel Lady has begun leaving candy for the kids every night, but it just doesn't feel super-Christmasy. Or the stuff that I have to do, like addressing all of my cards or making a batch of caramels, just don't seem like what I'd like to spend my free time on. LAZY NOISE.

I did however, spend the last week cross-stitching a lyric from Something Rotten! for my reading corner.

Sadly, I think my reading corner is going to be short lived. After driving me out of the living room with his loud, obnoxious one-sided conversations via gaming headset and his laptop in his lap, Tim has decided that it's time for him to build a desk top and set up a permanent home for his nerd-times. And sadly, the room with the most available space is MY Pretty Room, which he has taken to calling his LAN room. It's like he's trying to get banished out to the shed. He ordered a new desk and an ergonomic chair, bought a four foot long mouse pad for his new mouse and fancy keyboard, and his new monitor recently arrived so he can have two monitors for maximum screen area. Apparently the desk top is coming in the new year. I can't lie, it's a nice desk and not a hideous 1990s computer console, and I did sit at it the other week while I was working. BUT I STILL DON'T LIKE SHARING.

Anyhow, now that my sampler is done, expect holiday cards in the next week (or so.) In the meanwhile, St. Nicholas brought matching Christmas jammies, which of course both kids immediately hated the morning of, but consented to by nightfall.

Raccoons in Santa hats! What more could you want?

Speaking of jammies, Adam had Mommy and Me day at preschool yesterday, and it was pajama day for all. I saved the other moms the shame of seeing me in my super ratty pajamas and came in athleisurewear. We spent 45 minutes playing outside, doing crafts, and in my case, sitting down with Adam only to have him bound up and over to the next thing. Then they sang us a little song and we headed home - he refused to sing, but sat in my lap and let me smell his hair like the creep I am.

Ellie had an ice cream party at school on Friday because her class raised the most for the Jogathon, so she was incredibly pleased with that. Last weekend we had a college girlfriend of mine over for lunch - she's lived in New York since 2002 but recently moved to Pasadena, so she and her husband and sons came down, and even though we've never met each other kids, and the husbands have only met briefly at our wedding, it was like we'd all known each other forever. Then the next morning, I found this, which I finally figured out is Ellie's advertisement for the chocolate coins we had available for a treat in the house.

The kids have slept over at Mimi and Poppy's house two Fridays in a row, because Mimi and Poppy are amazing. Last week was the East Lake winterfest with snow and hot chocolate and all of the things the kids love - Tim and I went and saw a movie and then I slept in until after 9:30am. Last night was Tim's company holiday party, which was Haunted Mansion themed. As in years past, we get a hotel by the convention center and then take a cab over to the Disneyland Hotel for an evening of fun, and the chance to just collapse into a hotel bed at the end of the night, free from cares and worries and cats and kids.

This isn't the best picture, but my dress has a cape attached, which is basically the best. And Tim is wearing his velvet blazer again, as he hopefully will for holiday parties in the years to come. They did a really great job with the party this year - one of the best parts was that they took over the second floor ballrooms as well, so there was much more space to spread out, and more seating areas. In years past, it's sometimes felt like we're all crammed in there, screaming at our friends over the loud music. This year, more opportunities to sit on a couch and speak in a normal voice. Not that we didn't yell for the fun of it.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Back to the Grind.

After having all of last week off for Thanksgiving break, Ellie has minimum days this entire week for parent-teacher conferences. Why they couldn't have combined the two is beyond me, but okay! The good news is minimum day means they're only out an hour and twenty minutes earlier, so I still have the morning to get stuff done, AND depending on how the day is going, I've been having her lay down for a nap if possible, much to her chagrin. Though, on Tuesday I told her she didn't have to nap, but I was taking my own wretched cold and going to bed, so she could do whatever she wanted as long as she stayed quiet and didn't wake up me or her brother. Parenting at its finest! (also, kudos to Tim for getting her ready in the mornings this week so I can grab another precious half hour of sleep before waking up and hacking up a lung.)

Her conference yesterday morning was quick and painless - she's doing great at math, she's slightly above grade level for reading and improving all of the time, she listens well and is a good student and most important to me, she's friendly and kind to all of her classmates. We'll keep her.

Adam got the thrill of his life this morning when we had the large item pick up (or as he calls it, the Large Giant Pickup) come by today to grab a busted up chair and the remains of his crib. Still loves him the big truck.

In "only in California" news, the other day I took the kids to the park so they could burn off some energy while I sat and read a magazine. We'd been there for a bit when suddenly there was a huge influx of kids, which was fine - they were letting my kids play with them too and everyone was having a good time. Then I realized the mom was being followed by a small camera crew and looked weirdly familiar. That's right, the kids were hanging out with Octomom and her litter of children. Kids seemed normal enough, but she seemed sort of wacky and like she was putting on a show - she made a big production of chasing the kids around, then told the camera guys she shouldn't really be running because she had a sprained ankle. No, you shouldn't run on a sprained ankle. And stop making the rest of us lazy park-parents look bad!

Saturday, November 25, 2017


We've had a fairly low-key Thanksgiving around here, lots of eating, lots of family, lots of staying up late and a few good naps around this place.

There weren't a ton of little cousins at Mimi's this year, but the kids got along okay. Big cousin Aribeth was happy to organize games and play with her pipsqueak cousins, and Matthew and Andrew got conned in making many a paper airplane for Adam. It was actually pretty funny - at one point Adam walked by me and I growled at him and tickled his side, and he turned to his college-aged cousins and goes "ugh, my mom does that to me ALL THE TIME," ready to start a conversation with his elders about how uncool moms are. When I asked him if Matthew and Andrew were his buddies, he goes "no mom, they're my COUSINS." It wasn't that long ago that Tim was the big cousin and Matthew and Andrew were his little buddies (I mean, they still are, but now they're coming to him for help with coding and college classes, not paper airplane making.)

Yesterday we had dinner with our friends Adrian and Elisa. The kids spent a couple hours running through the house like animals. Their youngest son Felix is in kindergarten but only slightly larger than Adam, so the two of them took to wrestling like a couple of puppies, which was funny and cute. Ellie carried their new kitten all over the house like a baby.

Today our big fun is getting our Christmas tree and getting all of the holiday stuff set up. Ellie slept in until 8:30 this morning, but then immediately asked if it was time to set off to the nursery. Not until mommy has her coffee, kid! Jamming the tree into my car will also provide a good reason to vacuum it out afterwards - farewell Cheerio crumbs!

Finally, one last photo from We Run the City - Jake getting smoked by Adam at the end of the 5K

Monday, November 20, 2017

Fundraising Frenzy

We are just coming off our busiest week in a looooong time, so how nice that we're now sliding headlong into the holidays!

The kids have vacation this entire week, and last week at Ellie's school was a bunch of fundraising stuff. On Monday they had their jog-a-thon. She was initially incredibly upset because I didn't send out the fundraising email to my closest 100 friends, and so she didn't get a bunch of promotional crap (please note, it's just about sending the email and bothering your loved ones, not about actually raising money.) We turned in an envelope with donations, and she was able to claim her prizes, one of which was a small toilet water gun, where when you opened the lid you got squirted in the face. I told her she could use it as a Barbie toilet, but we were never putting water in it.

Ultimately she raised some good money and had a good run. Then on Tuesday they had a school picnic, but also, while you were there having lunch with your kid you could go through the book fair and buy some books and help raise money for the school. Very clever! I bought books despite having just funded the jog-a-thon, because you know I love a book. Then the rest of the week was a lot of turkey crafts for both kids.

Adam had a school feast on Friday which I did not attend because I was helping co-chair the fall craft boutique for my MOPS group. I was at the church for a couple hours on Thursday night and from 7:30-2 on Friday. Thankfully Gigi was able to pick up the kids and put them down for naps, because it was a nutty day. The vendors were great, we had some great home-made craft items, and I had a fun time, even if the turn out was frustratingly underwhelming.

Friday night the kids went to the YMCA for Superhero date night, so Tim and I could go out in peace (and so I could have a restorative cocktail after a long day) and Ellie wore the new athleisurewear she'd suckered Gigi into buying her, declaring herself to be the Superhero.... ZUMBA GIRL. She's pretty cute, that one.

Saturday afternoon Gigi came over for some more babysitting, and we headed up to the Coliseum with Kristen and Jeff for the UCLA-USC game. It was a friendship divided, but we had a really fun night. It also helped that while UCLA made some big mistakes, they didn't get the snot kicked out of them like in humiliating years past. Plus Tim and I wore matching sweaters.

Then the fundraising continued on Sunday we We Run the City, the UCLA-USC rivalry run that benefits Special Olympics. I put together a crackerjack team of Bad News Bruins this year - we had a few new runners and walkers, and Kristen and Jeff brought the kids and walked with us. It was nice on all levels - the children got to learn what a real college campus looks like, we bribed them with Diddy Reese so that they'll like UCLA best, and Jeff and Kristen donated generously to the cause, so much so that they bought my participation in a USC shirt for the second year.

Thumbs down Trojan children

Jake did the run for his fifth year, and this year they had a 10K, which he WON. Truly, Jacob runs the city.

Then we went out for lunch and got cookies for everyone

Back in MY DAY, all four of those cookies would have only cost a dollar!

(as a plug, if you'd still like to donate you can do so HERE)

You might think our rivalry friends would be done with us, but no, they were not. Once we all got home and showered and napped for a bit, it was off to Mike and Nicole's house for a wonderful Friendsgiving evening. I felt like kind of a slouch only bringing cookies and rolls, because the other ladies rolled out an honest to goodness feast. We drank a ton of wine and sat around the table for three solid hours, occasionally getting up to break up a fight between children, help ourselves to dessert, or more wine.

Truly could not ask for a better group of folks, or a better way to end a wild week