Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 30, 2013

Today we got the sunny beach day that our visitors were hoping for.  Since they are coming from snowy and freezing cold Utah, I can imagine that this was quite the treat.  We headed to our usual spot at Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach.  Chris & Ginny braved the icy waters, while the rest of us relaxed on the sand, built castles, explored the tide pools, and ate lunch. 

Tonight we visited Fashion Island and the enormous Christmas tree.  We took turns splitting off and going into stores while the kids played at the fish pond, the water fountains, and climbed on the wooden presents around the tree.  

Friday, November 29, 2013

November 29, 2013

We had plans to spend the day at the beach, but woke up to rain that lasted through most of the afternoon.  Luckily it cleared up by the evening and so we settled for a beach bonfire instead.  We stayed until the kids started getting restless and the fire was dying down.  After we packed up we went for a walk down the pier, and then across the street to the fun zone where we ended up riding the ferris wheel.  Luke was super excited about the "big wheel" which he insisted was a "roller coaster."  The simple pleasures of life are even more enjoyable when you have such an enthusiastic little companion by your side!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

November 28, 2013

There are a million reasons why I am a lucky girl to have married Charlie Wood, but there is one thing in particular that stands out around the holidays:  Charlie likes to cook!  Unfortunately that doesn't often translate into me getting a night off of normal everyday dinner preparation (that usually comes in the form of a restaurant), but during the holidays he is more than happy to join me in the kitchen.  I think this was only the third year that we've cooked a Thanksgiving meal together - but Charlie has done the turkey every time.  I may go my whole life without ever cooking the bird.  And I think I could be okay with that.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November 27, 2013

Chris & Carly's family arrived just after lunch time.  After they got settled a bit we had an important thing to do.  When we visited Utah in September, Isaac & I told Ginny and Lucy about the Reptile Zoo and the giant lizard named Frank, who is actually a TV star and plays Mr./Mrs. Kipling on the Disney show Jessie.  The girls love that show and they were SO excited to see him!  Except you used to be able to hold him and take pictures and when we arrived we found out that is no long allowed, so we were all a little disappointed.  Anyway, the girls got a good photo with Frank through the glass and then I bought a bunch of cups of worms so that everyone could feed the turtles.  So gross but they all loved it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 26, 2013

Luke was my big helper today.  We have company coming tomorrow and I had lots to get done around the house.  Luke thinks giving Cracker a bath is the funniest thing ever.  He loves to help dump buckets of water over the poor dog and also lathering up all the bubbles and then he laughs because of his "soapy hands."  Luke was also begging to have a turn with the vacuum, so I finally relented and let him push it around.  He loved it and didn't want to stop.  The vacuum is quite heavy so I was surprised he kept going around his room with it for as long as he did.  Let's hope he keeps up this cheerful attitude about chores for the next 16 years or so!

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25, 2013

We have company coming this week for Thanksgiving, so in addition to the big turkey meal we need lots of other food for all of the other meals.  I normally do my shopping at Sprouts, which doesn't carry most of the items you see in this cart.  Our nephew Asher has some disabilities and one of his favorite things to do is to eat.  I wanted to make sure we had plenty of his favorite snacks around, and some food for the rest of us too.  Isaac has the whole week off of school.  He wasn't that excited to come shopping with me until I convinced him that I really needed his help finding all of the right foods for the cousins.  Then he was happy to help.  And he was pretty excited about all of the junk we were loading into the basket too, since it is stuff that we don't ever buy.

Luke does have school this week and today he made a turkey.  Oh he was SO excited to show me this thing and tell me all about it.  He was seriously giddy.  He wanted to hold it all the way home.  "It's a apple, it's a turkey!" he kept telling me over and over again.

As much as Luke loves his little turkey, he also loves sweets.  That little candy corn beak has been tempting him all day long.  Tonight as he was standing in the kitchen holding his turkey he stared long and hard at the beak, and then leaned in and took a little nibble off the end.  Then he looked back at the turkey and burst into tears!  His beak was ruined.  It was equally sad and adorable to see him so upset.  We don't have any more candy corn, but I did have some orange gummy worms.  I snipped off a little piece of worm and replaced the beak.  Luke was satisfied with the new beak and happily gobbled up the rest of the candy corn.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 24, 2013

Back at the storage unit.  Isaac is wearing his super spy glasses which provide him with a rear reflection view.  Luke just has regular old sunglasses, but don't tell him that.  He thinks he is a super spy too!  We dropped off another carload of boxes and Charlie gave the boys a wild ride down the hall on the cart.  They also loved racing up the stairs trying to beat the big freight elevator.  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

November 23, 2013

Charlie & I wanted to do some Christmas shopping today out at the Ontario Mills mall.  We made a weak attempt at getting a baby sitter and then just decided to take the boys with us.  Charlie bribed Isaac with money to spend at the Lego store (which, after all is way cheaper than a baby sitter) and it worked like a charm!  Isaac was on his very best behavior.  Luke, not so much, but only having one trouble maker is much easier than two.  Midway through the shopping adventure I pulled out some suckers to keep them going.

Luke was dead set on riding the carousel and talked about it non-stop the whole time we were there.  There is no carousel at The Mills, but the malls in Orange County have carousels and so Luke was determined to find one here too.  Luckily we stumbled upon a play area filled with roller coaster simulators and mechanical ride-on cars and were able to convince Luke that this was better than a carousel.  

But what ended up being his absolute favorite were "the boppers."  He thought this was hilarious, and has watched this video at least 20 times tonight.  Isaac was having a great time too, although I was a little worried he was going to knock down a little kid with that crazy hammer swinging!  

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22, 2013

Oh this was a sad morning.  The principal at Isaac's school passed away earlier this week.  I knew she had been sick but I did not know until after she passed that she was diagnosed with stage four melanoma and was only given a short time.  I actually got to know her quite a bit last year when I used to take Isaac into the front office twice a week for his therapy appointments.  I talked to Miss Livernois on several occasions and she always talked and played with Luke and told me how much she loved her nieces and nephews (she was single and had no children of her own).  She was young, just 46, and I had no idea last year that she was sick.  So I was very sad to hear the news on Sunday when she passed.  This morning they held a memorial at the school and asked the children to all wear red because Miss Livernois loved Angels baseball.  The Angels even donated 700 hats for all of the kids to wear.  It was a sweet program and a touching tribute to a lovely person.  

Here's Isaac after school all dressed in red.  He wasn't too sad about the whole thing (he barely knew who she was).  When I first told him he said "Hooray!  No school!"  But as we talked a little more about it he seemed to comprehend the sadness a little more and was able to show respect throughout the week as the school honored her life in different ways.

As we were walking to the house from the car Isaac ran ahead and then came back to tell me "MOM!  There is a beautiful horn of flowers for you!"  I was stumped as to who might have sent them and a little shocked to see that they were from our dentist.  Yes, the dentist.  Ha!  At a previous appointment he had asked Charlie what he did for work and when Charlie explained some of the products that he sells, the dentist remarked that he really needed a good pepper mill.  So when Charlie went back last week he brought the dentist a set of salt & pepper mills.  And now our dentist is sending us flowers.

Tonight we had some friends over for dinner.  Their little guy Jude is the perfect baby.  Seriously, just look at him.  He is adorable!  Isaac wanted to hold him, so we had him sit down on the couch first.  Then Luke wanted to hold him too, but that only lasted a few seconds.  He liked having Jude sitting next to him a little better.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November 21, 2013

A friend of mine asked me to watch two of her boys while she took the third to a music class.  The older boy was in love with Cracker and the younger one was in love with Luke's toy pirate ship.  They all played really well together and when the third brother came to pick them up then all five of them were having a blast.  It made me think of Charlie's parents and how they raised five sons.  A few hours was fine for me.  Kudos to you Karl & Janelle!

In other news, Charlie got us a storage unit this week.  I like to keep things so we have a lot of stuff.  And hey, there are four of us living in 1100 square feet with no attic and no garage.  We are actually hoping to sell our condo soon and so we decided to start clearing it out a bit in order to stage it better for showing.  Isaac & Luke think the storage unit is the coolest thing ever - especially getting to ride up and down the hallway on the big carts.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November 20, 2013

Today was the "Thanksgiving Sing" for all of the Kindergarten classes.  They have been practicing songs and working on costumes for the past couple of weeks.  Isaac was really excited about the Indian costume that he made - especially the vest because, as he told me several times, he drew a gun on it.  Kid is obsessed with guns.  Help.  As for the songs, every time I asked him about singing he'd tell me "oh you know Mom, you know, just songs."  But I did catch him a handful of times singing bits and pieces quietly to himself in the days leading up to his performance.

When it came time for the program the parents were all seated in the auditorium and then the students started filing in.  It was a sea of hushed hellos and waves as kids and parents spotted each other in the crowd.  Isaac couldn't seem to find Luke & I despite my huge full arm waves, until his friend Ivan (standing next to Isaac in the photo) helped point us out.  Then Isaac got a huge grin and he and Luke exchanged some big waves.  The kids sang half a dozen songs and Isaac seemed pretty bored by the whole thing.  Afterwards the teachers asked them to all hold still and then they let the parents come up and take photos of our pilgrim or indian.   

Next it was time for the Thanksgiving Feast.  In my opinion it was a disaster.  Most days the kindergarteners are divided into "Early Birds" and "Later Gators" but today they were all at school at the same time.  Add in all of their parents and siblings and it was a major crowd.  We were supposed to find our child and help direct them to their assigned spot at a table, but we could barely even walk because it was so crowded.  Luke was over it and took off towards the playground.  I got Isaac situated with his "feast" (of which he only ate the popcorn and apples before running off to play), and then squeezed out to keep an eye on Luke.  He had found one of his favorite things in life and was happily kicking and chasing a soccer ball around the blacktop.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19, 2013

We have this DVD series called All About that features a magical genie named Hard Hat Harry and he goes around with kids to learn about all kind of vehicles.  There are episodes about fire engines, garbage & recycling, boats, airplanes, monster trucks, etc.  Isaac used to watch it when he was little and now Luke is obsessed with it.  (Yes, we watch a little too much TV over here.)  A few days ago I found a DVD that we didn't have yet with helicopters, mail trucks, space shuttles, and a couple other things.  I new Luke would love it, so with a few clicks it was on its way to our house (gotta love Amazon Prime).  I turned it on today and both boys were LOVING it.  They sat and ate snacks while watching the helicopters and then tanks.  All the while I could hear them in the other room shouting "Oh yeah!" and "Awesome!" over and over again.  Best $6 ever.

We are still dealing with Luke's bedtime battles.  He's up past 10:00 every night and it's driving us a little, okay a lot, crazy.  I am really missing those few quiet hours to myself in the evening.  So the past few days I have been skipping naps in an attempt to tire him out.  Not working.  Well he is tired, yes (see above photo), but he is still not going to bed!  What's the deal kid?  Give your momma a break!  

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013

Fall is finally here.  The sun is shining and temperatures are still in the 60s, but at least the leaves are starting to turn and fall.  And fallen leaves = play time for my boys.  Our parking lot has some pretty good piles and Isaac & Luke love to run through them, and scoop up armfuls and throw them in the air.  Today they decided to decorate our car with them.  My car is in desperate need of a wash, so I figured a few crumbled up leaves couldn't do much harm.  And they thought they were sooo funny making a mess on my car.  I played along and pretended to be mad but I actually got a pretty good laugh too.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November 17, 2013

When I was cleaning out our freezer a few weeks ago I discovered some hidden packages of halibut that Karl & Janelle gave us from their last fishing trip in Alaska.  Tonight I made fish tacos for dinner and I was totally amazed that both Isaac and Luke loved the fish!  The only other thing I can make that I'm sure they'll both eat is macaroni & cheese.  I'm guessing they were both just super hungry and that if I serve them fried fish again, one or both will turn their noses up.  But for tonight we have dinner success.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

November 16, 2013

Before having children I never would have imagined how difficult it would be to keep them seated in a shopping cart.  It is incredibly difficult.  At least for me and my boys.  I think part of the problem with Luke is that he sees Isaac out walking by himself and so he thinks he should be out walking too.  But he doesn't walk, he runs.  Fast.  And usually in the opposite direction of where I want to go.  So really Luke needs to stay in the cart, but he hates it and screams and arches his back and tries his very best to climb out.  Tonight we made a compromise and allowed him to ride on the bottom of the cart.  Isaac used to do this and I'd say 50% of the time we'd get smiles and laughs from other shoppers and the other 50% was disapproving glares and reprimands telling us how dangerous in was.  This was Luke's first time down there and he managed to stay put for the majority of the shopping trip.  I say it's a win.

Friday, November 15, 2013

November 15, 2013

Did you know that in every country but America children are able to enjoy eating a chocolate egg that also includes a fun toy surprise inside?  These eggs are outlawed in the US (possible choking hazard), which is a huge disappointment because my kids love them!  Our friend Sunny in Taiwan sent the boys some eggs earlier this year and they were a huge hit.  When I spotted them in Paris - complete with tiny airplanes from the Disney Planes movie - I knew we had to have them.  I am now wishing that I bought more than just two packages because the boys are going nuts over them.  Luke wants all of the chocolate and Isaac wants all of the airplanes.  

Charlie returned from NYC this evening and pulled out a vest that he had purchased for himself to show me.  Luke insisted that he have a turn to wear it too.  It's more like a giant dress on him but he loved it and ran all around the house with it on.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 14, 2013

I woke up around 11:00 last night and discovered that our power was out.  No big deal, except Luke's white noise machine was off and so was Isaac's night light.  The rest of the night/morning was filled with alternating wake ups.  Isaac was "afraid of the dark" Luke wanted his noise, and I was jet lagged.  At each waking I'd glance at the clock to see if the power was on, and was kind of surprised each time to see that everything was still dark.  When morning time rolled around Isaac was pretty bugged that he couldn't watch his favorite TV show - Wild Kratts - while getting ready for school, while Luke was fascinated by the concept of "no power" and the dark refrigerator.  Here they are enjoying cold cereal in the dark.  I called the power company and got an automated message telling me they planned to have service restored by 6:00 pm.  Agh!  A whole day with no power?  No thanks!  Luckily a few minutes after Luke & I walked in the door from taking Isaac to school the power was back.  Thank goodness.  Nothing like a few hours of inconvenience to make you appreciate the simple things in life.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 13, 2013

The title of this self portrait is "Vacation Hangover."  I assumed that a week away from my children would leave me feeling refreshed and renewed and with a newfound abundance of patience.  I was wrong.  I am just so tired.  And I think having all of that quiet time and the ability to eat my meals in peace, shower without anyone banging on the door, sleep without interruption, and spend hours leisurely walking down tree lined boulevards while window shopping and chatting with my husband made me remember what I've been missing out on for the past few years.  Okay, so basically I am totally grumpy and irritable.  I love my boys, and I love being a stay at home mom, and I really did miss them.  But today I just want to crawl back into bed and go to sleep.  

Meanwhile I am keeping Luke entertained with Angry Birds on my old iphone.  He thinks it's pretty great.  Maybe tomorrow I will snap out of it and get back to being a happy and well functioning mother again.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 12, 2013

So. Tired.  I am SO tired.  Charlie left at 5:00 this morning for a trip to NYC (I feel bad for him having to jump back on another airplane), and Karl & Janelle were right behind him around 6:00 am to begin their drive back to Utah.  So here I am again with my boys and back to reality.  But I am totally jet lagged and exhausted.  It was all I could do to make it through the day and get the boys in bed before crashing into my own bed just before 9:00.  Unfortunately Luke is not jet lagged and has been dealing with some separation anxiety, so he doesn't really like the idea of either of us going to sleep just yet.  

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

We are home!  We spent a very long day traveling from Paris to London and then back to LAX where Karl came to pick us up.  When we arrived at the house Isaac and Luke were so excited to see us.  Okay me.  Not that they didn't miss Charlie but he travels fairly often for work.  I don't really leave.  I loved the big hugs and kisses and all of the excitement in telling me about their adventures during the week (even though we also skyped everyday while we were away).  Janelle helped the boys to make Welcome Home signs for us.  Isaac's is decorated with bikes and a light saber fight, while Luke's is more of a modern art piece.  Both boys love wearing hats so Charlie picked out some berets to bring home for them.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 10, 2013

Today we visited the Notre Dame.  We went inside and circled around to see all of the chapel areas and the beautiful stained glass windows and caught a few glimpses of the mass taking place in the nave.  We had a museum pass which we could have used to climb the towers, but the line was over an hour long so we decided to skip it.  I thought this was a lovely photo spot on the side of the cathedral.  It was hard to get a photo in front of the facade because they have erected these awful looking bleacher type things for people to sit... and I guess stare at the building?  But they are too close to be able to get a nice photo without including the bleachers in your shot.  Disappointing!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November 9, 2013

This morning we visited the Arc de Triomphe.  The sky was finally clear but it was super cold.  We climbed the stairs to the top and got a great view of the city.  After coming down we noticed several tourists hurrying out to the center divider of the Champs de Elysees to get a photo with the Arc.  So yes we are standing in the middle of a busy road here but it does make for a pretty cool picture!

Friday, November 8, 2013

November 8, 2013

When we visited Paris five years ago we took the elevator from the base of the Eiffel Tower all the way to the top.  This time we opted for the stair climb.  Even though it was rainy and cold I definitely preferred the stairs.  I was glad that we could take a little more time and get a better view of the inner structure of the tower.  It feels enormous once you are inside.  We climbed to the first two lookouts but the elevator is the only option to get to the very top.  I actually thought the view was better from the lower lookouts (like the one pictured here) because once we got to the top, not only was it totally clouded over but we were so far removed from everything that it started to feel more like a birds eye view.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 7, 2013

Charlie & I have been obsessively checking the weather forecast for Paris for the past week or two.  It keeps changing but unfortunately it looks like we will see quite a bit of rain while we are here.  Today was supposed to be one of the rainiest days so we decided to make it our shopping day.  This morning we visited all of the food and specialty shops and in the evening we headed to a few department stores.  We've been kind of disappointed to find all of the same clothing brands that are available in the US and not much that is unique to France, however the architecture and design of the stores themselves have been anything but disappointing.  This beautiful stained glass dome is inside the Galeries de Lafeyette which is the oldest and largest department store in Paris.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 6, 2013

After checking into our hotel this evening we stopped by a market to pick up a few essentials (most importantly, diet Coke for Charlie) and then went for a long walk along the Seine River towards the Eiffel Tower.  The best spot for a photo of the Tower is across the street at the Trocadero, but unfortunately I didn't bring a good camera tonight.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November 5, 2013

Today is Charlie & my 8 year wedding anniversary.  To celebrate we are going to Paris!  Quite the celebration, right?  Especially since his parents are so nice to stay with our boys.  This is the first time we have ever left them.  I’ve been away for a couple nights when Isaac was younger, and Charlie travels often for work, but we’ve never gone away together and I’ve never left Luke for more than a couple of hours.  I am anxious about leaving my little loves but excited to have the alone time with Charlie.  I snapped this photo with Luke on the way to the airport.  He was excited to ride in Grandma’s car and was happily waving goodbye to me.  But when it was time for me to get out of the car he and I both teared up. 

And now Charlie & I are off.  As much as I’m looking forward to Paris, I’m also really enjoying all of this quiet time on the airplane. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013

I spent most of the day finishing up a few last things before our trip.  The boys were excited to have Grandma & Grandpa here.  They both loved hanging out on the couch with Grandpa watching the Packers game.  Especially since Isaac took over Grandma’s iPad with a new Star Wars game, and Luke got full reign of our iPad.  Screen time overdose.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

November 3, 2013

Luke has been horrible at bedtime lately.  Ever since we converted the crib we have been keeping him in his room at night with a  baby gate across the doorway.  He recently decided that he HATES the gate.  He screams and cries “I don’t like gapes!” over and over again until we finally relent and take it off.  And then he gets up and joins us in the living room over and over again until one of us goes and sits on his floor and waits for him to fall asleep.  It is totally irritating and we are at a loss about what to do about it.  I’ve been skipping his naps all week in an attempt to tire him out, but he was still up until 10:30 tonight.  It’s exhausting.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November 2, 2013

One day a week Luke’s preschool has an Occupational Therapist that comes in.  She has been teaching them yoga and she has an animal name and a song for each position that they do.  Luke sometimes practices his yoga routine at home and it totally cracks me up.  This is his favorite position.  I’m not sure what it is supposed to be (I don’t do yoga myself).  He always tells me he is “just stretching.” 

Friday, November 1, 2013

November 1, 2013

After lunch we headed out to run errands.  First things first: haircuts!  Isaac has been growing his hair out so that he could have “Luke Skywalker” hair for Halloween.  It was looking super shaggy and I was counting down the days until we could cut it.  Next we headed to the carwash (with Dum Dums from the hair salon).  It rained earlier this week and made my car really dirty.  Luke noticed (he does not like dirty) and kept insisting that we needed a car wash.  Seriously, every time we got in the car he would tell me “Mom, we NEED a CARWASH.”  We’ve only been to this particular wash a handful of times but I’ve decided it’s my new favorite.  The big windows are perfect for my little audience.  

I skipped Luke’s nap again in hopes that he would sleep tonight.  And Luke fell asleep in the car again.  I know he is tired.  Why won’t he go to bed?!