Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Hi There!

I don't know if anyone will even read this since I've left you all for so long, but just in case, Howdy!

Halloween was super fun. J was Darth Vader and S was a cat. She was going to be Alice in Wonderland, but she changed her mind. I didn't care so much because I found this costume for $5. J also dressed as Abraham Lincoln for a presentation at school. They did Historic Halloween. It was really cute. My favorite part was when he said when he was born and when he died before he said anything else.

B and I had the chance to go to New Orleans last week. He had a conference and I tagged along. I. Am. So. Full.

It was my first time in New Orleans, and I had nothing planned other than Lunch and Dinner each day. And we barely scratched the surface, people.

Here is how our days went.

Wed: arrived at 8:30 pm, checked into our hotel (which I got a great deal on through Living Social that included our hotel stay, restaurant vouchers, free drinks each night, free breakfast, jazz club vouchers, and a voucher for a cafe) at oysters and shrimp. We also ate a salad because it was on the menu and I didn't think we'd eat many more of those. Walked to Cafe Du Monde for Beignets.

Thurs: Took a tour of New Orleans with other dental people. Ate lunch at Muriel's Jackson Square (it's haunted!)

Ate dinner at Emeril's. The service was outstanding and the food was just as great. Hail to the barbecue shrimp and the oysters. Oh my.

Listened to some great jazz.

Fri: Lunch at Dooky Chase's. Obama ate here when he was campaigning and it has been said that they have the best fried chicken in the country. Well I am not a fried chicken conoisseur because I have never even made it before, but it was so good that I had four pieces.

Dinner: Cooking class! B said that he was reading some magazine and they wrote that people always remember the experiences they have on trips, so he wanted this to be our experience. It was so much fun. Our class was taught by a native of Louisiana, who grew up on the Bayou and has so many stories to tell. We listened. We helped with the roux, we laughed as Canadians marveled at ingredients they had never seen before, we ate. Shrimp and Crab C'est Si Bon, Chicken and Sausage Gumbo, Dirty Rice, Creole Fish, Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding. I am seriously thinking of making that shrimp appetizer right now. In fact, I've been thinking about it since Friday.

Sat: Lunch at a French bistro that was charming, but the food was too salty. Oh well.

Long walk in the Garden District marveling at the enormous homes.

Dinner at Cassamentos. More oysters and shrimp. More great jazz afterwards.

Sun: Jazz Brunch at Commander's Palace. So much fun.

We took a drive to Oak Alley Plantation. It's beautiful and right on the Mississippi. The story of the woman for whom it was built reminded me of the Paris Hilton/Kim Kardashian of the 1800s. I guess things don't change much over time.

Appetizers at Felix's Oyster Bar. Because we hadn't had any oysters that weren't fried yet!

Dinner at Upperline. At this point, when they brought out dessert, B and I both looked at each other and laughed. We couldn't do anymore. I think we put forth a valiant effort.

I hope we get to go back sometime. I had heard all of these stories about how New Orleans never came back after Katrina. We definitely saw places where things are not being rebuilt and are still in shambles, but we saw lots of places where people have rebuilt and that things are moving in the right direction. The people we met were extremely friendly and couldn't do enough for you. I'm starting to sound like a tourist commercial, so I'll stop.

Now I have to go think about how I'm going to cook our shrimp for dinner tonight since I'm pretty sure I cannot do as well as the cooking instructor did on Friday.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


First Day of School for J

First Day of School for Little Miss (don't worry, she had a plant to give too)

I can't seem to finish the three other posts I started. Maybe there will be a summer backtrack at some point.

Friday, July 08, 2011

And Then We Went to Florida!

Getting ready for the beach!

Little Miss was a bit apprehensive when we first got to the character breakfast, but she perked up at the sight of Minnie

Two goofies

She insists on wearing her sunglasses upside down

It was nice to get back to Florida after a year. My parents have a lovely new place. We enjoyed a week of low humidity and cooler 80-90 degree temperatures. We also had fun two days at Disney. It's nice having parents that live within a few hours because you don't feel like you have to see everything and run all over the place. J had a great time riding the Thunder Mountain Railroad this time (hands up the entire time). He freaked a bit on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, but then said he would go on it again after it was all over. During the ride he kept yelling, "I hate this! I want to get off!" For about a week after the trip, Little Miss kept telling me, "Those pirates, they weren't careful, Mommy. They lost their keys" when referring to the last scene in the ride when the dog has the keys to the cell that the pirates are locked in. I even survived flying home alone with two kids. I had to entertain LM for the entire flight and she continued her sleeping on planes strike, but it all worked out. I must be crazy, but I will be attempting to take them to the west coast on my own in just a few days. I do have a few free drink coupons that I might redeem on that flight!

Saturday, June 11, 2011


(In the time that it has taken me to finish this post, two people I know have had babies!)

Little Miss turned two and had a lovely birthday. I was a terrible example and gave my kids cupcakes for breakfast on her birthday because it was the only time of the day that all of us were going to be together that day. But, as Bill Cosby said, "It has flour, eggs, milk..." The kids definitely weren't complaining. Perhaps I wasn't such a bad example because I refrained from early morning cupcakes and went to the gym instead? No?

J also had his school graduation. They also had an international day after the ceremony. The kids were dressed in costumes from different countries. I honestly don't know what country Jonah was representing, but he looked cute anyway. J also presented his family tree. This was a project he worked on at school for close to 2 weeks. Aside from gathering the pictures and writing down names for him to copy, J did everything by himself at school. I was so impressed and proud of his hard work!

I got a funky henna tatoo, which looked really cool at first. Then I had to live with it for two weeks. I am not meant to be truly inked.

LM's birthday party was held the following weekend and was an ice cream theme. I got a lot of decoration ideas from This Mommy Loves. My favorite part was the ice cream pom poms. They're still hanging in our living room entry and since they're too high for me to reach, I don't plan on taking them down because they make everyone happy when they see them. Aside from the ice cream related goodies, we had a ladybug bounce house, an ice cream shaped pinata, and played put the cherry on the ice cream cone. I know the bounce house is kind of "one of these things is not like the other" and I always bawked at bouce houses before I had kids, but the grown ups, I mean kids really have a blast in them. Actually it was B who was really hinting about wanting it. The place we get them from always delivers a day early, so there's plenty of opportunity to bounce at 7 am and wake up the neighbors.

The ice cream cones are still hanging in our hallway one month later!


Almond butter ice cream cones

This is the table before we decided it would be best if little kids decorated sundaes outside.

Taking her best shot at the pinata

These "big kids" look so grown up

Good thing these big kids don't!

Party favors! I love a good party!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Don't be fooled by the smile. I keep my mom on her toes!

Yes you do, little one. Yes you do.

So I guess this is where I write my yearly ode to the Little Miss. There's just one problem. Mama is exhausted. I think the entire year of toddlerhood has caught up with me. My ears hurt from the screaming and the squeals. My voice is tired from all of the positive redirecting. But, since I already made your cupcakes and we plan on eating them at 7 am for breakfast because it is the only time we will all be together as a family before 7 pm tomorrow night, which will totally make me mother of the year, I think I'll muster some strength and put this to paper so you don't complain about being the screwed second child when you're 18.

Dear Little Miss,

As you turn two, the biggest thing that seems to amaze me on a daily basis is that you are your own person. You are a stubborn, insistent, charming, and strong-willed trailblazer. You roll with the punches as long as it doesn't mean that mommy is leaving your side, in which case, watch out because there might be some incessant crying. I'm happy to report this is getting better, but you're not one to let go easily when you're not ready for Mommy to leave. I do have to admit at being relieved and proud the other day when I told you that I had to go out and you told me that you wanted to race me down the sidewalk and you said, "I'm ready for you to go now!"

It's been a long year of holding you. "Mommy, hold you!" is what you always said, until about a week ago when you decided that you understood the correct placement of pronouns. You are also quite a talker! About a month and a half ago, you were streaming a few words together and getting frustrated that you had to repeat yourself a couple of times. Then there was a moment in the car when you said, "I want to go to Daddy's office to show him my sticker" and you have been pretty much talking in complete sentences ever since. It's fun to listen to you and J have "conversations" in the car now. I love to hear you laugh at each other.

You really like coffee. Thank goodness Mommy drinks decaf. It makes me laugh when you say, "How about we go to get a coffee?"

You enjoy watering the garden and taking your baby doll for walks to get the mail. You insist on taking your purse with you and you look like a little old lady walking down the street as it hangs around your elbow as you try to push the stroller. You haven't quite figured out how to get all the way down to the mailbox and back, and carrying you, the stroller, the baby doll and the mail all at once can be a bit difficult at times.

You love the water and you have no fear of jumping in. I wouldn't be surprised if you swim early. If we could just get you to stop drinking all of the bath water, we'd be in good shape!

You also love books, but you're a creature of habit and if I don't read something exactly the way I'm supposed to, you turn back to that page and make me do it over. I have to admit that this is a little annoying, especially when I feel like we're in a hurry to read before naptime. I am impresed by your memory of a story even if we've only read it once or twice.

I think the cats have come to accept the fact that you aren't going away. I'm not sure they like it much, but I think they'll be okay as long as you don't try to pull off their tails too much.

It cracks me up when J gets put in a time out for something and you walk over to where he is sitting and give him a talking to. You say, "J, listen to me! Listen to me, J!" You turn your head as if you're very disappointed in him and let him know exactly what you think. For awhile you just babbled at him, but now you are starting to talk logically to him.

You sometimes act like a valley girl. You say, "Ohh!!!" whenever I explain something to you and I often can't tell if you've understood a thing I've said. Maybe there's a career in politics in your future?

You love ice cream. I can't say you've had that much of it, but we've been talking about having ice cream on your birthday for months thanks to your brother. I'm so glad your birthday is here because it's been hard telling you that every other day is not your birthday and that today is not a day for cake and ice cream. It was pretty funny tonight when we said, "Tomorrow is your birthday!" and you replied, "No it isn't!"

You are incredibly tough. You have to get hurt pretty badly to start crying. Most of the time you just pick yourself up and continue with what you were doing, almost as if it was supposed to happen that way.

The terrible twos are tough and we definitely have our days where I hardly recognize you, but in the end it's fairly simple. You smile, laugh, giggle, try to get away with something, have fun, learn, and grow every day. You're starting to show an interest in potty training. You even ask to take a nap when it's time. I can't complain too much.

We love you, Little Miss. Even when you turn on us at the drop of the hat and scream "No!" at the almond butter sandwich I have placed before you after it's what you told me you wanted for lunch. Even when you try to bite your brother. Even when you want to get out of the car when there's no possible way to do that. Even when you ask me to read The Dr. Seuss ABC book for the 30th time. We love you and can't believe you're two.

Happy Birthday!

P.S. Thank you for sleeping until almost 7 am on most days. I really appreciate it

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gym Rant

I rarely complain on this blog; mostly it's all about my wonderful children and our wonderful, perfect life. But sometimes, I get so irritated by other people and I just keep it to myself. Well, I needed to vent today because there were just too many things bugging me.

1. Dear Gym lady with the fake boobs, fake hair, and standing right in the front row,
You were at Body Combat class today, not Do Whatever You Feel Like Doing class. While everyone else was jabbing and crossing, you were jumping and spinning. You also pulled your shirt over your boobs during the abs sequence so you could stare at yourself. Obviously, you like yourself, but we all don't have to love you. Please stand in the back or just do what everybody else does! Thank you!

2. Dear Other Gym Lady,
Yes, you, the one who was so into class that you started practically barking like a dog on a conga line. I totally get it when people are working so hard and they really feel like they are punching something so they let out a great big, "Hi-yah!" or they grunt a lot. But making a sound that goes something like this, "Woof Woof! Oof oof!" does not fit the bill. For close to 30 minutes. I think it's time for you to go on a cruise and get this conga line thing out of your system.

3. Dear Other Gym Lady (this actually happened on Tuesday)
Yes, I do come to this class often. I'm sorry that you've gained 10-15 lbs in the past few months and that you have 4 kids and you are a teacher, but do you have to tell me all of this while completely standing in my personal space and all but kissing me on the lips? Despite my best efforts to back away, you just kept creeping closer and closer to tell me your story. I'm sure you're a very nice person, but BACK UP!!!

4. Dear Gym Lady on the Phone talking loud enough to make her point in front of everyone,
It really was sweet of you to take your first grade daughter out of school yesterday and take her to a local arcade/miniature golf place instead. You truly have your educational priorities in order and must simply have forgotten that summer vacation begins in Texas on May 28, only a mere 9 days away. Good for you for complaining to the management that there were too many teenagers there because your first grader totally should have been playing those shooting games instead.

That was fun. Thanks for listening. I promise we'll be back to our normal programmed blogging soon!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Random Order of Events

Pictures of the past two months-- Art Day at J's school, strawberry picking, Easter fun, and our trip to CA.

Creating with friends

Sitting while everyone else picked for her. I guess we could call her The Strawberry Princess

Dressed up for the neighborhood egg hunt. J chose to wear a tie so that he could look nice for the Easter Bunny.

Little Miss wasn't so enthused about meeting an oversized rabbit.

But she felt much better about having her face painted to look like one!

Double rainbow on our way to Napa made us giggle only because it had been a comedy of errors to finally get there...

The only person in the family to get on skiis during the week

"I can't put my arms down! And this snow really stinks!" About 5 feet fell that day.

Looking happy in San Francisco! (Before the pink eye and double ear infections and sick parents)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

You Can't Ignore Cancer (and I bet you have $10)

I am going to hope that today is one of those days that more than 1 person checks to see if I have updated my blog. Today, I am going to shamelessly plug my dear friend, Mama Kat's cause. She's planning on shaving her head to help kids with cancer and she's trying to raise a boatload of dough for those kids with cancer through I could give you all the details, but then you wouldn't be as intrigued to read her story.
Click here now!!!

So, if you haven't clicked there yet, I hope you'll change your mind, but if you don't feel like reading a lot today, will you consider making a small donation to her cause first and read more later? You know you have an extra $5 or $10 laying around. I'm sure there's been a time recently where you said to yourself, "Oh, I should give them some money" and then you put it off and forgot. Or maybe somebody (a friend or even a stranger) did something really nice for you and you kept telling yourself that you were going to pay it forward someday and life just got in your way and you haven't done that yet? Well, right now would be a great time!

Have I convinced you yet? Good. Go here now!

Thank you!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Montessori Birthday

J goes to a Montessori preschool and they celebrate birthdays a little bit differently there. Here are some pictures of his celebration at school.

Parents make and share a poster of the child's life highlighting things such as what they were like as a baby, their first birthday, special trips or events, etc. Most of J's descriptions for each year involved some sort of travel to California or to Florida to visit family. Man, that kid has traveled a lot!

(we added some glitter to his name after I took this picture)

The kids listen to the story of J's life
The months of the year are put on the floor in a circle with a candle in the center to represent the sun. J stood on February and began to walk around the circle while the kids sang a song about the earth going around the sun. He stopped each time he got to February and told something (with some help) that he liked especially in that year. It was hard to remember years one and two! After he walked around 5 times, the teacher lit four more candles and the kids sang happy birthday. J blew out the candles and all the kids gave him hugs. They then shared a fruit salad instead of cupcakes (they discourage sugary sweets-- at first I thought this was a bit of a bummer, but honestly it was nice to not have to make 24 more cupcakes and have leftovers).
walking around the sun
making his wish

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Super Party!

We officially have a 5 year old in the house. J's party was fantastic, and as he said, "This was the best birthday EVER!" Nobody's ever accused him of not being excited about things.

It was a super hero training party. There was cape making, a Batman bounce house, games such as "Pass the Kryptonite" and "Pin Spiderman to his web". The kids attempted to destroy a #5 pinata and also ran on a superhero training obstacle course, which J designed. Many of my pics are blurry, and some were taken after the party was over, so they aren't as clear as I would have hoped, but here you go!

Happy Birthday J Sign

Super Grandma with her Super Grandkids

J wants to hang these in his room

The Super Food-- Power Juice, X-Ray Vision Improvers, Fruit Sabres (with lightning bolt handles), Brain Power Pellets, and Muscle Maker Munch.

Cape decorating-- the kids ran the obstacle course and earned their capes to decorate. The obstacle course involved jumping over rivers, crawling through tunnels, rescuing a cat from a tree, swerving through tall buildings, hopping along a bumpy trail, and pushing a car to safety.

Playing Pass the Kryptonite. We played this game without anyone being out. When the music stopped, instead of being "out", kids got to jumg along with me in a different circle and say, "kryptonite, kryptonite, kryptonite!" It saved a lot of hurt feelings.

This pinata took forever to break. Finally the loot was dispersed to all!

Super Jonah! This cake was made using a 1977 cake pan of my mom's. It took about 3 hours to decorate from making the icing to completing the decorating. It was awesome, but my hands hurt!

Goodie bags said, "Thanks for coming to my birthday party! Your Super Pal, J"

The Super Strongs. We all had superhero shirts. I had Wonder Woman, B was Green Lantern (although he was supposed to be Robin, but his shirt got messed up in the mail twice). The kiddos were superman and supergirl.

I'm hoping that J has super year as a 5 year old. I'd say it's off to a pretty great start!

Friday, January 28, 2011

I'll Take, "Random Toddler Categories" for $200, Alex

Little Miss is becoming the non-stop talker. Who would've thought this would happen since her brother is constantly jabbering too? What's even funnier is that she likes to use all of the words she knows in a category all at once. For example, if it's lunchtime and I say, "Would you like some cheese?" She'll say, "cheese, turkey, toast, apple, avocado, blueberries". If I mention the park, she says, "swing, slide, rocks, balance beam, running". She does the same with people and places. If it's time to take J to school, she starts to rattle off all of the people we will see when we get there. It's pretty funny. I find myself marveling at how many people's names she actually remembers. It is true that Geminis are party people, right? I think she's starting very early.

I began a Christmas wrap-up post. Are you surprised you never saw it? I would like to say that blogging more was one of my New Year's resolutions. I suppose it could be. Let's just say that I'll try to do better without any guarantees. Here are a few xmas pictures of J and his new drumset and S in her new car. Both have been big hits around here (pardon the pun). I'm amazed at how little the drumming bothers me, yet how much screaming and whining does.

(that's a candy cane and not a cigarette in her mouth)
We're gearing up for a 5th birthday party around here next week. It's going to be a superhero themed party at our house. I desperately tried to get J to pick a place so that I wouldn't have to worry about cleaning and hosting lots of people, but he decided that since he had his party at a place last year that he wanted to have it at home this year. He's so type A. He's been full of good ideas for the party, which has been great. In some ways, he wants to do nothing special ("We don't need special plates with pictures on them; we can just used colored ones") but in other ways he has been extremely detail oriented ("Let's make an obstacle course for superhero training with a chance for running, jumping, slithering, and bouncing activities.") I'm excited to be using a very old cake pan for his cake (circa 1977) that my mom used to make a few cakes for my brother's birthdays. This weekend is going to involve some fabric cutting and label making. I will do my best to update you on the actual party in decent time.

I thought for a while that my daughter was going to have to be given away to be raised by wolves for a few years because she was quite the little animal over Christmas and the few weeks after. She decided to have some major separation anxiety while we traveled, leaving her pretty much attached to my hip for our entire holiday. If I even walked over to the sink and she was in the same room, she still screamed my name over and over again. Things are gettting better, but she does like to let everyone know when things are not going the way she would like them. All I can say is thank God for wine and early bedtimes!
I just picked up J from school to find out that he has pink eye. A quick trip to the doctor to get eyedrops confirmed it. I'm glad it's this weekend and not next weekend, but my eyes feel itchy already and I hate that!
This is also totally random but funny. The kids got great bath stuff for Christmas from their Aunt. One of the toys is a bunny called "jumping Jo Jo". It plays a song, shoots out water, and rides around the bath. Both kids like this, especially Little Miss, who yells, "Captain Jo Jo at the helm! Captain Sam-mone at the helm! Captain Nonah at the helm!" And so on... Anyway, other fun bath ritual involves a bath tea pot and hair washing. J likes to wash Little Miss' hair with the tea pot and calls it shampoo with champagne. When he rinses her hair off he says the water coming from the teapot is the champagne. Now whenever it's time for a bath, Little Miss yells, "Champange! Champagne!" If you didn't know she was 20 months old, you would think she has very refined taste.