Wednesday, March 31

Questions for Bedtime

Matilda took a long nap this afternoon and as a result it took Tim eons to get her to sleep tonight. Her was telling her a story about the history of humans traveling in space. She got all excited about the subject:
"I didn't even know about satellites. I've never seen one of those. What else floats around the earth?" (I would not have an answer for her; Tim came up with space junk.)

Another day recently she was inquiring about "sugar bugs," the term our dentist uses for bacteria in your mouth that cause cavities. She asked so many questions about them: Are they small? Are sugar bugs brown? Are there sugar bugs in food? Are there sugar bugs in cake? Are they crawling on the top? Picture that the next time you are digging your fork into some sweet dessert.

We are reaching the age of never-ending questions & curiosity. I think Tim's mom can sympathize as this was about the age she gave in to his constant stream of questions and admitted the truth about the Easter Bunny and Jolly old Nick.

Another Busy, Fun Day

Guess where we went with a bunch of friends:The funny butterfly on her new tights at least makes it slightly less annoying when she repeatedly, all day long lifts her dress over her head.

High fives through the glass, what a cool diver!

Monday, March 29

Wild Animal Park

For the last phase of Matilda's birthday celebration, we took her to San Diego for the day to the big Wild Animal Park. Both kids had tons of fun & everyone is now thoroughly exhausted from hiking around the enormous place all day.

Matilda was so in love with the deer & assorted antelope-type things in the petting corral that she was kissing them and putting her hat on them in some sort of show of affection.
A very happy ostrich sitting on her eggs.It doesn't get much cuter than a 1 month old elephant.
Porter woke up just before we sat him on the carousel so he started off a bit dumbfounded but soon realized he loved it. It was a good thing he was sleepy to start, because by the end of the ride he was pitching himself off his tiger in an effort to change animals.
Porter spent the better part of the day yelling duck, duck at any bird we saw, and a few mammals, too.
One highlight for me was the bird show where we got to witness a secretary bird stomping around after a rubber snake. Too cool. This place is huge and hot and exhausting but well worth all the effort.

Sunday, March 28

Down Day

We spent the day recouping from all the birthday fun today and allowing Matilda plenty of time to use her new wheels.
Sarah & Gaurav got some good shots too while we were up running/biking at the Hollywood reservoir. Matilda's braking skills needs some work but if we keep her on flat terrain she does great & has so much fun. Even though it was a hot day, I made Matilda wear long pants and a jacket while biking to minimize the damage of any big, scrape-y falls. She did all right with only two tip overs and no blood.

Saturday, March 27

Quick Birthday Pics

Trying out her new wheels first thing.
Here you can see the birthday girl howling with laughter as we trap Stella under the parachute.
In keeping with the loose anchovy theme, we decorated the ice cream cake with fish. She looks unhappy here, but it is just a very concentrated face. Water mucking is serious business. This butterfly net gift from Amalia was perfect for the afternoon. Porter is so enamored with her new scooter from Stella & co. He probably occupied himself for a full hour at the park like this. Just because you love pink tutus, doesn't mean you can't also love to get muddy. She was thrilled with the sounds of water sloshing around in her boots.
Thanks to everyone for making our gal feel so special and our whole family feel loved today.

Unnaturally Blue

We finally cut the ice cream cake mere moments before it turned to a puddle.
It was delicious regardless.

It's a Bike & It's Blue!

She's currently riding around the courtyard like a pro!

Friday, March 26

A (Long Overdue) Date Night

Tonight Tim & I had our first date in an embarrassingly long time. We ate delicious Umami burgers (port caramelized onions & blue cheese) with sweet potato fries and then went to the Alcove cafe to break our already overstuffed stomachs with cheesecake & peanut butter fudge cake. Porter did fine for his first time babysat & Matilda had a fantastic time as our neighbors made her anchovy pizza for dinner.
We are all prepped for the big birthday tomorrow. Matilda's new bike is parked in the living room under a quilt awaiting her. The ice cream cake is ordered, the presents are wrapped, and more anchovy pizza is planned for tomorrow night. Now I am going to crash and hope desperately that both kids have a better nights sleep than last night, which left Tim & I both slightly broken this morning.

Here are the sugar cookies M took to share at school today. She requested these animals specifically (triceratops, bats and sea stars), choosing the frosting color and everything. This morning she was even attempting to dictate which friend would get each specific cookie. I gently suggested that everyone should get to pick their own cookie but she wasn't too sure.

Tuesday, March 23


Porter is such a snuggler. Matilda will snuggle up and give you love only when she's sick, tired or trying to procrastinate. It is still surprising to me when the boy wanders over just to lean in for some sugar. Here he is almost tackling Matilda as he gives her a big hug. M just eats this up and finds it even more thrilling when they tumbling down in a heap together. As we were out hiking last weekend, he was leaning into me for little hug-snuggles just before he feel asleep in the carrier. I think we'll keep him. River Walkers 3-20-10


The kids went to the doctor yesterday; here are the stats in case you are keeping score:

Matilda - At (almost) 4 years olds she is 40" and 37 pounds, which is between 50-75% for both height and weight

Porter - At 11 months he is 24 pounds 14 ounces and 31" long. Porter currently measures what M did at 18 months and weighs what M did at 2 years old. I think pretty soon he is going to be able to take her. I also think the next time we fly I am going to be quite cramped unless we buy a seat for him.

Easter Practice

Water Play 3-18-10 Since the weather has warmed up Matilda is chomping at the bit to go in our "pool." Instead a bit of water, food coloring and splashing has distracted her for several days.

Monday, March 22

Almost Four

Griffith Hike with Daddy 3-14-10
Today as we left her check up, Matilda's pediatrician said, "I'll see you next year when you turn 5!" I almost keeled over. My girl is getting big too fast and each day closer we get to her birthday I want to cry.

Sunday, March 21

Danger Boy Likes to Climb

Porter likes to test the boundaries of safe.

Standing in the dishwasher:
For My Next Trick 3-10-10

Climbing Mt. Bob.
Climbing some random park exercise equipment:
Pasadena Picnic & Play 3-13-10

Not climbing related, but we are holding our breath to see what the pediatrician has to say at his well-baby check tomorrow when she notices the big, purple toenail. It's not like the beer bottle he dropped on it was full. We would never put a full one in the recycling bin.

You're So Money

Yesterday afternoon we made friends with some neighbor boys across the street & played for a bit in the big driveway of their apartment complex riding bikes and scooters and chalking on the sidewalk. The younger of the two brothers, Vartan who is 3, got mixed up with Porter's name calling him "Quarter" from the get-go. Then somewhere along the way Vartan got even further confused and switched from Quarter to "Money." He called Porter "Money" for the better part of an hour while they all played together. I love it. I think it is such a funny, badass, word-association nickname for the boy.

Saturday, March 20


Porter is coming along quickly with taking steps. Here's more video of it as I was luring him with the Big Wheel yesterday.
Tonight he walked two feet across Matilda's bedroom, running away (essentially) from Tim as he tried to change P into pajamas. This boy is rapidly becoming a handful.

Thursday, March 18


Matilda has been pestering me for a "short haircut" for a bit now. I was too chicken to go very short with my questionable cutting skills but did a heavy trim today. I can't tell if it is even, but the curls hide any glaring errors. At the very least it is much healthier looking. She was insistent that I save the bits so she (and you!) could see them:

Taking Comfort Food to New Extremes

Tonight Porter fell asleep while eating chicken and dumplings. I think we will never recover from daylight savings time around here.

Wednesday, March 17

Homemade LARA Bar-Style Snacks

(This is a recipe and article I pulled together for the newsletter at Matilda's school. We've been eating a lot of these little goodies.)

When the moment calls for something sweet you can skip the candy aisle and have this wholesome indulgence instead. Many consider LARA bars one of the very best energy bars on the market because they are made from a short list of unprocessed real food ingredients. Not just for athletes, these bars are a great all-natural snack for kids, too, meeting the wide range of dietary restrictions on today's playground. A downside to LARA bars, however, is their cost. Each bar has only 3-4 ingredients of nuts, dried fruit and spices, so with a little research and experimentation in the kitchen we’ve started making our own version at home. Along the way, I also discovered that shaping them into little truffle-sized balls was the perfect portion for a treat.

The combinations for these are endless as you can vary the dried fruit, use raw nuts or toasted, and add spices or flavor extracts. Getting kids cooking always increases the chance that they will try a new food. So get their fingers in the mix too as this is an especially fun and messy recipe!

LARA-style Truffles: Chocolate Fudge

1/2 cup dates

1/2 cup walnuts

2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp coconut oil (or olive oil will do)

unsweetened shredded coconut for dusting (optional)

Place the dates in a food processor and pulse until processed to a paste. Transfer paste to a medium bowl (don’t clean processor). Add the nuts to the processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the nuts, along with the cocoa and oil to loosen the mixture, to the bowl with the fruit paste. Use clean hands to knead the nuts into the paste. Keep squishing, just like play-dough!

To make truffles, scoop out a small spoonful of the sticky mixture and roll it between your hands to form a ball. You can also dust the finished balls with shredded coconut which will make them less sticky to handle and more durable to travel. (These will inevitably end up in a plastic baggie in the bottom of your go-bag.) You can also form bars by placing the entire mixture in plastic wrap, smushing it to form a large bar, chill in the fridge, and then slice into individual sized servings.

Here are a few other variations to try:

Very Cherry: 1/4 cup chopped dates, 1/4 cup dried cherries, 1/3 cup pecans 1/8 tsp cinnamon

Apricot Almond: 6 Tbsp dried apricots, 2 Tbsp dates, 1/3 cup almonds

Crazy for the Castle

Sunday, March 14

Milestones on Video

Apparently all we need to do to get Porter to reach his milestones is have Adam around with his video camera. He caught the first crawling in December and now here's the tail end of Porter's first series of steps. Yay!

If you click through to his flickr page there are a few other also, of stepping attempts and some thub, thub thubbing of the lips. Maybe if we have Adam hang around in the bathroom permanently we can get Mr. P potty trained in record time. Although I guess I could spare you those videos.

First Steps!

We had a really nice picnic at the park today with Adlai & family where Porter took three steps! Here we were trying to bait Porter with his sister holding out some food, but he actually took the steps a bit later as Tim lured him with my water bottle. Adam, as always, captured some really nice pics of the afternoon.

Also, Matilda wanted 4 ponytails today, and would settle for no more or less.

Thursday, March 11

Today's Fun

We went to school in the a.m. for a photo of all 40-something students. I think the expression is herding cats? It was very entertaining to watch. Then we went with 4 school buddies, 4 siblings and 3 moms to the park for playground time, then lunch, then ponies and then train rides. It was oh so much fun.

Wednesday, March 10

Unsolicited Parenting Advice

Somebody must have put some crazy in the water this week.

Yesterday at the Autry museum, a woman interrupted me from discussing the tin toys on display with Matilda. This random stranger went on to say how I should talk with Matilda about what she is seeing. That she sees so many mothers walking through the museum and not even interacting with their kids. I just nodded my head in agreement with her looney talk & tried not to encourage her. After she wandered away I went back to interacting with my daughter in a game of I spy.

Then today I ran into another helpful stranger as I was walking down the sidewalk, talking to Tim on the cellphone with Porter napping on the front of me in a carrier. This man yelled at me with googley eyes bulging, "Oh you're talking on the TELEPHONE!" He then mumbled about talking with my kid as he passed. Maybe he thinks naps are overrated for babies and that we should wake them to provide a constant barrage of stimulation all day long for maximum brain development.

Tuesday, March 9

A Plea to Locals

Please go sign the petition to save our library. The LA public library system is facing huge budget cuts right now which would lead to decreased hours, staff lay offs and freezes on new book purchasing. We go to the library weekly for books, story time, and free art classes. Our local library branch fosters such a sense of community in this huge, disconnected city. Our small apartment has limited space for books and we need a steady supply. We cannot abide these cutbacks. Please add your voice to the discussion.

Sunday, March 7

Matilda was Jet Lagged

Yet another awesome sibling interaction captured.

Food Face

Matilda called this big glob of cream cheese Porter's "breakfast bindi." Slightly misplaced on his face, but the right idea.

Saturday, March 6

Fire Station Field Trip

Tim went along for the field trip with Matilda yesterday and got to witness all the fun. The whole class walked to the local fire station for the afternoon to get a tour and interact with the fire fighters. The walk, about 10 blocks, should not be so tiring, but Tim said that wrangling so many high energy bodies through the city streets was a bit exhausting.

The kids got a tour of the station, to climb in a truck, snack in the meal room, to spray a fire hose and the chance to talk with all the guys. Here one of the fire fighters demonstrated how he could get totally suited up in 60 seconds.
Once he was dressed, they talked to the kids about how in an emergency this is what a friendly face looks like. A terrifying thought that I had never considered, that kids run away or hide from the fire fighters because they are scared by the gear.
Understandably, Matilda declared spraying the fire hose as her favorite part. They even set up a cone for each kid to knock over with the water stream.
A bit of excitement as the ambulance gets a real call out.
The whole crew poses before the hike back.

Mud Soup

Some of Matilda's buddies were over yesterday morning to play. They discovered the cooler full of rainwater on our patio and made short work of it. Within about 5 minutes all 5 kids (Porter included) were completely muddy from head to toe, the patio was covered in a thickish film of potting soil and scummy water and the cooler was empty. The take home lesson is that 5 kids is a lot of man power.

Wednesday, March 3


Porter's top right tooth finally broke through on Sunday and is more visible everyday. It's pair is really close and will be through any day now. Soon Porter will be an unstoppable eating machine. He already looks kind of like a monster here as he waves his toy around. Roar.

Monday, March 1

Joining the Ranks

I am now officially a soccer mom. Well, I don't have the minivan, but Matilda did start a soccer class/club/practice activity today. It was hysterical to witness. She's been really into playing keep away with Tim recently and has gotten surprisingly good at dribbling the soccer ball. We also figured her attention span was long enough now to follow direction in a class. So for the near future, Matilda will be spending 1 hour each Monday afternoon running her buns off with a bunch of school friends.

Here she is a speck in the distance as she takes off at the beginning of class toward the goal.
Matilda's in the red pants here. I am pretty sure the coach is saying, "no hands, no hands!"
Dribbling drills down the line.
Porter had a pretty darn good time watching and chasing ball around the sidelines.
Inexplicably sitting in the goal with her school bud. Future goalies perhaps?
Matilda was bursting with excitement before the class started, was so happy the whole time, and over dinner declared that she wanted to go back soon for more soccer practice. It was so awesome to watch and brought so many athletic memories from my youth rushing back.