Tuesday, November 30

Matilda's Gifting List

We are busy making lists around here, trying to tackle all the holiday tasks and head off some panicking in 3-4 weeks. Yesterday over lunch I was talking with Matilda about what items she might like to buy for people. At first she was just claiming she wanted to get everyone chocolate and candy canes. That is all nice and good, but I tried to explain to her how you think of what someone else likes when choosing a gift for them, not just what you want. Here's what she came up with, all on her own:

Great Grandma Mary: a wooden giraffe
Great Grandpa Fred: a golf ball and a golf tee
Uncle Gordie: cheetos
Aunt Lori: chocolates
Grandma Kathy: a new horse riding helmet
G-pop: 1 more pug (this is my favorite answer)
Uncle Brian: (you guessed it) smoked salmon
Aunt Gia: a bird cage (I have no explanation for the reasoning there, when pressed Matilda didn't either)
Mama: cheese
Porter: beans
Daddy: pepperoncinis

Monday, November 29

Sick Time = TV Time

Porter & I are both a bit under the weather today, which had Matilda terribly excited this morning. One day, a few weeks back, when Porter was taking a nap in the afternoon and I was feeling sick/exhausted, I put a movie on for Matilda to watch while I napped on the couch. Apparently I set quite the precedent with that desperate-parenting move. This morning all Matilda could talk about was how I would nap and she would be fine watching her videos. I even heard her telling Porter how if he was feeling better then he could just watch videos with her while Mama napped. As it turned out, Porter napped super early while she had gymnastics class so I took my nap while Tim was on dinner/bath/nighttime jam session/bedtime story duty and Matilda never got that video, poor gal. I guess she can just hope we'll still be snotty and cough-y tomorrow.

Sunday, November 28

Petrified Lizard

Playing at his great grandma and grandpa's in Arizona yesterday, Porter found himself quite a prize. As he picked it up in the yard, Tim was thinking how strange it was they had a toy lizard laying around. By the time Tim realized it wasn't like one of the numerous plastic replicas we have strewn around our place but a real deal dead lizard, Porter had snatched it up. When I saw them walk around the side of the house it looked to me like Porter was holding a lizard. I was so confused and couldn't fathom why it would tolerate being held.
P & M were both really fascinated with the specimen and gave it a good looking over, followed by a good hand scrubbing! And I can't tell you how extremely upset the poor boy was when he finally had to part with his little friend!

Saturday, November 27

One Holiday Down

Now that we are past Thanksgiving I think I have to stop ignoring the holiday music blaring from all the stores and start getting cheery. We still haven't really sorted out what we are doing yet for the holidays but have finally bought some plane tickets. We'll be heading to NY for the holidays hoping for lots of family fun and cookie eating there. Tonight on the long drive from Tucson to the CA border Tim and I also talked about our annual Dirty Santa party and I am pretty excited for that. I think we may need to rent out some big Armenian hall in the neighborhood though to fit all the folks we want to invite. Dirty Santa-ers, get your thinking caps on, the countdown to stealing is ticking.

Friday, November 26

Turtle and Turkey

Today Matilda found the perfect mock turtle costume at the Desert Museum.We also found perfect salsa at lunch with Grama and Grampa.
We also managed to squeeze a little Black Friday shopping in without any chaos or hassle. All the deals we wanted were still available even though we waltzed into the stores after 11 a.m. In case you haven't had enough turkey, here are those cupcakes. Mini-cupcakes for heads, candy corn tails and fruit by the foot waddles - pretty impressive.

Thursday, November 25

Road Tripping

We arrived in Tucson for turkey this afternoon after an overnight stop at the CA/AZ border. The kids all did fine on the trip with snacks/books/truck spotting/singing. All of us stuffed ourselves with the extended clan on traditional (and not so traditional) goodies including turkey-turkey, deep-fried turkey and turkey cupcakes. Now Porter is up to his late-night antics as he had a too-late nap and is all hopped up on snacks. Tomorrow: off to the desert museum to chase lizards and javelinas.

Wednesday, November 24

Happy Thanksgiving!

We went to an awesome celebration at Matilda's school this afternoon complete with a holiday song performed by the munchkins and tiny little plates with tiny portions of a full traditional meal.
Porter couldn't be bothered to eat any food but instead busied himself with inventorying the balls and fire trucks, kissing the bunny (really! on the nose!) and trying out every riding toy.
He's just trying to make certain we have a reliable ride to AZ tonight.
Happy turkey day everyone!

Tuesday, November 23

Send Good Cheer

It is early in the holiday week yet, but I am very thankful for my brother and Gia being in Michigan tonight. Mom has been back in the hospital the past few days but her doctors are promising she'll go home in time for a Brian-cooked turkey. Channel your extra happy thoughts her way please to boost Mom over this hump.

Monday, November 22

Gender Confusion

Porter has been sporting this ladybug dress a lot recently (calling himself "ant" which is his word for any bug). He is also quite prone to request barrettes when Matilda is getting some. All together it is a that look left the cable guy a bit confused about where was the son we kept referring to.
As if to clear up the misunderstanding Porter spent most of the afternoon also wearing his helmet and "riding his motorcycle."


Matilda ate this lunch 1 food item at a time:

1. Anchovies (lunch of champions, always gone from her plate first)
2. Pickles (more salt, please)
3. Carrots
4. Pita chips
5. Iceberg (?)
6. Cucumbers (not shown)
7. A few grapes and pear slices

Her treat out that night was a bit more colorful.
It's hard to say if she finished the M&Ms first or the gummy worms; it was all so fast and frenzied! We don't go very often so when we do it is awesome to let her choose whatever concoction she wants. It always involves chocolate yogurt but this visit she was thrilled to discover they had peppermint too, another favorite.

Words of Wisdom from My Corporate Friends

Each week I still get a little emailed blurb about "Your Child this Week" with advice, what to expect, etc. This is what I got today to mark Porter's 19 month mark:

When you're out and about, your toddler's favorite pastime may be running away from you as fast as he can, squealing in delight as you rush to catch up. He's oblivious to danger, so you'll need to be extra watchful of cars, bicycles, and dogs if you take him for a walk outdoors. Keeping him strapped into a stroller is safest, of course, but that's not always where he wants to be.

Maybe life would be a lot easier if I kept him buckled in but probably not as entertaining.

Sunday, November 21

Clean Teeth

Porter & I took Matilda in for a good tooth scrubbing on Friday. She loves to practice brushing on this dinosaur!
Porter, however, was a bit freaked out by it, especially when I talked for the puppet. After I stopped talking though he was friendly again with the dino.
I also had a hard time getting him to try on the dinosaur's cowboy hat. I think zebra pattern is not in Porter's style handbook.

Saturday, November 20

Blogging from my cellphone because AT&T came by today to "fix" our internet. Please standby until Monday.

Friday, November 19

Blog as Baby Book: Potty

3...2..1... and we have pee-pee in the potty! Exciting events around here tonight at bath time. Matilda was almost as excited as we were and let out a big "hip hip hooray!" immediately. Porter seemed perplexed by it. I know it is a long road till we are diaper-free, but an fun milestone regardless. Better than pee-pee on the carpet. It is especially funny because Porter started referring to himself as "baby" today.

Thursday, November 18

Lock Them in a Cage

This morning I was feeling really under the weather but I couldn't face staying home with my high-energy, not-sick kids climbing the walls. The couch was too tempting and after two seconds sitting down I would be half asleep as they wreaked some havoc. Instead I took them to the old zoo and let them risk bodily harm AND have fun doing it climbing the old cages (M) and rolling in the dirt (P).

These weren't literally former monkey bars, but bear cage bars. They'll still do the job though.
Porter laid in this ditch forever sorting his little dirt piles with some dried leaves perfect for scooping.

Wednesday, November 17

Bathroom Helper

Porter is now tall enough/mischievous enough to unlatch most public bathroom stalls. Needless to say, it can be a bit stressful for the potty user.

Tuesday, November 16

Slime Scientist

Matilda's school had a field trip to the science center today for a special class. It was worth the price of admission just to see them all sitting attentively in their lab coats.
They learned to waft! It was so awesome to see Porter also trying to waft, waiving his hand franticly over the little samples.
Matilda was very serious and quiet during the class without any of her usual energy and enthusiasm. Perhaps she was just being a true scientific observer. They made glow-in-the-dark slime by mixing polyvinyl alcohol and sodium benzate. (I think.)After they all trooped down to a storage room to see their glowing product in action, they came back to all sit down together. The teacher told them all to raise their hands to tkae the scientists oath. It goes like this: "I will not eat my slime. I will not feed my slime. I will not feed my slime to my baby brother. I will not feed my slime to my baby sister. I will not feed my slime to my cat." It was awesome to see Matilda's surprised reaction as the teacher mentioned not feeding slime "to my baby brother."At the end of the day Matilda declaired to me that she wants to be a scientist when she grows up but then corrected herself saying, "Wait, I was already a scientist today!"

Monday, November 15

We Need to Bake More Cookies, and other topics

Matilda's buddy was over today and we decided to throw together some brownies. Matilda could not be torn away from eating batter to look at the camera or answer me or do anything but obsess over eating batter. She was a girl possessed. I thought today about how she barely seems to enjoy baking because she's so worried about when can I taste it/how much can I eat/ give me that batter right now. I am going to try baking more as we head into the holiday season and see if she'll relax a bit with more liberal batter intake.

This is what it looks like when you wear underpants on your head to work.
Also, I found this discarded snack in the middle of the floor today. Not only was it discarded, but no one was eating pumpkin seed sandwiches, so clearly it was a thought-out sculpture-type offering. I don't think Porter can be blamed for this one.

Quote of the Moment

"People at work sometimes put underwear on their head, too." says Matilda's school bud as she put a second pair on.

Sunday, November 14

Tinsmith Needed

With the holidays looming around the corner, Matilda has kicked her wishlist talk into high gear. In stores she rattles off items she'll add to her list. At home she scavenges up catalogues, magazines or even old nutrition research journals to methodically circle desired items. Today's wishlist included a metal mechanical rainbow dragon in a cage. I think the inspiration was Grandma Kathy's awesome old singing bird, which is similar to this one. Santa may have a hard time filling that order!

Saturday, November 13

Wardrobe Remix

It is finally getting a bit cooler here in Southern California and causing a bit of dressing drama. Matilda strongly prefers wearing dresses and she has a TON of short sleeve dresses. She WILL NOT layer a long sleeve shirt under a dress. It is unthinkable. For now she is just suffering with cool arms because I can't see buying new long sleeve dresses when she has plenty of other clothes to choose from. Another problem is that many of her dresses have gotten indecently short. To resolve that issue she has taken to wearing a skirt under her dress. Quite the look.
Can you tell that blue is still Matilda's favorite color. Blue bike, blue vest, blue dress, blue helmet. She just recently got a new, bigger bike helmet and was given a huge selection of ones to choose from, including girlie pinky ones; yet still she opted for this black and blue jobbie.
I particularly love her new high top sparkly sneakers and knee high socks. I had vowed I wouldn't buy any kid clothes on our outlet shopping trip but the Sketchers store had a buy one get one deal. I needed to get Tim some shoes and couldn't resist letting M pick out some fun sneakers.

Friday, November 12

Dinner Manners

Tonight we confiscated Porter's dinner plate after he stopped eating and started throwing food. He found other ways to keep himself (and us) entertained.

Thursday, November 11

Car Full

I discovered today that we can cram a THIRD car seat into the back of our Matrix. We piled Sarah and Stella into the party car and all headed for the shopping outlets. Matilda and Porter were SO super excited to have Stella back there riding with them.

Once at the outlets, they found lots of other riding fun to break up the monotony of eating snacks while trapped in one dressing room after another.
Sarah and I discovered the secret to outlet shopping with kids is to tag team adults in the fitting rooms. With the kids corralled and ransacking the metric ton of snacks in our backpack, we each had a free moment to browse, go back for a different size, think straight, etc.

Wednesday, November 10


Which would you prefer, a hug from a taxidermy raccoon or a whiney toddler?

Tuesday, November 9


Tim has been a huge fan of the comic book series The Walking Dead right from the start. He was super duper thrilled when he found out AMC was making it into a tv show. Normally, I have a very strong no-zombie rule for all movies, videos, reading material, etc. Against my better judgment, I indulged Tim and watched the season premiere with him last Sunday. I did busy myself with a sewing project so I could look away as much as I wanted/needed to, but found myself watching more than I expected. I really liked the show and was pleasantly surprised to have a zombie-free night of sleep following that first episode, and the whole week since.

Last night, however, episode two caught up with me and I spent the whole night tossing and turning with thoughts of zombies. The many times that Porter woke me up, I would lay there thinking of the show. Then when I finally would get back to sleep, I had endless dreams of the undead. At one point in the night I was a zombie and accidentally turned Matilda and Porter into zombies by kissing them too much; apparently it is contagious via saliva. Tonight I am too tired for any tv time, but tomorrow I'll stick to some safe, fun Glee on Hulu. By next Sunday though, I'm pretty sure I'll be ready to watch a bit more zombie apocalypse.

Monday, November 8

Monday Fun Day

Today Porter said three words together: "more beans hide." Last week Cathy thought she heard three words together but today was the first time I really did. He was looking for more beans in his soup and found the last one. Yum. He is a chatty, chatty boy these days.

Otherwise fairly uneventful day, Matilda had her first gymnastics class of four this month. It gave her the courage to finally do this at the park:
She was so proud!

Sunday, November 7

Mini Muddy Buddy

From the moment that Matilda found out I registered her for the Mini Muddy Buddy race she was adamant that she did not want to get muddy. Once we were at the starting line with the other kids she got all caught up in the excitment. Matilda went through the obstacle course like a champ!
She even went over the wall totally on her own without the helpers there for the 4 year olds, who were the youngest ones allowed in the mud.
I was hoping that enthusiasm would carry her through, but just short of the mud pit entrance she remembered. We looked like this for a good way through the mud:
I put her down for the last bit and by then she was fine with it and ran with me over the finish line. She now claims the mud pit was really cool and seems to have fond memories of it all.
The kids all got these great little frog medals that say Kids Love Dirt. Later in the day she slapped my bike helmet race sticker on my butt and claimed it said "Grown ups love Mud!"
Showing off her mud.
Even more impressive than venturing into the mud pit, Matilda was willing to go into the cold, splashy hose down free-for-all area! Here she is soaking wet, pre-change into fresh clothes.Relatively de-mudded and in unintentionally matchy-match post-race outfits.Already in training for next year, this crew did lots of laps in the field.
I hope we have lots more fun runs in our future!

Good, Clean Fun

I convinced Sarah to be my partner and run in the Muddy Buddy race again this year, a bike-run relay complete with obstacles and a mud pit at the finish line. At the starting line we were both a bit nervous, what with our lack of cute costumes, not to mention proper training.
We both survived the 5.7 mile course. Here we are entering the pit - soupier than I remember and deeper.
All hopped up after our finish, before the aching set in!
Porter had some finger painting fun in the mud.
Thanks to my cheering section for an early morning and a good time.

Mud Status Report

Matilda did it, she went in the mud pit! Albeit reluctantly at first, but after the fact she now claims it is her favorite part. My toenails hurt so much that I think I'll need to go barefoot for days to recover. Cardinal rule of racing: trim your nails first. Photos to come tonight (of the mud action, NOT my toes).

Saturday, November 6

Our New Motto: Something Fun Everyday

Today actually held several fun things for us. Matilda & I made the most of our time with a painting session while the boys went to music class. Matilda whistles the entire time she's painting.
When we ran out of paper, Matilda turned to this warty pumpkin.
We had yummy noodles on Sawtelle for lunch; this is the huge bowl that Tim & Matilda shared. Towards the end of the meal, Tim was talking about how he really liked my ramen soup broth and said how he noticed you could add individual toppings to customize your order. He suggested to Matilda that maybe next time they could get my broth with some of her beloved seaweed added. She gave him her blank-does-not-compute stare for a beat and then responded, "I just liked mine, I just want the same again next time. "
Porter must have been hungry and quite pleased with his lunch too, because for once he ate politely in the restaurant with no neanderthal behavior antics (other than eating with his hands).
Then we all went off to pick up my race packet for tomorrow's something fun. Porter was a crazed fool in the Sports Authority; a boy who had clearly found his element. Tim & I together could barely keep up with him and I swore off ever returning to a sporting goods store with Porter.