Thursday, March 31

5th Birthday Party Pics

OK, so my mild cold snowballed into something more and I've been dragging pretty good this week. Tim forced me off to see the doctor yesterday and I was rewarded with 4 prescriptions and a B12 shot. In the meantime, Tim did some quick work to get all the photos from Matilda's birthday party pulled together and they are up on flickr here.
Dragon Princess Party 3-26-11
For cake-only pics, check here. And for those of you intrigued, here is a link to the instructions, cake #18.

Now back to my couch for a day or two.

Sunday, March 27


The birthday girl finally went to bed long after normal bedtime and will sleep hard after an action packed weekend. I think she'll be happy for a quiet day at home tomorrow to enjoy some new goodies. Already in her new dollhouse she set up a dinosaur exhibit, a secret headquarters for Catwoman, and a grocery store.
We also went for a walk in the park with her new headlamp and magnifying glass that came in an awesome wilderness explorer kit. I think she would have been willing to sleep with the headlamp on, it was such a hit. I am too tired to properly put on record my feelings for this amazing girl tonight, but she makes me so proud and continues to astound me more each year.

Saturday, March 26

Dragon Princess Party

We took so many pictures today that I want to share, but here are a few highlights from the big birthday party:

Matilda climbing and having a blast with school friends. Matt with The Reptile Family brought out an enormous assortment of snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, and insects. He did an amazing job wrangling all animals and kids to provide everyone a good time. Matilda had already been told that as the birthday girl she would get to be his assistant up front and hold each animal first. Here she looks quite concerned about that job as she realizes the first featured guest is a handful of scorpions.
Of course only Matt got to hold the scorpions and Matilda warmed right up to the Madagascar hissing cockroaches next, giggling as they tickled her hands. Next, our fire princess gets turned into a frog princess. I love that you can see one of the three making his escape. She didn't even mind when Matt had to untangle the frog out of her hair.
Matilda took her role as an assistant very seriously and was so gentle and careful with the animals. Here she mimics Matt, bringing the leopard gecko around for the audience to pet.
Matilda instructs Porter how to get a lizard kiss.
This kind of sums up the total madness of a huge birthday party combining 5 year olds and reptiles; some kid gave their superhero cape to this huge tortoise to wear. It was quite a sight as the critter just kept right on marching!
To give you some sense of scale, here are Porter and Adlai with the tortoise.
Matilda in her element with a Medusa-like snake necklace. Tonight she said, "When I grow up, I want to be a reptile trainer like Matt."
M with her gang. I like how you can see them all enjoying it, differently.
I cannot stop laughing about this photo. We got so many great shots today, but this is likely my favorite. Matilda's in bliss, while Porter's questioning the whole affair. (Generally he really loved it, but I think at this moment the snake seemed surprisingly heavy.)
Turns out it is not such an easy thing to take a family portrait with a couple of snakes. Who knew?
OK, so the wings were not quite structurally sound, but they lasted long enough for show and overall I would call the cake a success - such a fun challenge for me to make. I do think we let the kids "circle the cake" too long. It took quite a while to drag Matilda away from the snakes and her peers were long ready then. By the time she blew out the candles I could barely handle the cacophony of : "I want a wing! I want a head piece! I want some scales! I want a gold coin!" It was a bit daunting but I think the dragon's chocolate coin treasure staved them off a bit and bought me some time to dole out the actual slices.

Sloppy, but Cute

In case the cake gets dropped somewhere between here and the park, here is a sneak peak at Matilda's friendly dragon:If I can pull off the wings, maybe nobody will notice the melty-frosting. I can never remember which kind of frosting will set up and look decent and always end up with a drippy butter-frosting mess.

Friday, March 25

I'll Take It!

Detailed Local Forecast

  • Today: Cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy this afternoon. High 61F. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph.
  • Tonight: Partly cloudy. Low 48F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.
  • Tomorrow: Partly cloudy. High near 60F. Winds SSW at 10 to 15 mph.
Now I need to stop focusing all my energy on weather-related stressing and start some actual party-prep.

Thursday, March 24

40% Chance of Rain

Argh. Why did we plan an outdoor birthday party? If you need me I will be at

The Elusive Squalb

The Elusive Squalb 3-17-11

Wednesday, March 23

Brainstorming Names

G-pop and Grandma Kathy are getting their new labradoodle puppy on Saturday and asked for Matilda's input for names. Here's her extensive list, generated during dinner tonight:

1. Moolini - her top suggestion and only original name. She specified that you spell it with two o's for the oo sound. Genius.
2. Wendy - as in Neverland
3. Gwen, Fifi, Lily, and Gigi - all school friends
4. Olivia and Francine - characters from the Olivia series
5. Eloise - character from our current chapter book
6. Billina - the chicken from the Ozma of Oz story
7. Olive - this is mostly my suggestion!
8. Foofa, Tootie - Yo Yo Gabba gals
9. Daisy - our sweet doggie pal
10. Tina - a new elephant at our zoo
11. Dandylion
12. Wormie
13. Rosemary
14. Thyme

Saturday, March 19

The Roaring 20s

Look who had fun at the preschool fund raiser tonight!
First these gals had some awesome white costumes and were going around "hawking" candy cigarettes and gum. Very fun.
Then they did some pretty outrageous dance moves to the song "Big Spender" before the live auction portion of the night.
I like the built-in audience-censor for this picture.
We got a few good deals from the night and thankfully Tim talked me down from bidding on the 5 bedroom cabin at Yosemite. The most amazing portion of the evening was when we arrived home to find all our children sleeping. I think we need that sitter to come every night!

Friday, March 18

Belated St. Patty's Day Wishes

We had our corned beef and Guinness today, because yesterday I was occupied with volunteer-duties setting up for the big school fundraiser this weekend. Yesterday morning Matilda came busting out of her bedroom when she woke up and started wandering around the living room, as if she were looking for something. I was perplexed for a moment but then it all made sense to me when instead of a proper greeting she said to me, "But I thought you got treats for St. Patrick's Day?" I am not sure what she envisioned, but she seems to have learned that holidays usually are accompanied with some sort of treat. To keep that tradition alive, I took her to a neighborhood bakery to choose something; she picked this awesome pot of gold cookie, complete with edible gold glitter.
I had expected Porter to fall asleep on the walk there, but since he is on a sleep strike these days I got a chocolate chip cookie for us to share. He was yelling over and over "piece that, piece that, piece that" until I managed to pass him a chunk. (He was so relaxed and contented with his cookie that he then proceeded to fall quickly asleep with most of the un-eaten bit melting in his little fist.) Matilda looking a bit melancholy with her cookie. I think she knows mine was yummier.
It was actually the best chocolate chip cookie I have eaten in a long time. Since I knew she would enjoy it so much, I eventually I traded her my last half for her last half of cookie. She then declared, "This is the BEST St Patrick's Day EVER!" I asked her what made it so good and she said her(my) cookie.

She was also quite pleased to find the holiday-themed treats she expected in her cubby at school today, a chocolate gold coin that a buddy had left her yesterday afternoon!

Wednesday, March 16

The Squalb and his Easter Bunny friend

Today while shopping Matilda suddenly asked me, "Is the Easter Bunny real?" I was a bit unprepared for this particular question and so I just kind of said, "I'm not sure. Who could we ask that might know?" She immediately suggested Bunny Rabbit at school might know. Then after a moment she said, "I will ask the Squalb. HE will know. The Squalb is nocturnal so he stays up at night and can tell the Easter Bunny what you want. Like he'll tell the Easter Bunny that I want blue Peeps!"

The best part about this rationale is that the Squalb is yet another fictional character living in her imagination, which I suppose makes sense then they would know each other. The Squalb is a Medeski, Martin & Wood song that Matilda has been obsessed with lately. Every car ride has us listening to the Squalb song/story at least twice.

Below is a video someone made with their kids that features the Squalb story so you can enjoy it too. I haven't shown it to Matilda yet just because I want to get her to draw me what she thinks a squalb looks like before she sees anyone else's drawing.

Tuesday, March 15

School is So Sad

Porter's discontent with school drop off (i.e. that he can't stay) is reaching fever pitch these days. I think the fact that he & I have been there a bunch (my recent substitute day and some other volunteering to plant a garden with the kids) is only exacerbating the problem. The past two days as we have left Matilda he's been inconsolable. Thankfully tomorrow we can stay again as we will work with the kids to plant sunflowers, corn, tomatoes, peas, lettuce and cucumbers. Hopefully Bunny Rabbit is going to be pleased with the selection!

The bathroom at school just got remodeled this summer with a cute forest theme and looks really awesome. Porter loves the kid-size sink and wastes lots of precious So Cal water anytime he gets the chance.
In the backyard he particularly enjoys the big diggers in the sand box. He was also really happy when he finally got his turn in the riding car. So happy, that he didn't mind when another boy was pouring pitchers of sandy water into his lap.
He looks so big to me here with his little shorts and haircut, it will be no time before his first day at preschool. Boo hoo.

Saturday, March 12

Thanks, I Guess?

As if to celebrate Registered Dietitian's Day this week, a patient at work today told me how good I looked as he looked me up and down. This was immediately after he was talking about a "200 lb" dietitian he once met with. He went on to say how he thinks she should follow her own advice, and that since I looked so good he would be much more likely to follow my advice. A backhanded compliment I guess, and an awesomely inappropriate moment to provide comedic relief in my busy day.

National Nutrition Month: Eat Right With Color

Summer in February 05

Brighten up your plate with this quick color guide:

Green produce indicates antioxidant potential and may help promote healthy vision and reduce cancer risks. Fruits include avocados, apples, grapes, honeydew, kiwis and limes. Vegetables include artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, green peppers and leafy greens such as spinach.

Orange and deep yellow fruits and vegetables have nutrients that promote healthy vision and immunity and reduce cancer risks. Fruits include apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruit, mangoes, papaya, peaches and pineapples. Vegetables include carrots, yellow pepper, yellow corn and sweet potatoes.

Hollywood Farmers Market 02
Purple and blue options may have antioxidant and anti-aging benefits and may help with memory,urinary tract health and reduced cancer risks. Fruits include blackberries, blueberries, plums and raisins. Vegetables include eggplant, purple cabbage and purple-fleshed potatoes.

Summer in February 02
Red produce may help maintain a healthy heart, vision and immunity and may reduce cancer risks. Fruits include cherries, cranberries, pomegranate, red/pink grapefruit, red grapes and watermelon. Vegetables include beets, red onions, red peppers, red potatoes, rhubarb and tomatoes.
White, tan and brown foods sometimes contain nutrients that may promote heart health and reduce cancer risks. Fruits include bananas, brown pears, dates and white peaches. Vegetables include cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, turnips, white-fleshed potatoes and white corn.

Don’t forget to include a variety of colorful whole grains, lean meats and fish and low-fat and fat-free dairy with your meals. A variety of food supplies different nutrients to maximize the nutritional value of your meal.

Tomato Paradise 03 9-07-08
This handout was adapted from an American Dietetic Association Press Release. 2010. All photos by Tim at our beloved farmers market.

Thursday, March 10


OK, so my morning at school was tons of fun until I got to clean up some vomit. I think I will spend my next 48 hours waiting for the other shoe to drop around here. Hopefully, especially for Tim's sake, we can skip this particular bug since I have to work all weekend!

Student Teacher

So this morning the phone rang at 7 a.m., which is rarely a good thing. It was a parent from school seeking a volunteer to fill in for one of the teachers who's calling out sick. After a bit of fuzzy thinking I realized I can just re-schedule Porter's music class and take him along for the morning. Matilda was thrilled with the news and immediately told me how I will get to learn from them because I will be the student teacher! I think I can already say from my exhaustion level after the Fire Station Field Trip yesterday that I do not have enough energy to be a preschool teacher full time. I am looking forward to the morning, this is my first time doing it as Tim has always been the sub from our household previously. It is also safe to say that Porter is going to enjoy it as well!

Wednesday, March 9

2nd Annual Fire Station Field Trip

The school field trip this year was as awesome as we remembered from last time. As the firefighter was explaining about this oxygen tank, one of the kids interrupted him to ask, "But where are the jet packs?" I love his cut-to-the-chase attitude. We never did get an answer about the top-secret LAFD jet packs; I bet they're so awesome.
Porter was really engaged and attentive watching the fire fighters.
Sweet, sweet fire truck.
Matilda was so excited and happy to get her turn spraying the big fire hose. Even Porter got a turn! You can kind of see Matilda rushing in to hug Porter here. She was so sweet running up to tell him what a good job he did and how proud she was when he finished up, complete with a kiss on the head.

This is another unexplained oddity at the fire house:

Have You Hugged Your RD Today?

A holiday just for me! It's Registered Dietitian Day. To celebrate I will be listening to a webinar on Short Bowel Syndrome at 9 a.m. in an effort to get caught up on continuing education (Shhh, be quiet kids). That way I can keep my license and celebrate again next year for the 5th-annual-made-up-holiday.

Tuesday, March 8

Let's Get this Party Started!

After much hemming and hawing, Tim & I finally settled on one idea for Matilda's (rapidly approaching) 5th birthday party: Princess Dragon party! Matilda wants a princess party (one of her many suggestions), so we are putting out an open call for attendees to wear their finest satin/taffeta/velour/nylon dress up. (Or a dragon costume, or jeans and a tee, or whatever.) Matilda loves animals, so we decided to go big and hire the reptile folks we've seen at the library a few times. We'll fudge a bit and let the reptiles play the role of dragons, with proper dragons in cupcake form somehow. Matilda has been rotating through a zillion birthday ideas and we've just let her as we tried to decide what would be fun for her to celebrate this big milestone. Tonight over dinner, Tim explained to her our party idea Matilda's eyes got so big and she shouted, "I want to do THAT PARTY!" She followed with more exclamations and bouncing claps in her chair. It was awesome to see her response!

Sunday, March 6

Palm Spring Aerial Tram: Snow Edition

The first time we rode up the tram in Palm Springs was almost three years ago now, and there was just a bit of snow left up at 8000+ ft in mid-May. This time we were quite pleased to find 3 feet of snow, perfect for packing into snowballs or sliding down.
We joined Aunt Lori with some of her extended family for their first trip up and I think everyone really enjoyed the adventure.
There was lots of snowball throwing and snow eating. Also Matilda found this little tiny snow man (and a lot of bigger versions) and it took all her willpower to not eat his black olive eyes.
As soon as we got off the little trail and found people sledding, Porter started yelling and freaking out to "ride boat, ride boat!" Sled, boat - it's all the same to him I guess. Luckily for us, there were a bunch of broken, discarded sleds up for grabs. We found half a sled big enough for the two kids to fit on.
After one big, fast run down Porter was done with sledding but Matilda found a nice small hill that was just her speed for many more runs. For most of the actual snow-play time Porter was a little miserable, actually.
He may have been a bit cold, or maybe he just wanted to get back inside and ride that awesome tram more.
We spent a lot of time watching the tram come and go and Porter could not get enough. Here's a shot of the tram headed down the cables toward the valley floor.
The crazy part is that this was only the second half of our super fun day. The morning involved a trip to the Living Desert zoo out there with awesome road runner encounters and an enormous model train. Almost too much fun for one day, as we were all totally pooped today!

Saturday, March 5

Snowball Fight!

Look what we did today!
We found snow in the desert! And road runners and trains and family and sleds and so, so much fun. (More pictures tomorrow.)

Thursday, March 3

Something Fun Everyday: Scooter Fountain

The regular school-friend meet up at this fountain has died down, but the kids still call it the "Scooter Fountain" anytime we drive by. Today Porter decided to skip nap so we headed out to find some fun. The wind was blowing a bit so there was a spray on one side that the kids really enjoyed playing in.Taking some worms for a ride.
My big, cute boy. Stop getting so big, so fast kid.
Turns out there is a current in the fountain from the pump filter system so pine cones thrown into the water will come back to the edge, eventually. "Mama get it" Porter says.
Snack n' scoot; it makes a good seat, too.