Tuesday, December 31

Happy New Year!

Wishing you and yours a healthy, happy 2014.

Sunday, December 29

Sunday Portraits of a Reader

Enjoying my new Kindle tonight as we drive home, reading up on the history of the Queen Mary.
Reading the second Harry Potter book, poolside in San Diego this morning. She finished the first Harry Potter book last week and woke me up the next morning, asking permission to start reading the second. It is fun to rediscover the story with her and witness her enthusiasm.
Matilda is thoroughly enjoying all her winter break reading time. Tim and I have been joking that she may develop bedsores!

Tuesday, December 24

Awaiting Santa

We visited with Santa this year in a 1956 Bel Air Chevy convertible. 
It could only have been more classically LA if they were all outside cruising by some palm trees for the photo! Matilda asked for some crayon rocks and Porter asked for 50 chickens. Totally reasonable. I am excited to see if I wake up tomorrow the sound of my living room filled with poultry.

Ice Skaters

It seems like if we were able to harness the excitement, we could probably power a small country with the pre-Christmas enthusiasm around here. We burned some of it today by ice skating. 
We had not gone skating since last spring so it took some time to regain footing and courage to leave the wall.
Once they got confident, both kids did awesome and are skating really well.
Porter will tell you he skated as fast as a hockey player. He won't tell you the detail that I was pulling him! Super fun, either way.

Saturday, December 21

The Nutcracker

Matilda and I continued our tradition of attending a ballet performance of the Nutcracker each holiday season. One of her best friends joined us again this year. This particular friend is moving away next month so we are trying to cram in lots of fun adventures before she goes.
 The girls were thrilled to meet Clara in the lobby. Between the tiara, make-up, fancy pointe shoes and gorgeous costume, Matilda was just about paralyzed in her presence and could barely muster a hello.
After the performance they did A LOT of ballet-esque moves around the fountain courtyard and debated heavily their favorite characters and favorite costumes. 
Porter has never joined us yet, since the ballet is a bit long. To help avoid any hard feelings, Tim took him out to see Frozen while we were at the ballet - a perfect consolation prize.

Wednesday, December 18

Mid-Week Fun

It feels a bit crazy around here trying to get packages mailed and to do lists checked off, but in between all that the kids are still finding fun. Here is a sampling of today's adventure:

Porter came home from preschool as a pirate. Beware the hook!
We stopped by the class pajama party and Porter was thrilled to squeeze into Matilda's seat with her to watch an old Disney video. 
We did more awesome science kit experiments. Porter already opened this science kit from Stella and doing science projects is just about the only thing that can distract him from the still wrapped presents under the tree!
Matilda made her own volcano with an after school play pal. And then they drank all the vinegar left over from the reaction!
We also managed to squeeze in school for both kids, a trip to the mall, a trip to the post office, a library visit, two separate rounds through Costco (grrrrr), and dinner out at Souplantation. Hooray for no dishes. I think we are operating at peak efficiency right now.

Sunday, December 15

Creepy or Awesome?

This unicorn mask was the most spectacular present of the evening tonight at our annual holiday gift stealing party. It became quite the hot item and was stolen back and forth many times!
We started this present stealing game with our core group of friends when we had all first arrived in LA. Last night was the 15th year running! It is always a crazy fun time and so nice to share some good laughs together. 

Saturday, December 14

December Concert

Among the zillion other happenings this week, Matilda's school had their concert. I am such a sap for these kinds of things and love seeing all the different grades perform, from the little kindergarteners who are barely singing to the 5th graders with their customary super-choreographed spectacle! The 2nd grade number this year was all about water, complete with massive costuming of blue and white everything.
Here you can get a glimpse at the blue "sleeves" that one other mom and I created. They added a lot of sparkle and shine to the 202 arms onstage!
Our sweet girl can never stop waving at us during the show. Endearing, but certainly not part of the choreography!
Porter loves watching the show so much, but claimed next year when it is his turn he will not want to sing. I bet if they give my fancy-moves boy a dancing part, he would be more than willing to get down!

Monday, December 9

Dress-Up Fun

I never got around to posting these pictures we did in Tombstone. The kids had a really fun time getting into characters and picking out their costumes. Porter was "The Little Sheriff." He was so excited to have the guns to hold and told everyone about his six gun.
 A fun memory!

Sunday, December 8

Detective on the Case

Porter fell asleep this afternoon on our way home from an exhausting investigation into a case of missing birthday cake.
Matilda was howling when she saw him asleep with his fake mustache. After Porter woke up he very generously let Matilda play with the mustache, which promptly ended up on Marie-Grace, her American Girl doll. Hysteria ensued!

Friday, December 6

Tree Time

We continued our annual tradition going to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the Biltmore Hotel downtown this week. That place will always hold a very special place in my heart since Tim and I got engaged there, but their free, fancy tree lighting ceremony helps cement that status. (Even in fancy party dresses I can assure you a group hug needs to turn into a wrestling match on the floor.) 
The kids were especially wow-ed by the beauty there this year and did a pretty good job of showcasing their fancy-restaurant-manners.
You can pose for funny face photos and still have good manners, right?
 Beside the nice holiday kick-off, this event is also good for boatloads of free cookies.
 Inspired by all the tree festivities, we went out to secure our own tonight. Porter was dead-set on carrying it to the car himself, but reluctantly accepted a bit of help.

Thursday, December 5

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Seems like a good morning to stay in bed reading!

Tuesday, December 3

Biker Boy

Porter is fast enough on his new bike that he was the perfect running buddy for me on Monday! Here you can see a picture of our route:
I also have to admit I love this running app that I have been using. It totally makes me want to log more miles, just to increase my weekly summary emails! 

Monday, December 2

Number 7

Matilda pulled out a tooth tonight! Her top second tooth from the center, on both sides, have been loose for months now. I guess tonight she bit her burrito funny and it really knocked it looser. She totally rejected Tim's suggestion that she pull the tooth out, but then just moments later returned victorious from the bathroom with the bloodiest tooth gap, yet! Hooray for a bit more room to let the grown up teeth fall in straight. 

Saturday, November 30

Sabino Canyon

We recruited a whole bunch of the Tucson family to come out and burn some Thanksgiving calories off with a hike in my favorite local canyon. To spare the kids a bit, we rode the tram up to the top and then walked the 3+ miles back.
The canyon always delivers on good views.  
 The kids were also quite pleased with all the opportunities for mucking.
Happy, smiling cousins.
 We even managed to spot a road runner! Well, truthfully, Tim and Matilda thought they saw one and ran off to verify their hunch. Lucky for me, Tim always tries to document his wildlife viewing with a photo. It is almost as good as seeing one myself.
 Family hiking group: documented.
 Don't forget about all the good rock throwing and stick whacking opportunies.  A perfect day!

Friday, November 29

Old West Fun in Tombstone

Until today, we had never taken the kids down to soak up all the gun battle and saloon history in Tombstone.
The kids both list the gun fight as their favorite part of the day. One of the actors was the same as when Tim and I saw the show 16 years ago! 

Visiting the gallows. The song "The Long Black Veil" is a favorite of Matilda's, so she was interested to see some real gallows.
Soon after we took this picture at the Boot Hill Cemetery, the sun started a beautiful sunset. We watched it turn the sky many orange and pink shades, with mountains silhouetted in the distance. A perfect desert vista to wrap up the day.

Thursday, November 28

New Baby & Holiday Time

We went down to my Grandma Mary's house this morning to visit a bit and pick ripe tangelos from the tree. 
Our timing was perfect, because we arrived just in time for some of her famous cheese snack bread to come out of the oven. The kids were happy to sample a piece (or three) to make sure it was up to standards for the Thanksgiving meal. Even Matilda, the self professed cheese hater, could not resist it.
Once we moved the family party over to cousin Will's house for the formal eating portion of the day, it was all about holding the new baby. Our newest cousin, Charlotte, was passed around like a hot potato!

Matilda was content to stroke her soft hair and cuddle for a long time. She told me that she wants a baby sister, but I said she will have to make do with frequent visits to Adlai's soon to be born sibling. 
Tim facilitated a big game of Monopoly, which is no small feat with two four year olds. The kids had a good time buying up real estate and Matilda got to flex a lot of math muscle playing the banker.
I hope everyone had a nice relaxing holiday with not too much stress over gravy or dishes or Black Friday sales.

Happy Thanksgiving

Gussied up kids, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

 This boy sure does like to laugh.