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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

one / fifty two

Y'all know how sporadic my blog posts are. I'll have weeks (not many, but c'mon, there have been some!) where I'll post 2-3 times, weeks where all I can find is 10 minutes to post once and weeks and weeks that go by with nary a blog post at all.

So when I was catching up on a blog that I used to read (and reminded why I liked reading it so much when I found myself back at some of her posts from Thanksgiving!), I decided to be a copycat and feature a similar set of posts on a lady...

The idea is to feature a weekly series of an "in the life of" - a simple sentence about what the kids are currently into, maybe or maybe not accompanied by a photo, so we can look back and see how they've changed over the months, how long certain obsessions have lasted, how quickly they may change. It's basically like my -isms, but a quicker, less descriptive version (don't worry - I'll still do my -isms!).

I think of it kind of like a one line a week (you know those one line a day books? My sister Whitney got me one for Christmas last year and I'm obsessed - I love picking out the most important thing about my day and capturing it in writing. I love looking back on what I was doing a year ago and seeing how it compares to what I happen to be doing that day. But I digress...). Anywho, it'll be my one line a week about the boys, but for fun, I'll also throw Grant and me into the mix.

I can't promise I'll be great about committing to doing it every week, but I'll try my hardest.

So here's the first installment. Hope you enjoy!

Hayes, age 3 years, 11 months: ...likes to tell people he's "Fwee and fwee quarters" when they ask how old he is. Is insisting on having a Frozen themed ice cream cake for his 4th birthday party.

Greyson, age 14 months: ...is his brother's copycat. Give him a sippy cup with milk and he wants nothing to do with it. Give him (or better yet, let him take) his brother's milk-filled sippy and you can't pry it away from his hands.

Chanel: ...is finally finishing Greyson's baby book and feeling pretty nostalgic for those newborn days. I can't already have been bitten by the baby bug again, can I?

Grant: ...has been working hard on the deal terms for a potential new house we may be building. I hope to have some exciting news to share in the coming weeks ;-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On Sunday morning, I received some really upsetting news about the son of a colleague of mine who I've worked with over the past 7+ years. Her three year old boy had gotten really sick just prior to Christmas. He'd come down with a very high fever and when they brought him to the hospital, it turned out that he had a very serious case of pneumonia. Pneumonia quickly snowballed into a myriad of issues, including a collapsed lung, RSV and a staph infection called MRSA. His body was in toxic shock and the family was at his bedside, watching him fight for his life.
My colleague, Ali, sent daily updates to keep everyone informed of what was going on. These updates contained the facts and medical jargon and always ended on a positive note with the words, "He is a fighter and he will walk out of the hospital." Friends set up a support site where people could donate to help the family's changing needs - hospital parking, morning coffee, dinners... I had an open tab on my computer to remind me to choose a day to send a meal to the hospital when I got to work this week.
Sadly, little Ryder Brown didn't make it and he passed away on Sunday morning. I am completely heartbroken for this family and can't stop thinking about them. I had anxiously checked my email every morning for an update; some days were good - not much had happened so Ryder had a chance to rest and gain some strength. Some days weren't so good - they'd had a setback and had to adjust and modify their expectations and next steps. I never thought that Ryder not making it through was even an option - I mainly felt terrible that this little guy had such an uphill battle, that he would be weak and he'd need to overcome this terrible unfortunate sickness that had snowballed. I never thought that he wouldn't make it through.
His passing has affected me way more than I thought it would. Although I've worked with Ali for the better part of a decade, we live on opposite coasts and can go months without talking so I'm not particularly close with her. I've never met her family or her sons (she has another little guy, Griffin, who's about Greyson's age). But the thought of what she and her family must be going through is crushing me. My heart is so heavy and I just feel so sad for everyone.
Ryder's passing was a really tragic reminder of how fragile life is. Everything can change in a moment; what you take for granted on a daily basis can be taken away, just like that. There's no way to prepare yourself for something like this and you can't live life thinking about the what-if's all the time, but I'm trying to use his passing as a reminder to live my life better, to appreciate all of the moments big and small. To be more patient and slow down and really, truly be in the moment for you don't know if that moment will be there tomorrow.
I don't have the words to communicate to Ali and her family just how sorry I am that they lost their little boy - truthfully, I don't think those words exist. But I'm thinking about them everyday and hoping their positivity will help get them through the tough times they face ahead.

Hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

...And Babies Make 6!

I mentioned briefly in my last post that I was now the proud auntie to two little nieces, June and Dylan, who were born right before Christmas. The little ladies join big brothers Hank and Gus and have made for a very full household at my sister's place in DC.
June on the left, Dylan on the right...
They've got the help over there covered with around-the-clock nannies and night nurses - the only way to survive 4 under 4 with no close family nearby to lend a helping hand. But we still wanted to go out and visit everyone, understanding that with four kids, there is no such thing as too much help!

Although this went against one of my new years resolutions to include Grey Grey in family outings moving forward, we knew that bringing a 13 month old tornado along would render us completely useless (plus we booked this trip in 2014 so technically the resolution hadn't gone into effect yet!) so we decided to leave the little man back in LA with the grandparents and take Hayes along to visit his cousins.

We left on Thursday and spent 3 nights in DC. Hayes was a dream traveler, sitting in his seat the whole time and sleeping on a fold out cot in our room. He LOVED spending time with his cousins - he was enthralled with the babies, asking to hold them and taking the initiative to wash his hands before he touched them and we had some fun afternoons at various museums with his older cousin Hank while his younger cousin Gus napped.

Best buddies at The Air & Science Museum...
Competing in a pretend spelling bee at the Natural History Museum...
Just a tad colder at the park than it is in LA!
Storytime with Uncle Matt...

The babies seemed so tiny - at only about 6-7 lbs still, they weighed less than Greyson did when he was born and they're already 3 weeks! Or maybe you just forget how teeny newborns are... Either way, they were delicious and snuggly and I'm sad to think how much bigger they'll be the next tie I see them.

Hayes meeting June - he was so nervous to hold her at first, I don't think he breathed for a full minute until we assured him she wouldn't break!
It was a really nice weekend and I'm hoping we can be better about planning more get togethers for the littles moving forward.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A new year, a new you...

Although the end of the holidays often leave me with the Christmas blues - and especially this year, with so much excitement this month and seeing how much Hayzey has inherited my love of all things merry and bright - knowing that a new year is on the horizon and feeling like that change in calendar date holds so many possibilities gives me something to look forward to.

I'm a big resolution gal. Every year, I resolve to be a better person in one way or another and I have every intention of following through on the goals I set for myself after the holiday gluttony is over. Sometimes it works and the resolution is something that becomes incorporated into my daily life. Other times, the promises I make to myself fall by the wayside and flicker through my mind when I find myself doing the thing I wasn't supposed to do anymore (ahem, texting and driving ;-(! ).

Regardless, 2015 is a new year and I wanted to jot down some new goals I'm setting for myself (and my family) to try and keep me on track.

So here goes...

...stop texting and driving - for reals.
...drink more water. Santa brought me a lovely new Lifefactory glass water bottle in a bright and cheery aqua and my goal is to fill it up 5x a day - that's 100oz of water. Right now, I'm drinking maybe 40oz on a good day, so this'll be a challenge, but it's imperative I follow through. Water makes your skin supple, your body working and helps to ward off those pesky kidney stones - and lord knows I don't feel like rekindling that love affair next year! (side note, Hayes was about the same age as Greyson is now when I first started getting the kidney stones after he was born so I'm on high alert!)
...get back into a more consistent workout routine. I've cancelled my membership at the gym- I know, sounds counter-intuitive but here me out. I haven't been to that grimy hell hole called LA Fitness in probably 6 months now, so I might as well have been throwing the $30 monthly fee into the garbage. So by cancelling the membership, I won't constantly feel that guilt of never going - and instead, I can buy individual classes at Cardio Barre (which I LOVE), Soul Cycle (which I've been dying to try) and other places that might afford me a better workout than reading US Weekly on the eliptical for 30 mins. If I can do two workouts a week - whether it be a CB class and the Culver City stairs or a Soul Cycle class and a family run, it'll be twice what I'm doing now and I'll already be making good on my resolution.
...blog more.
...experiment more in the kitchen.
...stop leaving Greyson out of things under the assumption that "he won't know the difference". We find ourselves leaving him home to do fun things with Hayes more and more and it's a bad habit to get into. He's part of the family and he should come along for the fun, even if it's a little more hectic wrangling a 1 year old. I'm also going to get him into some of his own classes stat - Hayes had already done Toddle Tunes and Gymboree by this point and poor Grey has done nothing!
...my last one is my biggest one - and the one that I think will make the most difference in my life: Disconnect. With the modern convenience of smart phones and laptops, I find myself (and Grant) constantly with our phones in our hands, checking FB or instagram or emails instead of having face to face conversations. I'd like to implement a no phone zone for at least a chunk of the night - put the devices down away from the dinner table and spend some time together as a couple and as a family. Grant works hard and this means he's often on his laptop until late in the night, long after I go to bed. I get that we won't be able to completely eliminate this - business needs to be done and emails need to be answered, but as a family resolution, I'd like to at least make an effort for that to not be every night. It's a good example to start setting for the kids and I think it will increase our quality of life ;-)

I'm going to step back in time briefly to share some pics of the holidays and then sign off until the new year, when my resolutions will be in full force ;-)

The holidays were good to us and I've actually really been enjoying being home with the boys and having a low-key Christmas in LA. The city is empty and the weather is a bit cooler, so it's a nice change of pace. Here are some shots from the past couple of weeks. We've got a revolving door of visitors this week, with Aunt V and Thomas currently in town and GG and Pops stopping in tomorrow. Nini and Pa will be assuming babysitting duties while we party it up on NYE and then we have one more weekend left of holiday before it's back to work. 
Meet Juniper Claire and Dylan Rose, our new nieces, born December 18th. We are so excited to go meet them and visit with the whole Kelly clan at the beginning of January!
A visit to Santa Claus, wearing our festive attire, of course!
Christmas Eve at the beach...
Venice Sand Berms - such a unique thing to do in LA...
Christmas Eve, 2014.
Loving the new table and chairs from GG and Pops!
Dinner in Hayes' new robe...
Cozy mornings with these tootsies...
Hope you enjoy the rest of your holidays with your friends and family. Here's to a fabulous 2015!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Blur...

Wow, has it really been a whole month since I last posted?!? Yikes. Sorry about that - been in the midst of the holiday craze and haven't had time to check in with my dear readers. Here's an update of what we've been up to the last four weeks...

We made the trek up north to Angel's Camp for one of my favorite weeks of the year to celebrate turkey day with the Dake clan. It was a lovely few days filled with lots of food and family and the Thanksgiving break felt extra long (in a good way) as we came home on Friday so we had the whole weekend in LA to get back into the routine.

Hayes wearing G Pops' authentic ushanka hat and killing it...
Grey enjoying the park in Murphy...
What it's like to take a picture of Grey these days - he's a squirmy worm who purses his lips when he's angry...

Of course, he'll slow down to get a snuggle from his favorite 'DAH!'...
And Hayes is always trying to grab a drive-by hug...
Here's our family photo from Thanksgiving 2014. A corrupted memory card situation rendered our other photos useless, which was infuriating to say the least, but also a lesson learned to never turn off your camera when files are being transferred ;-(
We used this extra weekend to deck our halls and put up our Christmas tree (who Hayes named Poppy) - the earliest we've ever put up the tree but we were feeling festive and ready to embrace the holidays. Our elf, Lobster arrived the next morning, advent calendar in hand and has been surprising Hayes by showing up in a new place every morning. Turns out Hayes particularly likes Lobster to perch in his room, which has been working out to our advantage as we tell him Lobster will only come there if he sleeps in his bed all night. What am I going to do without our little magical friend after Christmas ends?!
We are on major baby alert around here waiting for the arrival of our two little nieces who should be joining the crew any day now. My parents, whom we usually spend the holidays with in Scottsdale, will be going out to DC next week to lend a helping hand, so we celebrated an early Christmas with them and the newlyweds last weekend. It was a full house, but fun to host our official first Christmas with the family and it's seemed awfully quiet since everyone left.

Christmas #1 with the Maillouxes...
Hayes helping Nana make tarte tatin...
Christmas dinner. Can't believe there are 8 family members missing from this photo!
Hanukkah kicked off last night so yours truly (the shiksa of the family) lit the menorah with Hayes after we returned from his pre-school holiday dinner and he's anxious to tear into his daily gift from grandma Nini for the next 7 days.

Everyone knows how spirited I am about this time of year and I couldn't be happier that Hayes has seemed to adopt my love of all things Christmas (even though I think Grant may be a bit overwhelmed by it all). It's so fun watching him race to find Lobster every morning and answer his questions about Santa Claus. I was a little afraid that with all of the pre-holiday hoopla, December 25th would come and go with little fanfare, but he doesn't seem to be slowing down and we're making sure Santa Claus brings the gifts that top his list.

And what's Greyson been up to, you ask? He is a boy on the move, into EVERYTHING and is mainly just trying to keep up with his big brother. Sadly, he's still at the age where Christmas doesn't mean a whole lot to him yet - too young for advent calendars and gingerbread houses and more interested in napping than opening presents. But he is delighting us everyday with his new talents - he now knows where most of his body parts are, blows kisses with reckless abandon and will even boogie down to a song here or there, which is the cutest thing ever, IMHO.

I have high hopes to update you all on the comings and goings of our family before the end of the year, but in all reality, I probably won't have much time to since starting Friday, I'm home with the kiddos for 17 DAYS. So if you don't hear from me again, I hope you have a fabulous holiday season, filled with good food, good company and everything your heart desires ;-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Greyson's 1st Birthday Party!

We hosted Greyson's 1st birthday party at the house on Sunday and although it was a lot of work for a little bit of party, I think everyone had a good time, including (most importantly), the birthday boy.

Already a ladies man with Avery and Emme...
Grey and his friend, Chloe...
Birthday boy gets the first swing at the pinata...
Gavin taking a go...
We decided to try and keep it casual by doing a tailgate theme - pigs in a blanket, wings, mini pulled pork sliders with slaw and shrimp with a vodka cocktail sauce, all accompanied by various chips and dips, football brownies and birthday cake. 

Unfortunately, hosting 30 adults and 15 kids (it's insane how the kids have multiplied over the past three years!) is never 'casual' - between the prep that went into it (costco and target runs! setting up! cooking the food! icing the cake!), the hosting during the party (refreshing food and bevs, wrangling the kids who without any sort of structured activity came close to killing each other once or twice) and cleaning up after the party, Grant and I were EXHAUSTED Sunday night, our bodies literally aching from being on our feet all day.

At one point, after Hayes had reached out and slapped his friend, Gavin across the face for no reason (to which Gavin responded with an amused smile) and I asked him why he did that, he replied, "We're play fighting." Duh, mom.

Anyways, I think we'll be moving the birthday parties elsewhere moving forward, but we were happy to celebrate Greyson's 1st at home and it was all worth it when we saw the enjoyment on his face after having a taste of the good life (and eating the whole damn thing!).
Really getting in there...
Check out those meat hooks...
Appropriately hectic family photo ;-)
Still stuffing his face!
Special thanks to Nini and Pa, who as per usual were our biggest helpers - we couldn't have done it without you.

Now that the birthday madness is over, we're looking forward to welcoming the holidays with open arms. Thanksgiving up at GG and Pops', early Christmas with my family at our house (minus the Kellys who are on double baby watch), Hanukkah with Grant's family and then actual Christmas at home this year. In Janurary, we'll be taking Hayes to meet his new cousins - our new nieces who are due to arrive sometime in December ;-)

Can't wait for lots of family time - it really is the most wonderful time of the year!