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Monday, August 3, 2015

Angel's Camp with the Greats...


Although Grey's face says otherwise, he really did enjoy the horse and buggy ride in Columbia, even though we did get held up by a robber looking for gold/candy!
We returned yesterday from an absolutely lovely weekend up in Angel's Camp with the Greats, GG and G Pops. The boys had SUCH a good time, especially Hayes, who's old enough now to really relish the quality time he's able to spend with his great grandparents.

Greyson FINALLY embraced the ipad so the drive there and back (6+ hours) wasn't too terrible. Sadly, I think we've created a bit of a monster for every time he was without the beloved device (Hayes and him took turns sharing it throughout the ride), he'd whine and cry, repeating "Mickey Mouse! Grey turn!" over and over again. Hayes was such a good sport about it, happily handing over the ipad in exchange for some time with mama's phone. We weren't winning any parenting awards, but when on a roadtrip, you're in survival mode and that's exactly what we were doing!

It was a little toasty up there, but nothing too terrible. We started every morning with breakfast al fresco overlooking the golf course and ended every day with a refreshing dip in the pool, where Hayes showed off his new swimming skills to GG and Pops and Greyson bounced around in the puddle jumper. Throw in some golf, a lunch in Murphys, a visit to my personal fave, Columbia and a dinner at Round Table Pizza, which the boys thoroughly enjoyed (like father, like sons), and we had ourselves a pretty perfect trip ;-)
The boys looking out for Pops and Daddy on the golfcourse...
We're so grateful that we're able to spend this time with Grant's grandparents, who are both in amazing shape in body and mind and as chaotic as it is to have our hurricane of a family whip through the sleepy town of Angel's Camp, I think they enjoy the commotion and likely wouldn't have it any other way.
At his request, GG read Hayes his bedtime story every night before he went to bed. When I commended him for sleeping through the night there, he told me that if GG lived with us in LA, he would sleep through the night every night. GG, the guest bedroom is calling your name!!
Already looking forward to our return over Thanksgiving! Here are some snaps of the weekend for your viewing pleasure:

Greyson drinking his morning cup of joe out of GG's dad's old coffee mug...
Al fresco brekkie...
Old-school bowling in Columbia...
This was the cutest... Greyson being serenaded to some "dancing music" by a musician in Columbia...
Big bro coming in to protect him... As soon as the guy started strolling towards them, Hayes quickly steered Greyson away. Stranger Danger!
Afternoon popsicles...
Greyson kissing the frog in Murphys outside of the toy store...
Running around in their underwear on the golf course, playing with Daddy's new toy from the toy store - does life get any better than this?!
Greyson and the "dumps" at Bravo Farms...
The famous Bravo Farms treehouse...
I spy with my little eye...


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Isms...


Hayesisms...
...he has been such a snuggle bunny as of late, asking to sit on my lap any chance he gets. Sometimes, when he crawls into bed with us in the morning, he'll slip his arm under my neck and put his face right up close to mine to give me a morning kiss {the morning breath, I could do without, but the snuggles, I'll take for as long as I can!}
...Grant recently bought him new sneakers (which look HUGE btw - when did my baby get size 11 feet?!) and Hayes thinks they make him very, very fast. He'll say excitedly, "watch how fast I can run!" and take off around the room, Greyson trailing behind. Our new neighbors, especially the ones below us, must loathe our existence...
...he loves to tell people how old he is and takes great pride in what he's capable of doing due to his mature age. He'll frequently tell strangers who are impressed with his abilities, "I can do that because I'm FOUR!"
...full meltdown the other morning b/c we wouldn't take him to Coffee Bean for breakfast. Like one of three tantrums he's ever had in his life. Turns out chocolate croissants are his version of crack cocaine.
...he's very concerned with conserving energy and saving the earth. His school is very green-focused and he's starting to associate the recycling logo with his pre-school. The other night, he says to me: 
"Your light was on in the closet and so I turned it off because you weren't saving the earth. Recycling is saving the earth. Reuse is saving the earth, And reduce!"
...he's a very enthusiastic swimmer these days, jumping right in and getting down to business as soon as his swim lessons start. I was too lazy to give him a tub the other night when we got home from dinner after swim and had to reassure him multiple times that it was okay to skip a tub just this once and that I promised his hair wouldn't turn green from the chlorine.
...everyone's a poo-face. When he says goodbye to me at school (where he's been going to camp this summer), he'll yell out the door, "BYE POO-FACE!" Just lovely.

Greyisms...
...if you ask him how old he is, he'll enthusiastically respond, "Almost TWO!". That one never did want to be a baby for very long!
...he's super into hugs these days and uses them as his stall tactic when going down for naps and bedtime. There are at least 4 hugs involved and he grips onto your face as you lower him into his crib so he can give you a two handed kiss.
...when he wakes up in the morning, he'll yell "Awake! All done!". When you go to put him down for bed, he'll also declare, "Awake!" in protest.
...he loves to do cannonballs into the pool - the kid has zero fear and can swim on his own wearing his puddle jumpers. The other day, I heard him yell "cannonball!" from the top of our stairs and ran as fast as my two legs would carry me to make sure he wasn't about to do anything stupid!
...he repeats everything. Having Greyson around is like having a scribe who takes notes trailing your every move. He repeats the most important parts of every sentence, reminding you of the key words to retain.
...he loves to wear rainboots.
 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

twenty four / fifty two



Hayes, age 4: ...his beloved bestie, Theo is moving to the South Bay and so he won't be in his class anymore next year. Hayes seems to understand this and isn't as sad as I thought he would be, rather quite practical about the whole thing, reminding me constantly that you have some friends who go to your school and some friends who don't. He's been going to summer camp at school the past couple of weeks and seems to have hit it off with a little guy named Marlowe, who he already plays soccer with and will be in his class next year. Last night when he was in the tub, he asked me whether Marlowe had two moms or a mom and a dad and even though Marlowe has the more traditional family structure of a mom and a dad, it made me so happy to be able to explain to Hayes that in his lifetime, it's okay to love who you love and that there are lots of different types of families. #lovewins

Greyson, age 20 months: ...him and Hayes have such a good dynamic going on right now and Greyson wants to do EVERYTHING his big brother does. This includes running up and down the stairs in our new apartment, a skill he hasn't exactly perfected quite yet. We've had two big tumbles down the stairs, this morning's included literal somersaults flying through the air and although he's a little shaken and some tears were shed, he mostly just got up and shook it off. 
Little bruiser, that one is!

We've had a big week dealing with the move and the boys have acclimated like champs, much better than their mom and dad, I'm ashamed to admit. Even though we put half of our stuff in storage, there's still just so.much.stuff and finding a place for it all in an apartment that has the most retarded closet configurations ever has been a challenge. We're finally starting to feel a little more settled as we unpack the last few boxes but we're definitely looking forward to when the new house is built and I think we'll appreciate it even more after this adventure. 

Leaving the Kibbutz wasn't as sad as I thought it would be, mainly because by the time we got the last box out of there, it didn't feel like it was ours anymore anyways. It hadn't felt like it was ours anymore for quite some time, actually, which made the physical moving out part a lot easier. 
I still snapped a pic of the little lady on the last morning we lived there - even looking at this makes me feel like I'm looking at someone else's house (especially since those are both borrowed cars that are in the driveway).


As you can see from the below, Greta Faye really put everything into packing her belongings into boxes. What a life she lives!

And I'm happy to report that after 48 hours of hiding and constant pacing from room to room at the new place, she's finally feeling a bit more settled at the Palazzo ;-)


Friday, July 17, 2015

twenty three / fifty two


Vultures eating ice beam at a friend's birthday at the park earlier this week - and this was after two giant pieces of cake!
Hayes, 4 years... He's pretty excited about "moving to Uncle Pat's" and has actually been quite a good little helper as we've been trying to pack these past couple of weeks. He packed up all of the spices, arranging them just so and also knocked the pantry off of my to-do list! He's also taken to carrying all of his beloved Paw Patrol toys around in a giant moving box, which comes with him when he eats, watches TV, sleeps, you name it. I think he's afraid to let it out of his sight in case we decide to throw them in the storage pile!

This is how Greyson "helps" around the house...
Greyson, 20 months: ...When I was putting him to bed the other night, he was a little distressed after I left the room, which is super rare for Grey, who seemingly can't wait to climb into bed and nod off into slumberland. I went back in to settle him down and he reached up with both arms and cried out, "hug?", then promptly gave me a squeeze and a very assertive two handed kiss. My heart swelled, I tell you - I'll take an extra hug from you any day, Grey!

Esther: ...we've had major progress over the last week or so and the house is completely framed, which is super exciting to see all of the rooms laid out the way they're going to be. We visit every week, usually on Friday afternoons and bring the boys, letting ourselves in so we can look around while the boys excitedly run from room to room. 

Standing in the back corner of the family room, overlooking the kitchen and living room...
View of the dining room and master suite from the family room...
Nice big space where French doors will go in the master...
View of the hallway down to the front door from the dining room...
Guest bedroom and boys' suite...
View of the garage and living area from the front door...
Standing just inside the front door... there goes another plane!
The house from the front...
The only tree we'll be able to keep. Isn't she gorge?
I think we'll get to start picking out the finishes in the next couple of weeks and that's when the real fun will begin ;-)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Goodbye Kibbutz...

 The time has finally come and after what seems like years of talking about it, on Monday, we'll be closing the chapter on the Cohen Kibbutz and starting a new adventure.
 
 
While we're excited for what lies ahead, I can't help but feel like this moment is a bit bittersweet. We always said when we moved into this house that we would likely live here for about five years and then need something bigger, so we're right on target with that, but looking back, I'm wondering where did the time go? How has it been 4 1/2 years since we signed the papers on our new home, 9 months pregnant with Hayes? How have we brought home not one, but two babies to our first house? How is it already time to move on to the next one?
Living in a house, you really get to know it well. Over the years, we've learned all of the intricacies of the place.

For instance, when it's hot outside, the plug in the master bath doesn't work and sometimes it takes days before you're able to reset the circuit breaker. No rhyme or reason, only when it's hot, so it basically means I have to blow dry my hair in the guest bedroom during the summer and our electric toothbrushes are rarely charged.
{side note, when the buyer first looked at the house, he asked whether our house had enough electricity, to which we said yes, of course - how the hell did he know?!?!}
The french doors off the master shift with the change in climate so when it's hot out, it's harder to turn the lock in the door. We've had this fixed a zillion times and it always slowly but surely, shifts ever so slightly and we're faced with the same dilemma again.
There's a hot spot in front of the fridge where Greta likes to sit to keep warm. It's right in the middle of the kitchen and she couldn't be more in the way but it radiates a little bit of heat that keeps all 6 pounds of her nice and toasty.
The smoke alarm is a seriously sensitive creature, which is a good thing when you want to  know whether your four year old is playing with matches, but a bad thing when you forget to put the fan on over the stove and light up a wok full of stir fry moments after the kids go to bed. {btw, why do kids never wake up when the smoke alarm is going off but REM is interrupted the moment your husband has an aggressive sneeze right before you're about to fall asleep yourself?!). You can't even light a candle anywhere near the damn things.
The guest bedroom is FREEZING at night as the air blows through that room as if it's trying to cool a meat locker. I apologize to any guests who've had to shiver their way to sleep when spending the night.

For all of the annoying intricacies we've learned how to deal with, there are also some amazing things about this house that I'll come to miss.
The way the morning sunshine comes in through the front window. I've spent many early mornings with my baby boys in the quietness of that room and that time with them is something I'll always treasure.
Having two dishwashers - I'll never go back to one.
The backyard is perfect, with our "stage" {deck} and side yard where the boys have spent hours racing one another on their bikes. I think we'll seriously miss having a paved portion of the backyard, although I'm hoping our new pool will make up for it.
Our neighbors. We've been really lucky that we've had such nice, welcoming neighbors, even though we obviously stick out like sore thumbs in the neighborhood (one of these things is not like the other...).
Our proximity to Starbucks and other strange, but delicious kosher restaurants. For our last week in the house, in lieu of cooking, we've done a last hurrah tour of our favorite local spots and although I'm sure I've gained 5 lbs, I'm reminded every night how lucky we've been to be surrounded by such yummy food. Perks of big city living, I suppose!
1431 Livonia has been good to us. It will likely be the most important home we've ever owned, not only because it was our first, but because of all of the important milestones that have occurred within these walls. We brought our babies home from the hospital here. They took their first steps, got their first bee stings and bloody noses. We hosted too many parties to count, filled with good food and good friends, watching the number of kids multiply and the games they played change as the family dynamics shifted. We celebrated our first Christmas as a family at home here and basically every birthday the boys have had so far.
Like I said, closing the door on this chapter of our lives is a bittersweet moment but we're excited for what lies ahead and the new memories we'll make. 
And I firmly believe that home is where the heart is ;-)
So goodbye Kibbutz. You live in a strange little neighborhood that we're likely going to look back and wonder what we were ever thinking when we bought you, but you will always have a special place in our hearts.

May your four walls bring the next family who lives here as much joy as it's brought us. 
You're gonna be a tough act to follow.

Friday, July 10, 2015

twenty two / fifty two

Hayes, age 4: ...I took this guy on a date this past Monday to ride the trains at Griffith Park and take a spin (or two...or three...) on the carousel, which he LOVED. It was such a fun day and I'm so grateful that thanks to Super Grandma Nini we're able to have this one-on-one time together.

Greyson, age 19 months: ...while Daddy has always been the apple of Grey's eye ('dada' was his first word, after all), lately he's been a little attached to me, which I secretly love, especially when he insists that I come in to give him his final hug goodnight before he goes into his crib after Grant reads him books. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I mean... really??

To say that we have a lot on our plates lately is the understatement of the century.

With an impending move, issues with the apartment complex that we're moving into not having their sh*t together and changing our lease-start date THREE TIMES!!!, Grant looking for a new job, maintaining my job, building a new house, nanny moving thus being worried that she's going to abandon us... well, you can see how it hasn't exactly been the lazy, hazy days of summer this year. And Summer means no school, which means Hayes has been on a break from any structured activities for the last three weeks (he starts camp next week, thank god) and while I do thoroughly enjoy having the little guy around, I can literally see him losing his mind as he runs around the kitchen in the morning like a wild man in nothing but his underoos, pretending to sting all of the members of the family as if he's a little bee.

Oh and the word 'bored' has been added to his vocabulary, which has been lovely (especially when you're on a private beach in Laguna on the fourth of July watching him play with his bestie and he claims he's the b word - wait, what?!).

Anyways, this week has been especially stressful with the whole moving thing and due to the aforementioned unorganized apartment complex inconveniencing us and our new buyers because of a stubborn tenant who won't leave the unit we were supposed to be occupying in 4 days time, we've had to re-arrange the move too many times to count.

I think we're finally on for Monday, July 20th, which gives us a little under 10 days to get our acts together and pack up 4.5 years of accumulated stuff to squeeze into our temporary townhome. 
Can you tell how excited I am?

What was most enlightening about this whole experience is how straight up wacko religion is. Lemme explain.

I am all for people having their own beliefs about religion, even though I consider myself to be part of the agnostic camp of life. I'd like to think there's something more after our time on earth and there's comfort in thinking that there's a higher power out there that's looking over us and out for us (although I don't think it's an invisible man in the sky, per se). 

We currently live in a very Jewish neighborhood and I am more educated than I ever imagined I would be on the various traditions and customs of Judaism. We've had to turn on neighbor's lights on Friday nights when they go dark for shabbas because their timers haven't worked. We've had one single arranged trick-or-treater in our 4 years of living here whom we gave kosher Dove Promises chocolates to. We know when we can't frequent the kosher restaurants because they're closed for a multiple day fast and we have even talked about a new business venture making stylish sukkahs for Sukkot b/c we can't for the life of us understand why their outdoor dining during this holiday needs to be under a bright white plain as can be tent.

But when we were told that we couldn't close on the house on the date we wanted to, which basically means we have to pay an extra 5 days of our mortgage while also forking over the cash for an overpriced lease because the buyers would be observing The Nine Days, we were floored.

Do yourself a favor and click on the link above, for you will be fascinated that in the year 2015, people still adhere to this absolute nonsense. 

I mean!

Basically, this "holiday" is a period of mourning, where the Jewish can't partake in anything that brings them joy. Buying a new home = joy, so you guessed it, they aren't allowed to do it.

They also aren't allowed to:

- bathe for pleasure. I read somewhere that they have to take cold baths, and if they need to add some hot water in order to get the dirt off, they can, but not enough to make it a pleasant temperature.
- cut their fingernails
- wear laundered clothing. If they want to wear clothing that's been recently laundered, they have to wear it for a few hours before the nine day period so it isn't considered freshly laundered.
- eat meat or drink wine, but in some households, children 6-8 years old are allowed to drink wine (what?!)
- buy new clothing, UNLESS they would be missing a big sale
- shine their shoes, but they can polish them with wax

I. Just. Can't.

We're tired of the back and forth so we're sucking it up and absorbing the costs, but I guess our last nine days of living in the Kibbutz, we're going to be surrounded by sad, starving, smelly jews with long fingernails. But at least they can hit up the half yearly sale at Nordies!

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.