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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Bucket List Update...

Knocked a few more things off the 'ole Summer Bucket List this past weekend; some small items, like Family Movie Night (we watched the Lego Batman movie for the umpteenth time) and have a picnic (our backyard was being re-landscaped so we needed to escape the house) and a bigger item as well, the Griffith Observatory (which I never need to go back to!).

In all honesty, it was kind of an annoying weekend, where Grant and I looked at each other multiple times and asked, "why do we do this to ourselves?". The original plan was to go up to Angels Camp to see the Greats but they're going through a serious heatwave right now so they suggested finding another weekend in the summer to come up, when the kids could partake in more outdoor activities that wouldn't require enduring 100+ temperatures.
looking through the telescope backwards...
Since we had the days pretty much cleared work-wise, we decided to try to do a big bucket list item, hence the decision to go to the Observatory. We've lived in LA for 14 years and have never gone, which seemed insane. So we loaded the car up with the kids, picked up lunch along the way and drove the 45 minutes up the hill to the iconic landmark. Problem is, Henley HATES the car, so 45 minutes feels like 4 hours with her screaming the entire time. Parking is a logistical nightmare, there are about a thousand people there (seriously, did we miss something? I don't get it) and the museum itself feels super dated. Sure, we had a nice lunch with amazing views but the whole thing was a tedious snoozefest that I'm not looking to repeat anytime soon.
Greyson covering his eyes as he did not want to see any stars...
See that Hollywood sign in the distance? That was probably the most exciting thing we saw...
Silly boys... are we the only parents who have resorted to bribing our kids to take good pictures?
At least we managed to get a decent picture of the fam!
Since we'd scheduled our landscaping to take place over the weekend, we wanted to be away from the house as much as possible, so we decided to head down to Laguna on Saturday morning with the intention of spending the day at the beach and the night at Nini and Pa's house.
We went to the beach - for half an hour, while the boys played in the freezing cold water under cloudy skies - then followed that up with tortilla soup at Avila's el Ranchito (delicious, but not really my idea of a beach day, if you will). Henley flat out refused to sleep in the car on the way down or in the pack n play at the grandparents so after an afternoon swim, we decided to cut our losses and head back up to LA.
Check out those pig tails...
I insisted that we stop at Balboa Island en route to make the schlep down to Orange County seem somewhat worth it and after inhaling some balboa bars and chocolate dipped frozen bananas, we went for a quick stroll (that place is seriously adorable, if you haven't been), bought the boys some souvenirs (Greyson got a huge plastic shark - Mr. Sharky Shark, he's calling it - and Hayes purchased his first mood ring, which I'm a bit embarrassed to say I've probably worn more than him - turns out I'm always in a state of perpetual calmness - who knew?!) and headed back up to LA.
Frozen chocolate dipped bananas, maybe Greyson's favorite thing ever...
The boys had a sleepover in their tent in their room and Grant and I enjoyed some take-out from a fave Italian place we frequent, Brunello Trattoria. And even though the day's activities seemed like a fools errand, we made the best of it and I'm happy to report everyone had a good sleep that night, which was the whole intention of returning home in the first place!
Boys started camp this week, Hayes at Iverbe Sports Camp and Greyson at GBCP. I've never seen Hayes so enthusiastic about a camp, which is so refreshing and makes my heart swell hearing him talk about how much fun he's having. Grey's having fun too, but that was to be expected since his camp is really just an extension of his pre-school at one of our favorite places. 

So far, Summer is off to a great start!


Friday, June 23, 2017

Summer Bucket List 2017...

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the 2017 Cohen Family Summer Bucket List!
We're pretty excited about this year's list and I'm feeling confident that we'll be able to knock most of these items off of it by the time September rolls around.

We've already checked off a few...

A visit to the Skyzone Trampoline Park...
Ice cream after dinner...
(we'll repeat this one since this particular event was from a date night Hayes and I had and I want to be able to include the whole family)

Waterballoon fight...

What am I most excited for, you ask?

...G&C getaway to Malibu
...Go to an outdoor movie
...Museum of Ice Cream
...Lake Arrowhead
...Cape Cod
and
...Have the unicorn melt at Chomp
(this has zero to do with summer but looks effing awesome)

Hayes is most excited to sleep at Nini and Pa's solo... And also to come to work with me, which isn't physically on the list due to a momentary brain fart, but I'm going to do my darndest to make happen at some point this summer.

We were supposed to go to Angel's Camp this weekend but alas, the earth is burning and the forecast seems a little toasty so Grant's grandparents suggested we skip the adventure. We're super bummed, although a little relieved to not have to deal with a screaming Henley in the car for 12+ hours. Instead, since we're having some landscaping done this weekend and want to escape our house, we're going to head down to Laguna instead and spend some time beachside.

I'll try and keep y'all updated on our bucket list progress, but I think it'll keep us nice and busy this summer ;-)
 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Showering Baby B...

A few months ago, my little sister Whitney gave me the best birthday present: the news that I was going to be an auntie again, this time to her first bambino, a little girlie due in September!
Not only was the presentation of the announcement the most adorable thing I'd ever seen (I literally can't bring myself to throw it away so it just sits in my closet with the rest of my jewelry and important trinkets), but I was over the moon excited for her and my brother-in-law and even more so for Henley when I found out her new cousin was going to be a girl aka her future potential bestie.

 Last weekend, we flew to Chicago to throw Baby Girl Benson a shower. And boy was she showered!
Both my older sister and I left our larger broods at home and journeyed solo to the Windy City, which was both nice for us since we rarely get away sans any kids and nice for my parents, who got to spend some quality, uninterrupted time with their three daughters and the OG fam. I can't foresee that ever happening again now that we'll all have kids of our own so it was a nice last hurrah.
The shower was held over brunch at White Oak Tavern, which was the perfect venue for the event. We took over the Barn Room, a cute little space with distressed wood barn doors and a fireplace mantel. The room already had quite a bit of character, which meant that we didn't need to do a whole lot in the ways and means of decorations. Some simple flower arrangements, spray painted pineapples (sounds weird, but trust me) and some simple balloons and bam, you've got yourself a baby shower.
Whitney didn't want to do any games, so guests socialized and ate (and ate and ate) while she opened up a gaggle of presents. We also had guests fill out advice cards for the mama-to-be, as well as fabric squares that will be made into a quilt for Baby B. Finally, in lieu of cards, we asked each guest to bring their favorite childhood book to add to the baby's library (Whitney got 4 copies of Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae, one of our absolute faves as well!).
Cutest baby shower favors, personalized wildflower seed packets, from etsy and advice cards (template also from etsy)
It was a fun day celebrating the newest member of the clan and it was nice to spend some time with Whitney's extended family and friends.

Can't wait to go back to Chicago in the Fall to meet my newest neicey!!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Isms...

Hayes, 6 years
He's recently lost two teeth so there have been lots of questions about that mysterious fairy, the number one being why she didn't take the damn tooth but still left some scrilla last time she came (I don't know, Grant, why didn't she take it??!!). He's determined to trick her and keeps wanting to put the tooth back under the pillow to see if she'll double up on his payment. Smart boy!

A few weeks ago, I was explaining to the boys the importance of taking good care of your eyes, not shining lights directly into them and never staring straight into the sun (is that even a thing, or is that something akin to the whole never crossing your eyes while the wind blows thing parents tell their kids??). When I reminded them that these were the only eyes they'd get, Hayes was astonished, saying, "You only have one pair of eyeballs? What? I thought you had two, like your teeth?"

We put together a family summer bucket list last week and the number one item on hayes' list, close behind spending a solo night at Nini and Pa's house, is coming to work with me.
He calls the olden days the "old fashioned days".

Him and his friends st school are constantly dreaming up elaborate traps to get Greyson. The latest includes a helicopter, a giant robot and a volcano in Hawaii.

He informs me the other day, "You know what I saw at the library one day, but didn't want to get? A book about penises and paginas!" Yep, they're still 'paginas'.

We were talking about what he wanted to be when he got older; past aspirations have included pediatrician, policeman and shuttle bus driver. When I asked him if he still wanted to be a police man, he shook his head and said, "No, too hard." "So what kind of job do you think would be easy that you might enjoy?" I asked. "I dunno...a mailman?" he said. "Wouldn't it be funny if you ordered something off of amazon and I delivered it??" It sure would, buddy.

Greyson, age 3.5
In the same conversation about future career choices, Greyson informed us that he'd like to be a ninja. "I can teach you all the crime," he informed Hayes. Big shocker there!

He's a little jealous of all of the attention the tooth fairy has been giving Hayes. When I told him that he needed to brush his teeth or else they would fall out, he said, "I don't want to take care of my teeth. I want them to fall out so I can get money!"

There's a little girl in his class at school named Inez who he for some reason has such a hatred for. I first discovered this when he refused to say goodbye to her one day at school. After coaxing him to say goodbye to his friend, he looked her in the eye and said, "Inez is not my friend!" I was clearly mortified and thankful it was his non-English speaking nanny who was with her for the encounter instead of her parents. Since then, Inez has become a constant topic of conversation in our household. The biggest insult the boys can give each other is to be called 'Mrs. Inez' and when we want to get Greyson all riled up, we'll tell him we invited Inez over and she's going to sleep in his bed. Terrible, I know, but his buttons are just so easy to push!

He calls Diet Coke 'Daddy coke'.
He legitimately thinks he'll be 39 when Hayes turns 7.

He leaves intricate Lego sculptures on the side tables next to our bed and frequently asks that I sleep with certain stuffed animals of his. Speaking if his furry friends, he spent the first three years of his life sleeping like a spartan, absolutely nothing was allowed in his crib or bed. All of a sudden, he has to sleep with every single stuffed animal he owns. I can barely find him in there when I go to check on him at night!

He'll frequently say to Grant, his best friend, "Follow me wherever I go!"

Henley, 16 months
Girlfriend loves her accessories. She's never met a necklace that didn't become acquainted with her neck and spends her days removing and placing various beaded creations on her body. She also loves shoes, one of a handful of words she knows how to say and will often try and put on my high heels. Loving every minute of that!

She's also begun an obsession with toting panties around the house. Doesn't matter if they're hers, mine, her brothers or even her dad's boxers, if she can get her hands on them (and let me clarify here, we're talking about clean undergarments from the dryer), it's nearly impossible to remove them from her clutches.

The walking has finally caught on at 16 months and she'll drunkenly stumble around the house, falling every so often, but getting right back up. It's adorable and fascinating to watch her learn this basic skill.
I swear she knows how to say "I like that" and uses the phrase often.

I don't know if it's because she's number three and pretty much gets away with murder or if it's because she's a girl and the emotions are just ingrained in her being, but she is one dramatic chica. You even begin to utter the word no or calmly suggest that she doesn't do whatever she's doing and her entire face collapses into a full OMMC (open mouth man cry) and you find yourself backpedaling and consoling the poor thing. We're in serious trouble with that one.

She's learned how to somersault and cannot get enough of her new skill. Somebody put that kid in gymnastics class!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Our little graduate...

Greyson's last day at GBCP was today...
Cue the tears...

Luckily he isn't moving up to the big leagues quite yet, for as much as he may be ready for that, I'm certainly not - he still has one more year of pre-school but will be attending the Little Dippers pre-school program at Hayes' school instead of doing another year at Green Beginning.

I read a quote today that summed up my sentiments about all of that perfectly... 
"There are two gifts we should give our children: one is roots. And the other is wings."
The wings part feels really bittersweet for me. Actually, if I'm being honest, at this current moment, it's far more bitter than sweet.
The decision to switch schools was a really hard one for me. As we all know, I'm a creature of habit and loathe change - if I could keep everything status quo for the rest of all eternity, I happily would. But when we were looking at our options for next year, we really felt that Greyson needed more, both in the sense of more physical time at school (he had been going 9-12 and next year, he'll follow Hayes' school schedule and go 8:15-2:15) and more of a challenging learning environment. 
Additionally, we wanted to be able to send Henley to the baby program there, where one of us would take her one morning a week so she could socialize with other kids her age and get familiar with the school environment. When we crunched the numbers, it was just going to be too much to have two kids in preschool at GB, plus a close to full-time nanny. So, even though it shocked myself probably the most, I started to explore the pre-school that was offered at Hayes' school and after a lot of internal back and forth, we decided it made the most sense to switch things up next year.

Veronica, the GB director who over the years has become somebody I consider a friend, couldn't have been more gracious and understanding when I told her we wouldn't be coming back. She encouraged me to do what was right for our family and assured me that Greyson would be just fine in the new environment.
Two thumbs up for summer!
I'm still not sure if we made the right decision. I'm extremely loyal to the only pre-school we've ever known and honestly feel like I'm breaking up with a boyfriend. But I also like the new pre-school and think it will be great for Greyson, who has always seemed like he was miles ahead of his peers from a developmental standpoint and can't wait to go to school at the same place his big brother goes.

Plus, this means Henley can do the parent and me program and we'll have more flexibility in the schedule to do other activities with her, since Greyson will be in school for longer days. And let's be honest, being that Henley's our last, you can bet your bottom dollar (and many of ours, it turns out) that she'll be with our pre-school family at Green Beginning until the very end ;-)

Here are some pics and videos from the adorable graduation ceremony they had on Monday. I think our little graduate was a little nervous and didn't know what to do with his hands, so decided to stick them down his pants for the duration of the event.
Grant and I were just grateful he didn't whip his penis out!
 (he isn't becoming a Pea Pod, but I had to post this one as it captures the exact moment he decides to put his hands down his pants!)

I mean, you'd think we were sending him off to military school or something!
You do you, Grey...
Getting his diploma...
I've decided getting a family photo where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling is impossible when you're a family of 5...
Nonetheless, I was a proud, emotional mama and am excited for the new adventures that lie ahead for our determined middle little.

And of course, the comparison from first day to last day. Look how much he's grown!
Way to go, Grey Grey! We love you!