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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lost in Translation?

For someone for which English is a second language, Susu speaks it amazingly well. Seeing as Grant and I are mostly monolingual (with a speckle of French, mainly salutations and brasserie menu items), it was important to us that we find a nanny who we could easily communicate with.

Susu's first language is Farsi. She speaks this to her friends and her daughter and it's the primary language she uses to communicate with Hayes. It blows my mind when Susu asks Hayes something in Farsi and he responds by doing whatever it is that was asked. It's incredible to me that an 17 month old can comprehend two languages that are so different and is a reminder of just how much their little brains are soaking up at this age.

Because English doesn't come naturally to Susu, there are some things that get a little lost in translation. For instance, when we started giving Hayes solid food, it was around the time Susu started with us and I was having her keep a log of when he ate, slept, poo'd, etc... so I could make sure we were remaining consistent on the days that each of us were taking care of him (in hindsight, a little anal, but hey, I was a new mom!). Grant and I had a good chuckle one day when I looked in the book and she had written "8:30a - SALAD" to describe the pureed veggies she had given him that morning. She uses the words "such as" as a filler to describe just about everything (sometimes it works,  sometimes it doesn't). "It's beautiful" is used to describe something she likes, whether it was a good weekend, or a sci-fi thriller on TV. When Hayes whines, she says "Be loose!", which I can only take to mean, relax! It's like we have our own special language that we've come to understand after working with each other for a year.

Susu pays all of her bills by physically going to the office with cash in hand (ex/ she'll go downtown to the Department of Water and Power and pay her water and power bill that way vs. sending in a check). This morning, as I was getting ready to leave for work, she starts telling me how Fridays are the days she pays her bills. She says to me, "I don't know how to say this in English, so forgive my language, but we joke that Fridays are the days I'm going to f**k!". I laughed out loud and responded, "I'm pretty sure the phrase you're looking for is 'Fridays are the days I get screwed'", as in those are the days she loses all of her money by paying her bills off to the government.

I couldn't make this shit up.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My loves...

Borrowing an idea from another blog I follow, Cupcakes and Cashmere, I've decided to a variation of Emily's 5 Things with a weekly (hopefully!) post about my loves... In it, I'll post 5 or so things I'm really loving these days, whether it be food, people, books, style - whatever strikes my fancy!

A fresh mani/pedi is the easiest thing to do to make yourself feel clean and add a little indulgence to your day. This morning, I opted for the classic Essie Marshmallow on my fingers and Glamour Purse (upper left) on my toes.

A favorite lunch resto of ours, Tender Greens used to have the most delicious lemon cupcakes you've ever had. Sadly, they stopped selling them but I've been on the hunt for a similar recipe ever since. Although they aren't cupcakes, these lemon melting moments look divine and might be able to satisfy my craving for a refreshing lemon treat!

 I know I'm a little behind with this obsession but I am about to finish the first of the Hunger Games books and am excited to see what's in store next for Katniss Everdeen. My MIL is bringing books 2 and 3 up for me this weekend and I can't wait to dive in!

Cannot get enough of the colored skinnies this season (I'm currently sporting a green pair in the office today) and am loving the menswear smoking shoe trend that's going to be big again this Fall. Need to stop by Tootsies and pick up another pair - I've got my eye on a velvet number that has a large crest.

This guy... Can't believe he's 17 months today! Check out his pics from the last month, which include another haircut (and temporary mullet!), 4th of July, meeting Elmo at a birthday party, spending time with his buds and celebrating Bastille Day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Around here lately...

We had a pretty busy weekend, despite the fact that the boy was a little under the weather. I'm happy to report that the fever broke on Saturday and no nasty rash ensued (fingers crossed it still won't rear it's ugly head!) so I'm not sure if it was Roseola after all. Hayes definitely isn't 100% - he still has a snotty nose and is much more fussy and clingy with me especially (doesn't everyone want their mom when they're sick though?) - but he's slowly getting back to his old self.

We changed our plans a bit this weekend to accommodate the sicky, having a nice dinner in complete with our favorite Thai take-out on Friday night and going out with friends to indulge in a little DineLA on Saturday evening at a favorite restaurant of ours, Taste on Melrose. We also finally had a cocktail at a speakeasy we've been dying to go to for years, the Roger Room

Grant's aunt and her family are in town this week so on Sunday, we mosied on over to the Beverly Hills Hotel for a delicious poolside lunch and quick dip. As you can see, Hayes was right at home on the red carpet when we stumbled upon the step & repeat (did you know what's what the backdrops to red carpets are called?) for 'I'm a little Legend'.

So much attitude!
And Sunday night, we started a new tradition: eating dinner as a family. Grant and I are lucky in that Hayes is on a pretty predictable routine, going down to bed around 8p every night so we can enjoy a nice dinner and some couple time in front of the tube (even if most of the tube time consists of me watching the insides of my eyelids and Grant working on his laptop!). We rarely eat dinner with Hayes, usually feeding him hours before we sit down ourselves. So we promised that on Sundays, we would try to eat a bit earlier, either at home or out at a restaurant, so we could have at least one meal a week as a family.

This week, we decided to go across the street to a little cafe called 'Got Kosher', which is the strangest place, but oddly has the tastiest food. (Side note - to attempt to explain how strange it is, it's BYOB so we brought over a bottle of wine, poured a couple of glasses and were quickly informed that we couldn't drink that wine on the premises since it wasn't the right type of Kosher. Luckily we live right around the corner from a Jewish market that sells wine. That was definitely a first!) 
Anyways, Sunday nights are their special BBQ nights and I'm telling you, it was some of the best BBQ we've had in LA. Who would have thunk it?! Hayes finally got a bit of an appetite back (if you'd seen his eating habits this past week, you'd think he was trying to slim down for awards season) and we had a nice family dinner out - filled with ribs, BBQ chicken, baked beans, grilled veggies, cornbread, french fries and BBQ potatoes - just the three of us ;-)

Looking forward to some more al fresco family dinners this summer. Oh, and seeing a lot more of these buns. I cannot get enough!

Hey Dad, mind if I join you??
What I'll miss most about the Summer...

Monday, July 23, 2012

If you really knew me...

Borrowing an idea for a post from the darling Liz at explore.dream.discover, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and do a post all about yours truly. Hope you enjoy learning some things about me you may not already know!

If you really knew me...

...you'd know that my favorite fruits are pineapple and watermelon.
...you'd know that I have a violent sweet tooth and have to have a bite of something sweet after every meal for the meal to be officially over.
...you'd know that where I sit at the dinner table will make or break the meal for me. My close friends know that the reason I beeline for the table when we check in with the hostess at restaurants is because I want to have my pick of the litter!
...you'd know that I wish my family lived closer to one another so we could see each other more. It kills me that my sisters are so far and I hate that Hayes only gets to see his cousin (soon to be cousinS!) a couple times a year.
...you'd know that I'm an extremely sentimental person. If there's any reason to celebrate an anniversary - be it birthday, wedding, a year since we did such-and-such - I'm game.
...you'd know that after almost 14 years of being with my husband, my heart still flutters when I see his name pop up on my phone, my favorite nights out (or in) are when it's just him and I and I truly believe he is my soul mate and best friend.
...you'd know that I'm one step away from being narcoleptic and can pretty much sleep anywhere. It's rare that I make it through a night on the couch, watching TV without falling asleep.
...you'd know that ever since having Hayes, even though I can fall asleep anywhere, my quality of sleep has been reduced drastically. I think it's just being a mom and subconciously worrying about things, but I frequently find myself lying awake for an hour + in the middle night, usually with a Yo Gabba Gabba song running through my head! 
...you'd know that I am baby crazy. Always have been, probably always will be.
...you'd know that for me, a vacation is really only a vacation if it includes warm weather and a beach or pool to lounge around.
...you'd know that I'm a master procrastinator. Speaking of.... ;-)

Friday, July 20, 2012

HTC Month 16

My photos have finally migrated from Kodak Gallery to Shutterfly so I wanted to share Hayes' 16 month pics (even though we're way closer to 17 months now!). Some of them are jumbled and instead of being able to provide a link, I had to create a website for photo sharing, so fingers crossed it works!

HTC 16 Month Photos
 Our poor little guy had a pretty high fever this morning (102.1 - yikes!) so we took him to the doctor and she thinks he might have a case of Roseola. Apparently, it's a common virus that's going around right now and it's symptoms include a high fever for 2-5 days, which finally breaks and brings on a red, spotty rash. So we have that to look forward to ;-(

We were planning on doing dinner with friends tonight and lots of time by the pool this weekend, but I think we're just going to have to play it by ear depending on how our little patient is doing. He goes back and forth between being his old high-spirited self and a whiny, uncomfortable sickie so we're just going to have to give him a little extra TLC, along with lots of binky action and unlimited Yo Gabba Gabba. If Tutie and Plex can't make him feel better, I don't know who can!

Hope you all have a good and healthy weekend!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Nanna Susu

As we near the one-year anniversary of when our beloved nanny, Susu (or Nanna Susu as Hayes will call her) started, I can't help but reflect on how darn lucky we were to have found her.

When I was on maternity leave, one of my biggest concerns (understandably) was finding the person who would be taking care of our son when I went back to work. I had quite a lengthy maternity leave (thank you, Chiat!) but it was something that I wanted to check off my to do list pretty early on so I could relax and enjoy the rest of my limited time with Hayes. 

We interviewed one nanny who didn't wow either of us (and her referral, who had to pause and think about the answer to Grant's question of whether she would have hired Wendy again, wowed us even less!) so I decided to send out a public email at my company to see if anyone knew of a good nanny who was looking for work. A guy who I've never met (my company has 700+ people so that's not unusual) responded that his nanny was going to be available starting the beginning of August as his youngest son was going to pre-school. I called his wife, Anna - the referral - and she could not have said anything nicer about this middle aged Iranian woman they called 'Susu', who had really become a part of their family.

The part of our conversation that stuck with me the most was when Anna told me that more so than a nanny, Susu was just a good person. She recalled a time when her parents were visiting and when her dad had fallen asleep on the couch, Susu crept into the family room and placed a blanket over him so he wouldn't get cold. That's exactly the type of person I want to have in my family, I thought to myself. I had to have her.

Susu is unique, to say the least. She is a flamboyant, strong-willed Persian woman who lives in Beverly Hills with her grown daughter and has had every job under the sun. I'm talking everything people - limo driver, chocolatier, florist, hair stylist... You name it, she's had experience in it. She truly spoils Grant, Hayes and me, cooking and cleaning for us and taking amazing care of our boy. At Christmas, she wrapped all of Grant's presents for him. She cooked our brisket for Hannakuh dinner with Grant's family (and got a nod of approval from Grant's very Jewish grandmother!). She makes our bed every morning and washes Hayes tushy in the sink in lieu of using wipes because she knows it's ultimately better for his skin. In one word, she is AMAZING. I honestly don't know what we would do without her.

I came across this NY Times article about the dichotomy between mothers and nannies and after reading it, found myself feeling quite emotional about the way I feel about Susu. Sure, there are times she drives me crazy and I wish she would listen to me a bit more and maybe not have so much of her own opinion. But truth be told, she is rarely wrong about things and at the end of the day, Hayes is a happy baby who loves his Nanna Susu. She is so much more than a nanny to us; she is like a second mother to our baby boy and her influence will largely shape the kind of person he will become. You can't put a price on that..

At the end of the article, the author writes "I attended a wedding a few years ago. The nanny who stayed with the family for years stood next to the two parents (by then long divorced) for the marriage of the girl they had all raised." I hope we're lucky enough to have Susu in our lives as Hayes gets older, maybe not as a nanny for the rest of his life, but as another member of our family...

Monday, July 16, 2012

My old man turns a young 64 today and him and my mom are living it up across the pond in Londontown.
Happy birthday Dad!

Apres-ski in Aspen, March 2010
Our Bastille Day party was a hit and everyone had a magnifique time! I think our neighbors might think we're a bit looney tunes, but imho, there's nothing wrong with being a little festive. Hayes had a complete ball with his buddies at the party and spent a good hour and a half soaking in his private pool. Best $8 I've ever spent!

Euro Ollie, or Olivier, as we called him all day...
Horsing around with Gavin...
Kisses for Gavin... Turns out Hayes is quite the lover of other children. He couldn't get enough hugs and kisses in. So cute!
 Our next Summer Saturday in August is supposed to be a Southern-themed crawfish boil. Unfortunately, neither one of us has the faintest clue how to cook crawfish so a part of me is concerned that all of the attendees will be leaving with a case of food poisoning, the other part of me is excited for the challenge. So if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to leave 'em here!

Hope you all have a great week!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mornings are a whole lot tougher now that Mr. Hayes isn't going down for his nap until closer to noon. It's hard to keep a baby entertained, "work from home" and not have people think you're a lazy slug because you're still in your pajamas at 11am since you haven't had 5 minutes to shower! It's definitely an adjustment period for all parties involved.

The good news is that it's motivated me to do a little bit more with my day. Everyone says that during this challenging process of changing up the sleeping habits they've become accustomed to, the best thing to do is to keep them busy. So yesterday, instead of sitting around the house all morning, I threw on some work out clothes, dusted off the old BOB and took Hayes for a run.  He took a marathon nap when we got home (I'm talking close to 3 hours,  people!) and when he woke up, we went and met our friends Liz and Ollie at the park for a very late lunch, followed by some shopping at the Grove. By the time we got home, it was already close to 5p so no need for another nap and relatively little time to kill before starting the dinner/bedtime routine. It actually worked out quite well!
When Hayes woke up from his marathon nap: check out that bedhead and those rosy cheeks...
...and the creases on his belly! I would KILL to have a sleep like that!
This morning, we had a late start (Hayes is about to sprout a few more teeth so we were up from 5:30-7a, hence the need to sleep in a bit) but we quickly had brekkie and got dressed, then drove on over to Brentwood for a new kids' class we signed up for. Although the commute there and back was kind of a pain, Hayes loved the Rockin' Railroad music class. We haven't really been able to take any classes the past couple of months because he was napping so darn much, so this is definitely another silver lining to bringing it down to one a day.
A quick shot of this morning's Rockin' Railroad class. Hayes was a little apprehensive when we first got there and stuck to my side for the first half, but once he got a bit more comfortable, he assumed his position at the head of the class. 
 This weekend, cousin Max and DeLane are coming to town so we're looking forward to spending some QT with them. Tonight, we're going to a new Mexican tapas restaurant, La Otra Taqueria Escquela with our friends, the Blakes. And tomorrow, the Cohen Kibbutz is transforming into Chez Cohen as we host our second Summer Saturday - a french celebration of Bastille Day - complete with lots of steak frites, brie, macarons and champagne cocktails.

So, in the spirit of that, I say Bon Weekend, mes amis!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hayes-isms - 16.5 months

Our little guy is growing up. This week, we've started the dropping-a-nap process, pushing his morning back 15 minutes a day in the hopes that eventually it'll merge into his afternoon nap for one nice, long siesta. I held onto the two naps a day thing for as long as I possibly could, but over the past couple of weeks, I think he's started to show us that he's ready. I'm still not quite convinced, but figure I'll keep it flexible, knowing on some days he may take two, others one, others none. And while the thought of having him awake for the entire morning is a little daunting (When will I shower? How will I keep him entertained? Can I really work from home with a 16 month old tugging at my sleeve?!), I'm actually looking forward to being able to do more with him and not having to be a slave to the am/pm nap schedule anymore. Check back in with me in a couple weeks to see how it goes - fingers crossed!

Some recent Hayisms, as of late...

...We've caught him splashing around with his hands in the toilet a couple times over the past week. Unfortunately for Grant, the first time he did this, we didn't realize why his hands were wet until after Hayes had caressed his face before giving him a kiss. Yep, toilet water on the face - ew!
...He loves to balance on anything and everything.

...He knows how to sit, lie down and roll over. Yes, we're aware that he's a child and not a dog!
...If you ask him where something is and he doesn't know, he'll put his hands out to his sides, palms facing up with a furrowed brow and an "I don't know" look on his face. I melt.
...He is pointing at everything and while he's stopped saying "Mama" and "Dada", when you ask him where we are, he'll point to each of us. I think he's just building up a reservoir of words that he'll string together in one long sentence the day he finally decides to talk.
(Side note: I had a friend who told me that her nephew didn't talk until some crazy late age, like 2 years or something. Then one day, out of the blue, he looked at his mom and said "I love bacon." Ha!)
...He is apparently afraid of Elmo.
...At 16.5 months, we finally have another tooth about to come in! The tooth to the right of his bottom front teeth has cut the gum, bringing the total up to a whopping 4!

That's all for now!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Happy Anniversary, lovebirds!

Today marks my parents' 39th wedding anniversary. 39 years... wowsers!

They are currently on a transatlantic cruise aboard the Queen Mary II to celebrate the occasion. I spoke to them yesterday after they had embarked and they were already one bottle of champers down, so you know they're doing it right ;-)

I've always looked up to my parents and their rock solid relationship. 39 years is a long time to be married to someone. They had three children, who my mother made a career of raising (and after having one of my own, I have seen first hand how incredibly hard that would be - boss babies are a different breed of management!) while my father advanced his career, hopping from one continent to another. They've always exhibited a united front when it came to us girls, something I admire and try to emulate in our own parenting. They've worked hard and played hard - had their kids, contributed to society (and still are, of course), but have also been able to maintain their own social lives. And throughout all of that, they've stuck by each other's side and have always been genuinely in love.

My dad is a hopeless romantic, great with words and especially thoughtful on occasions like anniversaries and holidays. Every year, he gives my mother a nice piece of unique jewelry with a card on Christmas - it's usually the last gift that's opened that morning. And while the jewelry is always gorgeous, it's the words within the card that ultimately make my mother cry, every year. 

I can only hope that 34 years from now, Grant and I have that same kind of love for each other, same kind of passion for adventure and same spark, if you will, that Wayne and Penny exhibit on a daily basis.

Happy anniversary, you crazy kids!

New Years Eve, 2011, Aspen, CO

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July 2012

The office is very quiet today. I'd say about half of the emails I've sent out have been responded to with OOTO replies from people who have made the mid-week holiday into a longer vacation. Truth be told, I'd probably have done the same had we not just gotten back from Cabo, but since our last day of vacation fell on the Monday of this holiday week, here I am, on the grind.

Luckily, since it's been so quiet, I've actually gotten a fair amount of work done and am finding myself with plenty of time to bring you all up to speed with our FOJ shenanigans ;-)

We're usually very big 4th of July people. For many years, we had an annual trip with the same group of friends, complete with t-shirts, goody bags, some sort of sporting event (for those venues that didn't have professional sporting teams, we'd support the local little leagues - ahem, Palm Springs Power!) and lots and lots of domestic beer and cocktails to wash it all down.
Standard issue FOJ pre-babies...
When I found out I was pregnant with Hayes, it was 4 days before we were scheduled to go to the Palm Springs party house for a weekend of debauchery. We had multiple friends coming in from out of town and a weekend jam packed full of activities, all of which included booze. So cancelling was not an option and being that I was so newly prego, telling our friends the reasoning behind my lack of drinking wasn't either. So I put on the best performance of my life and pretended all weekend to be right there with the others - I "nursed" beers at the game, "took shots" at bars, and drank a whole lot of "vodka" sodas. It was a real blast... (can you sense my sarcasm?)?!

Anyways, since that FOJ, a few of the mainstays of our annual trips have also had babes of their own so the group as a whole has settled down quite a bit and Grant's Americana Fireworks Extravaganza  as it's aptly called has in essence, ceased to exist.

This year was by far the most mellow Independence Day I can remember and I think the lack of fireworks physically killed a part of Grant. Don't get me wrong, it was a good day - the boy woke up way too early, but we used that as an excuse to do a family breakfast at a local diner nearby. Following his am nap, we drove on over to Venice, lucked out on the parking sitch and spent a few hours with our Westside crew, then headed back home for pm naptime and had a late afternoon BBQ with a few friends.

Hayes helping himself to a domestic brew...
Hayes and Aunt LK...
Getting wiped out from all of the activity...
Hayes loved being the center of attention at the Venice party and logged in some pool time at home, which is always a hit. BBQ was aplenty and he enjoyed his very first chocolate covered strawberry (homemade, courtesy of his Aunt Tina), which I literally had to pry away from him.
Hayes and Uncle Josh...

This fruit is pretty.darn.tasty!
 He didn't miss the fireworks because he doesn't even know what they are. But his dad, who counts the 4th as his favorite day of the year, spent the evening running (I kid you not) from our front door to the back door in the hopes that he might be able to see some of the lit colors in the sky that were accompanying the booms we heard pretty consistently from about 8:30-10:30p. So sad ;-(

Alls I know is next years pyrotechnic spectacular better knock our socks off....

Hope you all had a good holiday!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

We returned from Cabo last night with sun-kissed skin and well-rested minds. The vacation was seriously the perfect mix of fun with friends and relaxation, with plenty of those aforementioned margaritas and more guacamole than one usually consumes in an entire year!

The house we stayed at, Cielos 74, was amazing (thanks to el Daddio, as he's now aptly called!). Four bedrooms, a great kitchen for cooking, private pool, spa and lots of outdoor sitting areas surrounding fire pits. Our beach club, Club Ninety Six was accessible via the two golf carts that were at our disposal all weekend long and our host, Silvana, really went above and beyond to make sure everything was perfect for our stay. 

One & Only and Club Ninety Six from afar...
We went to some great restaurants (Flora Farms, which we visited the first night, was really a stand out), spent an unforgettable afternoon on our own private 50 foot catamaran, indulged in lots of poolside relaxation, complete with foot massages (which I imbibed in about an hour before my scheduled swedish for an afternoon of serious bliss!) and we even made it into town one night to partake in some immature vacation partying at El Squid Roe! 

Delish cocktails (Watermelon Julip & Vodka Smash) @ Flora Farms...
And although the trip was incredible and we had so much fun celebrating our big milestone with friends, we were quite anxious to get home last night to the little man (who I'm pretty sure 99% forgot us while we were gone!). I thought having 4th of July on a Wednesday was really going to suck, but being able to spend some QT with Hayes today and tomorrow vs. being at work and back to reality has been very nice ;-)

Here are a few vacation snaps. I'll also post Hayzey's 16 month pictures this week (kodak is migrating over to shutterfly so I'm not sure if they're accessible right now).

The crew... awkward friend photo style...

Happy birthday to us!
We're keeping it super casual for the 4th, heading to our friend's casa in Venice for a beach day and perhaps doing a mini BBQ of our own tomorrow evening. With Hayes' bedtime occurring before the sun even goes down these days (and we put him to sleep at 8!!), not sure if fireworks are in the cards this year, but hopefully we'll be able to see some overhead from our backyard. 

In any case, have a happy 4th, wherever you may be!