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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Festivities

This weekend was chock full of Halloween festivities for the boy. Thursday kicked off the shenanigans with my annual office Halloween party. Unfortunately, Hayes' Halloween costume still hadn't arrived (it literally got delivered while we were at the party - argh!) but he was still the cutest skeleton around in his makeshift plan b costume:

Uh oh... someone found the secret stash!
Saturday afternoon was his pre-school's Fall Festival, complete with a trunk-or-treat, lots of pumpkin and cookie decorating stations, skits and Halloween parade. It took a little coaxing to get Hayes into his costume but after bribing him with a Reeses PB Cup (can you blame him for not being able to resist?!), he reluctantly put it on and didn't seem to be too bothered by it for the next couple hours. 

I don't wanna wear this ridiculous costume!
Okay... not so bad accompanied by the sweet taste of peanut butter and chocolate...
Oh just take the GD picture...
He's still a little young to really understand what Halloween is really about so he wasn't too bothered by the trunk-or-treat (much to his parents' dismay - we wanted candy!). He had a great time playing with the cars and basketball hoop and showing his parents around his school digs. 

Pumpkin decorating...
Cookie decorating... Mama decorated, Hayzey consumed.
Who says chickens can't jump?!

Unfortunately we forgot to snap a family pic, but thanks to some serious sweet talking on Grant's behalf, we were able to dress up like El Pollo Loco employees to complete this year's theme. A little twisted that the jist of the costume meant that we were going to eat our child, but people thought it was a hoot and if there were an award for best family costume, I think we would have won it, hands down!

Pretty much sums up the afternoon. We try to sneak the hat on, Hayes rips it off...
Best view in the house for the teachers' skit...
I feel a bit bad bragging about the sweet weather we've been having with everything going on over on the East Coast, but Sunday was just too perfect to pass up a quick trip to the beach, which capped off our weekend (which also included a lovely hike) quite nicely. Gotta love LA in October!

In other news, we had our very first Parent-Teacher conference yesterday and besides a little bit of concern about Hayes' lack of speech, he received a glowing review from his teacher, Patricia. He was described as sweet, gentle, generous, non-confrontational and quite the looker. Mom and Dad have some homework though - we need to keep a list of all of the words he's saying and encourage him to ask for what he wants rather than succumb to his whiny points and gestures - but Patricia thinks that will help him with his speech development and we'll revisit the issue in January. So, no news we weren't expecting and overall, it was a very positive meeting - way to go Hayzey!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Loves...

Obsessed with TJ's Greek Nonfat Pumpkin Yogurt these days. I always start my morning with some greek yogurt and berries/pomegranate seeds and lately the unflavored Fage just hasn't been doing it for me. I scooped up a tub of this seasonal specialty last week when I was on our grocery run and have been savoring every bite this week. It's seriously yummy stuff.

The weather turned little cooler this past week and we were able to get some use out of our new fireplace. Nothing says cozy like lying under a snuggly blanket on the couch in front of a roaring fire. Love.

I finally got through the last boring book I was reading (I just couldn't get into it, no matter how hard I tried!) and have happily started a new one, The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. So far I am loving it - it's the kind of book I look forward to getting into bed to read at night. Curious to see if I've been able to keep up with my lofty new years goal of one book a month this year (gotta start somewhere, right?); I've lost count but will make sure to do a post about all that I've read, as well as what I thought before the year's end.

Our family is embracing meatless Mondays. Research shows that going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic, preventable conditions like cancer, heart problems, diabetes and obesity. It also helps you to reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. Although I don't think I could ever be a vegetarian, I don't require meat in every meal I have and am excited to try out some new veggie recipes, like the black bean, sweet potato and quinoa chile with smoked chipotle above. (BTW the blog where that recipe is from, www.ambitiouskitchen.com is adorable, with lots of yummy recipes and beautiful pictures - definitely check it out!). 

My sister-in-law, Victoria was diagnosed with cancer when she was thirteen and a half years old. Ten years ago today, she was declared cancer free. Although Hayes has many reasons to love his Auntie V (she's basically obsessed with the little man!), I hope he grows up and looks at her as an inspiring role model for how one should embrace life and live the one you're given to the fullest. Cancer sucks. A child having cancer sucks even more. Victoria took the cards she was dealt, beat the cancer and hasn't looked back. She takes on life with a can-do attitude, never hesitating to try new things (what other teenage girl do you know chooses to move cross country for her Senior year of high school, then one ups that by spending her second semester abroad in a little town in Spain?!) and follows her intuition. This is a huge milestone and it's one we're very proud of her for reaching. May there be an infinite number of ten year cancer-free anniversaries to come - we love you V!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Coming up for air...

You'd think not having any trips planned and not too much on the agenda would mean loads and loads of free time to blog to my heart's content. Unfortunately, it's been quite the opposite the past couple of weeks and with work, Hayzey's jam-packed social calendar, errands and appointments, I've barely had a minute to sit down and relax!

The good thing about being so busy is that I've been reminded on more than one occasion lately how lucky I am to have an enthusiastic kiddo and supportive hubby. I truly have it made with my little family and love that when things get tough and I haven't had the best day, coming home to my guys makes everything better.

The weather has finally gotten a little cooler (hello boots and scarves!) and we've gotten into the Fall spirit by making big pots of chicken tortilla soup and comforting loaves of pumpkin pecan banana bread. Hayzey has proven to be quite the little helper in the kitchen and I'm happy to have found a new activity that keeps him engaged and excited (not to mention having a totally delicious outcome!).

 Last week, I took Hayes to Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch for his very first field trip with his pre-school. He had a ball at the petting zoo (we had to convince them to let us in twice!) and going down the giant inflatable slide (which I had to hoist him up myself - this thing was HUMONGOUS - it's a miracle we both didn't plummet to the bottom). He spent a large chunk of time just chilling in the pumpkins though - me thinks this is because last weekend, when Grant and I took him to our local pumpkin patch to pick out the gems for our annual carving contest, we had him pose in the pumpkins for awhile while I furiously snapped away, hoping to secure a goody for our holiday card. I think Hayes is under the impression that where many pumpkins lie, so does a photo session!

As if one petting zoo in one week wasn't enough, on Sunday, Grandpa drove on up and we went to the Fall Festival at the Grove. This petting zoo blew the other one out of the water - there were full on llamas and kangaroos running around! 

Hayes enjoyed throwing hay in the faces of the goats, as witnessed by the below. 

We also saw the world's largest potato (who even knew that was a thing) and Hayes helped himself to a souvenir. 

Looking forward to the Halloween festivities that lie ahead this week.

And lastly, I wanted to wish my sister-in-law a belated birthday (it was yesterday, but after dropping my phone into a measuring cup full of water, I spent Hayes' nap googling "iphone and rice" in an attempt to fix it instead of updating a lady... - by the way, the rice trick really does work!). 
Happy birthday Victoria - we love you!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Shif!

A quick post to wish Hayzey's Great Grandma Shif a very happy happy birthday! 

Shif turns 90 today - think about how many years that is... that's insane! - but she doesn't look a day over 39 ;-)

Hope you have a good birthday Shiffy - we love you!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A weekend of nothing!

This weekend is the first in a long time where we have very minimal plans... and I couldn't be more thrilled about it ;-)

The little guy is taking a bit longer than usual to reacclimate to being back home - there have been some long and frustrating bedtime routines the past couple of nights and we're really hoping that a nice relaxing weekend of spending time just the three of us at home will remind him how much he usually loves his bed and night nights.

Hayzey and I kicked off the weekend right this morning by taking a trip to the park. It definitely felt like Fall - there was a crisp chill in the air and even a little drizzle - but luckily that meant we pretty much had the run of the place to ourselves, which is a rarity. A few other kids finally came about a half hour after we got there and Hayes had fun playing with their sand toys and sitting on their trikes. We definitely need to get that kid into some more playgroups - he absolutely adores other kids!

Wishful thinking?
Someone's happy they found a friend...

Other items on the agenda this weekend?:

...staying in tonight with some of our favorite Thai take-out, hopefully in front of a warm and inviting fire on our new logs.
...punishing ourselves tomorrow by watching the Canes fight to redeem themselves from last weekend's abysmal performance.
...a play date with our friends Liz and Ollie tomorrow afternoon.
...dinner at a trendy local Peruvian restaurant, Picca with our friends Jodie and Omer (whilst trying out a new babysitter - fingers crossed!).
...Sunday brunch with Grant's fam - we're bringing the fruit salad and it's going to be spectacular.
...a trip to Shawn's Pumpkin Patch to pick out some victims for our Annual Cohen Family Carving Contest (which I conveniently always win!).
...lots of snuggles with this little girl - we've been traveling so much lately, I feel like I've been abandoning my feline daughter ;-(

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Blowing through Chi-town...

So it turns out it wasn't so great to be a Miami Hurricane this weekend. ND obliterated our Canes in a disappointing 41-3 final score (we actually left early, it was so bad). It was a VERY chilly couple of hours and I was relieved to meet up with our friends and family post-game and saddle up to a warm bar to end the evening. Moral of the story is, warm weather games where we win (or it's at least close) are MUCH more fun what we witnessed on Saturday and I'll be rethinking attending away games against good teams in future Winter months!

Besides the obvious downer of the weekend, we had a great time seeing our friends and family. It's so handy that they all live in the same city so when we visit there, we can knock a bunch of people off our list, not to mention pretty much guarantee we'll be in good company. I left Chicago happy to get home, but also in my usual state of nostalgia when leaving those I love; I wish we lived closer and could do it more often but I guess it makes it all the more special when we do finally get to see each other again.

Cohens do Chicago...

Feeding each other blueberries...
A thank you smooch...
Young love...
Reunited with my sissy!
Love this girl...
Hayes had a great time with his Grandma and Aunties while Mom and Dad revisited their youth with some good ole fashioned tailgating and a night on the town. He's gotten to the age where he really seems to notice when we're leaving or gone for a little bit, which makes the reunion all the more exciting (and the departures all the more difficult). (Side note: we got home last night and after going down relatively easily, he woke up in a panic at 1am, tossed his binkies and started screaming. We were all a little out of sorts and after basically throwing Greta across the bed - I forgot she was lying at my feet! - I ran into his room and he looked at me, visibly relieved, let out a "Mama!" and flopped back down to go to sleep. I think the poor kid is terrified we're going to leave him again and doesn't know which way is up, he's traveled to so many places this month!).

We're in LA now indefinitely (minus a few work trips we might have coming up) and I'm looking forward to spending a few consecutive weekends in town, doing fun Fall things like going to the pumpkin farm, celebrating Halloween and cooking big batches of soups and chilis that we can enjoy in front of our new fire (Grant bought me some gorgeous gas logs for our anniversary seeing that 5 years is supposed to be wood!).

Now if only the LA temps would fall below 70... ;-)

Friday, October 5, 2012

It's great...to be...

a MIAMI HURRICANE! It's great...to be... a MIAMI HURRICANE!

We're Chi-town bound this afternoon for the highly anticipated Miami vs. Notre Dame game at Soldier Field (Grant says he's been looking forward to this game since he was a freshman at the U and we all know how long ago that was!). 
It's going to be a chilly weekend, but we're looking forward to seeing Auntie Whitney & Uncle Ryan, Auntie V (and her new beau, Tommy) and Hayes' future in-laws and wifey, Collins. Grandma is coming along to act as our traveling babysitter and we have a weekend chock full of plans including the Lincoln Park Zoo, lots of tailgating, the game (of course!), cheering Uncle Ryan on as he runs the Chicago Marathon on Sunday and dinner at Guiliana & Bill's new resto, RPM Italian.

Fingers crossed the boy behaves on the plane!

Have a great weekend! And Go Canes!