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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!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Happy birthday Grey Grey!

Greyson's 1st birthday is today. Yep, our baby is now officially a toddler. Can't really believe he's already a year old. A part of me feels like this year was the longest ever and another part of me wonders where the time went. 

As I reflect back on the last year, I wanted to start the tradition with Greyson and pen my annual letter to the birthday boy.

So, this is Greyson at one...

You sure took your time joining us, arriving a whole week after your due date, hours before you were scheduled to be induced. I like to think that this was our first glimpse into your personality - you are a baby who knows what he wants and isn't afraid to say so! You've handled being a living doll for your brother like a champ, putting up with constantly being sat on, dragged around, picked up by the neck, pushed down on the floor and smothered with hugs and kisses by a three year old who knows no boundaries. You do all of this with a smile on your face (most of the time!), only really complaining when he's gone a little too far. Mostly, you're enamored with your big brother, constantly watching him with an amused look on your face and engaging in games with him, screaming back and forth or letting him carry or walk with you all over the house. You are a total foodie and will inhale your food faster than we can serve it to you. You hate avocado but love all fruit, bread and cheese. Your favorite song is Wheels on the Bus. Your favorite books are the lift the flap books about babies and animals. You love to throw and catch balls. You HATE the car. You are generous with your open mouth smooches, have recently taught yourself how to clap and are this.close to learning how to wave. Just shy of one year, you took your first steps. You're cautious with your new skill but thrilled when you are able to pull off a couple steps at a time, giving yourself a round of applause or a victory twirl. You are curious, into everything, especially the toilet and trash cans. You are stubborn and determined and definitely aren't a pushover, traits I think will take you far in life. While you know what you want, you also know how to charm a room and have the brightest smile that lights up your entire face and turns your baby blue eyes into full crescents.

Before I had Greyson, I never believed that two babies - two BOYS - from the same parents could be different. Greyson has not only been physically different (he cut his first tooth a good 6 months before Hayes did, started crawling and walking a little earlier too), but we're getting glimpses into his own distinct personality as he gets older as well. It's so fun to see the two of them interact with each other and I hope with all of my heart that they become best friends.

Having two kids is no joke. There is constantly somebody who needs something - food, water, a diaper change, a bum wiped, a snuggle, a nose blown... I could go on and on. I start my days often before the sun comes up and collapse on the couch immediately following dinner, sometimes feeling as if somebody has sedated me, I am so effing tired. But I think having Greyson and learning to juggle the two of them has made me a better mother - it's certainly given me more experience on the job! And at the end of the day, there is no job I would rather have than taking care of my boys. 

Sometimes I wish I could freeze time and keep things the way they are forever - thinking of them growing up scares me in a way. But I'm also loving seeing them move onto their new stages and grow as little human beings.

So, happy 1st birthday, my little Grey Grey! May you enjoy this day that's all about you for once!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Happy birthday, dear husband!

Happy birthday, to my dear husband, who is finally catching up to his cougar of a wife (for the next 4 months at least!).

He's currently on a European business trip in our old stomping grounds in Londontown and it feels very strange not to be with him on his birthday, seeing as we've celebrated the last 16 years together. I have officially known the guy for over half of his life - how's that for making one feel old?!

So I'll raise half a glass of pinot to him in his honor tonight as I enjoy a frozen pizza with the current man of the house, Hayes (who has happily taken Grant's place in our bed for the last 4 nights while he's been gone) and look forward to a belated celebration this weekend.

We love you bigou, happy happy birthday!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A favor...

I noticed the other day that a few people who I don't know are subscribing to my youtube channel, which really creeps me out as I don't know why they'd want to follow the *boring* videos I post of my little guys.

So, after spending almost an hour on my youtube page this afternoon, I finally figured out how to block them (youtube doesn't make it easy) and I decided to make all of my videos private at the same time.

So if you have any interest in keeping up with the Cohens via youtube, I ask that you follow a few simple steps and become a subscriber to my channel so I can keep the creeps out and the trusted friends and fam in ;-)

1. go to youtube.com
2. search for Chanel Cohen
3. my channel should pop up (you'll recognize me and baby Hayes in my thumbnail). Click on that.
4. there's a bright red "subscribe" button in the upper right hand corner. Click on that.
5. Subscribe!

Fair warning, when I upload videos, you'll get an email alerting you that there's a new one on the channel. I'm sure there's some setting where you can opt out of the emails, although knowing youtube, it's probably impossible to find. But I tend to upload a bunch at a time so every few months, you might get a string of emails letting you know there's new content on the site.

We've been celebrating Halloween all week long and will cap off the festivities tomorrow with a trick or treat with friends. Santa and his elf have both been a big hit and although Greyson is completely oblivious as to why we've chosen to humiliate him in this manner, Hayes is embracing Halloween and has already pulled in quite a haul of candy (which Mom and Dad are enjoying after he goes to sleep!).

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hayesisms and Greyisms...


Visiting Endeavor at The California Science Center on a day-date with Mama...
...he has become OBSESSED with these strange videos on youtube where real humans show off their little Peppa Pig and Doc McStuffins figurines (and apparently he's not the only one since some of these vids have over 7MM views!). It doesn't matter if they're in English, French or Spanish, he will spend hours if we let him, completely engrossed in them.

...it's because of those videos that Peppa Pig bath squirt toys are on his Christmas list. But what's his number 1 item, you ask? Oh, just a mini freezer for his bedroom!
...he throws Mike the Knight a birthday party with his nanny, Lauren on a daily basis.
...he's obviously listening to the radio and taking it all in. A few weeks ago, I heard him quietly singing Taylor Swift's "Shake it off!" to himself.
...the only way we can get him to voluntarily eat his vegetables is if we use some reverse psychology and say, "don't eat that carrot or you'll grow too big!". He'll then shove it in his mouth and stand up on his tippy toes, saying "I'm growing, I'm growing!"
...he's become a little more gentle with his little brother as of late and when Grey does something cute, like give him a kiss, he'll look at him and say "Awww!", the way an adult would do to a child. He's also taken to picking Grey up and physically moving him away from whatever he doesn't want him into - a little scary but Grey doesn't seem to mind!

...he's still very concerned with time. When we were in Scottsdale last weekend, the first morning he woke up and said, "We've had one sleepover so we have 3 more." He asks me everyday if I'm going to work or if he has swim and then asks me how many days it will be until those things will happen again.


...he's currently getting his top 4 front teeth. It's been a long month!
...he LOVES open mouth kisses. He'll attack you as if he's trying to eat your face, laughing the whole time as you try to dodge the slobber.

...speaking of kisses, his cousin Gus gave him a nice gentle kiss last weekend when we were in Scottsdale and it was love at first sight. Grey could not get enough of him, as evidenced by the photo below...

...he definitely knows who his family is and will look in the direction of the person you ask him about, including Greta. When Grant or I get home from work, he sprint-crawls over to us, squealing with delight. We think his first word might have been Dada as he uttered it over and over again en route to go see Grant one night when he came home. 
...he is into everything disgusting you can think of - toilets, trash cans, feminine hygiene products (unused, of course). If we lose sight of him for a second, he's beelined it to the bathroom.
...he still loathes the car and is only quiet while driving when he's sleeping or eating.
...he's a super happy guy until he's not. He definitely has a bit of a temper, that one!

9 month photos - click here!
10 month photos - click here!
11 month photos - click here!
Make sure to click on the links below the above pictures for photos from the past few months. Can't believe our next milestone for Grey is 1 year!

And here are some snaps from the last couple of months, including our weekend in Scottsdale for my sister Whitney's amazing wedding...

Swimming with Pa...
Two thumbs up for the first day of school as a Sea Lion at Green Beginning!
Even sick with Roseola, this little guy tried to keep a smile on his face...
Mama/Daddy/Hazey date night for the Giants game... It took us 2 HOURS to get there fighting LA traffic and we lost, but it was still a fun night!
I think it's time to get a bigger slide for the back yard...
This guy LOVED the beach!
My boys...
Hayes and his best friend, Theo at the aquarium at The California Science Center...
Ring Security for Wee Wee and Ryan's wedding...
With the littlist ring-bearer...
TOMS for days (apparently the boys lined the shoes up like this themselves when they got home from the wedding - ha!)...
The blushing bride-to-be...
First look for father and daughter...
Pep talk from Grant before their big duties...
It was really nice of Hayes to ruin yet another family picture!
First dance...
Canadian Thanksgiving at the club - so thankful for my amazing family ;-)
Note the watch...
Happy wedding weekend sissy ;-)