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Thursday, March 26, 2015

ten / fifty two

Hayes, age 4: ...last night he informed me that he had not one, not two, but THREE girlfriends at school - Dawn, Annalise and Payton. Seems he's quite the ladies' man (although I think the one he has the most love for - besides his 'ole mother of course - is Payton).

Greyson, age 16 months: ...his hair is getting these amazing, amazing curls and some of the auburn is being replaced by the most gorgeous natural blonde highlights. I don't think we'll let his hair grow quite as long as Hayes' was, but I have to say, I'm a sucker for a toddler with long locks and am enjoying this current phase.

For fun, here's some side by sides of Hayes and Greyson at the same age. 
Do you think they look alike?

Chanel: ...we're trying plated this week and so far, I'm a big fan. Last night, we whipped up a crispy lemongrass pork with long life chinese noodles in a sriracha chicken broth and tonight, we're having a skate wing schnitzel with caramelized vegetables and purple potato chips. I've been shooting pics and taking notes and will do a post next week about our experience, but I think they might have a new customer.

Grant: ...I'll spare him the embarrassment of sharing the picture he sent me (mostly because he would KILL me!) but he had his first appointment with an acupuncturist this morning to try and manage his pesky allergies, which have been god awful lately. I am absolutely fascinated with acupuncture (and a little jealous that he has an excuse to get some!), but mostly I'm hoping it'll really help the poor guy out. Having never had to deal with allergies (thanks mom and dad for the good genes!), I can't imagine having to go through life with them. And popping a pill daily that requires showing your identification to obtain can't be a good thing so I'm all for a more natural alternative!

The Cohen Kibbutz has basically been a B&B this month with the amount of visitors we've had - this is our first Friday night in 3 weeks where we don't have a visitor - so Grant and I are heading to an old favorite, Angelini Osteria on Friday for a quality date night. We don't have too many other plans this weekend besides enjoying the glorious weather we're supposed to have and catching up on Jinx, which we're both pretty enthralled with (Serial for HBO anyone?).

Hope you have a good weekend!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Isms... and Photo Overload!

Hayes, with everything he needed for an "adventure" tucked into his waistband...

...to say that the kid is into Octonauts would be the biggest understatement of 2015. I have never quite seen him like this and the obsession has lasted well over 2 months. He received an Octopod and Gup A for his birthday and has slowly been building his collection of characters. They go everywhere with him - to school, to the dinner table, to the bath. It's a fight every evening to get him to put them to sleep beside his bed vs in it with him. He was invited to a friend's Frozen themed birthday party and his response when I asked him if he thought that would be fun was, "Why isn't it an Octonaut party?". I told him this morning that we needed to get him some new clothes and his response? "I'd like a t-shirt with Octonauts on it!" It's stalker status over here - thank god they're a cartoon!
...he has figured out how to ask Siri questions on my iphone and their back and forth can keep him entertained for quite some time. It goes something like this:

He gets so exasperated when she doesn't understand what he's asking, letting out an audible sigh like she's the most idiotic computer in the world. I shudder to think how that will be projected onto Grant and me as he gets older.
(side note, the "stop it enough no" Siri captured in the first request was from overhearing me in the background this morning disciplining Greyson. Awesome.)
...there are certain words he still can't pronounce the right way and part of me wishes he would continue saying them like that forever. Things like "siggers" for scissors, "lub" for love and "Aquaphorer" for Aquaphor.
...speaking of Aquaphor, he is slightly addicted to chapstick and the moment his lips feel a little parched, you better be at his side with some relief. He starts panting loudly and yells, "Aquaphorer! Aquaphorer!" God forbid we're ever without the sweet nectar!
...Barry O was in town a few weeks ago and Hayes was told by a friend of ours that he might be in the plane that was flying overhead, so now everytime he sees a plane in the sky, he asks us, "Is that President Obanda?". He also knows that he lives in Washington DC in a big white house and would really like to visit President Obanda there next time we go to see our cousins. Anyone got any hook-ups?!

Super Grey McStuffins...

...16 months has been such a fun age for us. We feel like Greyson is really coming into his own and is such a delight to be around these days. He's still headstrong and knows what he wants, but he's acquired a sense of humor lately and is all about entertaining his crowd. 
...he knows how to push Hayes' buttons. He'll get right up into whatever Hayes is doing and latch onto the one thing he knows Hayes wants. As soon as he gets his hands on it, he'll run to the other side of the room. It infuriates Hayes to no other, but I'll tell you what, that Greyson sure can stand up for himself.
...there's a lot of roughhousing around here lately. I'm sure it's that way in any family with boys, but the littles like to smother each other and whoever else happens to be in the warpath. Sometimes, Hayes will tackle Greyson so hard that we'll yell, "Get off your brother! Not so rough!", only to see Greyson come up for air, huge smile plastered across his face, knocking his fists together in the baby sign language motion for 'more'. 
...I've been taking him to a music class on Mondays when Grandma Nini is spending the afternoon with Hayes and it's so funny to watch him in that environment. He's used to tagging along with his brother, keeping up with the big guys. In these classes, he'll stay back and stare at all of the other kids, sometimes venturing out to play with whatever toy they've put out but always coming back to me and nestling into my lap. So funny to see this shy side of our normally super outgoing guy!
...although you wouldn't know it from his behavior at Toddle Tunes, the kid loves music, particularly when I sing to him when I'm changing his diaper. Sometimes it's the only thing we can do to get that squirmy worm to lay still while we change him!

Finally uploaded the pictures from the last few months so check 'em out if you're interested!:

Greyson, 15 months - click here for photos!
Greyson 16 months, Hayes 4 years - click here for photos!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

nine / fifty two

This little video captures pretty much spot on what life it like around here these days.

Pure madness.

Hayes, age 4: ...we're going through an interesting phase that frankly I'm hoping stop soon or I fear I might be picking my 4 year old up from jail for indecent exposure. Seems Hayzey boy has suddenly become interested in embracing his natural roots and would be better suited living at a nudist colony. He'll snuggle underneath the blanket on the couch and next thing you know, he's whipped his underwear off and is literally balls to the wall. I'm hoping it's a completely normal thing little boys go through but let me tell you, it sure is embarrassing when you happen to have company over and his little tra la la suddenly joins the party!

Greyson, age 16 months: ...he is such a hoot these days and can be so damn funny. He likes to entertain a crowd and does a variety of things on command. For instance, nothing makes him happier than bringing something to someone in the other room, enthusiastically exclaiming "dee do!" {here you go} and running back to fetch the next item. He can cut some serious rug, shaking his head back and forth and really feeling the music. And my personal favorite? If you ask him to go to sleep, he'll drop whatever he's doing and lie down on the floor, loudly snoring the entire time. Awesome.

Grant and Chanel: ...went on our second elementary school today, our current local public school, Canfield Elementary. Able to now compare it to something, I'd say that it's perfectly fine, nothing out of this world but we would be totally okay sending the boys to school there. I liked that it didn't seem too big and since we've been living in the neighborhood for 4+ years, the school had a homey feel to it because it was so familiar to me. I think my preference would be to send the boys to Overland, which is the school I toured a few weeks ago that's in what will be our new neighborhood if we move forward with building the new house, but honestly, they're both fine options so that's a plus!

I'm battling my second sickness of the week, having had back to back colds right on top of each other, so upping my dosage of vitamin C and trying to get lots of rest amidst the chaos of work and the final details for the big school event this weekend. Literally counting down the days until we leave for our annual Hawaiian vacay with Nana and Papa - 23 to go!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

eight / fifty two

Hayes, age 4: ...knows one knock knock joke and it never gets old to him. It goes something like this:

knock knock...
who's there?
slime who?
slime on you! pshhh {pretends to pour slime on your head}

This is made all the cuter with his pronunciation of the letter 'l', which comes out as a 'w' so words like 'slime' are actually 'swime' ;-)

Greyson, age 15 months: ...he's been very generous with his parting kisses as of late. If you say goodbye to him, he'll extend his arms and open and close his hands in a waving motion, then make a kiss sound with his lips and put his hand to his mouth. Doesn't really get the concept of blowing kisses quite yet but is slowly piecing it together.

Chanel: ...I'm in the final week of prep for our pre-school's biggest fundraiser of the year, the Spring Family Festival and I'm pretty ready for it to be over and done with! I've been responsible for the food for the event so have been dealing with food trucks and permits and meeting after meeting with the committee. Hoping we can raise a boatload for the school so the event is a success and I thank everyone for their generous donations to our raffle thus far.

Grant: ...embracing the summer temperatures we're having in SoCal this week and is whipping up a fish taco feast tonight that we'll enjoy al fresco. 

Aunt V is in town, Cousin Mackenzie is coming over for dinner and Thomas flies in late this evening. It's a revolving door of family members in March - we have guests sleeping in our guest bedroom for almost half of the month. Good thing we're building a bigger house!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Oh my Maude!

Since my birthday dinner date this past Friday at Curtis Stone's new resto, Maude cost the equivalent of some people's monthly mortgage payments, it deserves it's very own recap post so we get our money's worth out of every detail ;-)

The most important thing to note was that we really, truly enjoyed ourselves, the experience, the company, the ambiance and the food, not to mention the delicious wine pairings we splurged on for every course. We decided before we sat down that if we were going to do it, we would do it right and indeed we did!

Maude is a little restaurant on South Beverly Drive and is fairly new to the LA restaurant scene, having just celebrated their 1st anniversary this past February. At the helm is Curtis Stone, a hunky blonde Aussie chef who is pretty well known in the world of food, having appeared on various cooking shows, the Today Show, Oprah - you name it, he's seemed to have been on it! 

This is his first restaurant, an adorable little 25 seater in Beverly Hills. There are four seats overlooking the kitchen (of which we happened to snag two and were told this is where he sat his VIP diners) and the rest of the restaurant is comprised of smaller tables of two to four. It's a pretty restaurant; the ceiling is kind of an antique looking mirror, with exposed wood beams; the walls are made of simple white subway tile, with dried herbs and flowers hanging from hooks. Old teapots and pretty plates and platters adorn the dark wood open shelving in the kitchen and throughout and there's a removable wooden cutting board section of the kitchen counter area, where chefs prepared dishes that were waiting to go out as we watched on (inspiration as we're still deciding how we want our new kitchen to look!). 

The kitchen was the most calm kitchen we'd ever seen. The chefs were frequently seen just chatting to each other, in no rush to get the food out in a hurry. We'd watch them spend 5 minutes picking through a little bowl of watercress, selecting the perfect leaf to add to the dish and discarding those that were apparently not suitable. The preparation was an art in and of itself and we had a front row seat to the show. 

This my friends, was a dining experience: 10 small courses to make one big meal. As I mentioned last week, the ingredient of the month was fennel, so every dish had a fennel component, whether it was some fennel seeds or powder sprinkled on top or chunks of the vegetable within, they found every use for it and presented it within dishes in the most spectacular way.

Along with a delicious homemade honey fennel caramel, they present you with a copy of that night's menu at the end of the evening, so I happen to have a very descriptive account of everything we dined on, which, if you're curious, you can check out below:

Grant and I have never been a big fan of restaurants that go heavy on the foam bubbles and have plates so small, you feel like you need to stop for a slice of pie on your way home (yes, this has happened on more than one occasion!) and although Maude had a little bit of this, everything was strangely satisfying.

Our personal favorites were the Bison Tartar and the Salt Cod Raviolo (served by chef, himself!), however I can say something positive about every course. The Fennel Ice Cream was the perfect combination of sweet and salty with the light dressing that the spring vegetable crudo was tossed in. The Grilled Sardines, although probably our least favorite dish, was well complemented by the tangy vinegar gelee. The Chicken Galentine was a fried square of perfection (perhaps I could have eaten more of this!). 

And the accompanying wines were incredible and made the whole experience feel even more special. We were even able to taste a variety of an Orange wine, a dry white that has spent some maceration time in contact with the grape skins - and something we'd never even heard of before.

Obviously our favorite part of the night was when Curtis himself invited us into the kitchen to snap a photo with him - well, maybe not "invited", but didn't say no when we asked ;-) He was a true gent and it was nice to see a head chef who was so hands on and seemed to care so much about whether his diners were happy.

It was an amazing birthday dinner - maybe my favorite ever - and it certainly started off 34 on the right foot ;-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A land where everything is made of Legos...

We took Hayes to a four-year-old's heaven yesterday, Legoland! As part of his birthday present (thanks, Nana and Papa!) we treated him to 24 hours of being an only child again, in the second happiest place in Southern California.

We headed down to Dana Point late Sunday afternoon, leaving Greyson in the capable hands of his Aunt V, who's in town from Chicago for the week. After a quick pitstop at Tootsies to say hello to Grandma Nini and play shoe store owner with the cash register, we headed to our "hotel" for the night, also known as Nini and Pa's pad in Dana Point. Nini and Pa headed up to LA to relieve Aunt V of Greyson duties so it was a literal house swap for the night.

We headed straight to the hot tub and had a sunset dip, then headed back into downtown Laguna for dinner at Big Fish Tavern, which was even better than I remember it being when it was House of Big Fish and Cold Beer.

When we got home, it was straight to bed Fred to rest up for the big day ahead.

We hit the road after a leisurely breakfast and were at the park by 11am, giving us 6 hours to explore and ride to our heart's content.

Legoland is in Carlsbad, CA, just north of San Diego. The only other time I'd been was when I was about 14 years old and went to the Denmark location, so it was just a little different than that one - although they still had the driving school I fondly remembered. 

Hayes was in his element, happily running from one ride to the other, taking turns with both of us when riding the rides and having a blast. Although we felt a little guilty about leaving Greyson behind (new year reso-what??), it's really nice to be able to have these days solo with Hayes where we don't have to constantly be telling him 'no' about something or making him wait for his little brother. We truly are so lucky to have Grant's parents so willing and able to take care of the boys when we want solo time - and I'm pretty sure they love it too (at least that's what they tell us!). Legoland was absolutely perfect to celebrate a 4th birthday because many of the rides not only had height requirements of 42" (which Hayes barely passed), but the child also had to be 4 years old (and they actually asked the kids before they got on the ride!).

Grant was pretty proud of his Lego tower...

It was a much more manageable Disney, with plenty of smaller rides and a couple more thrilling roller coasters. They had giant play areas filled with Legos in the center of the lines for the bigger attractions, which is absolutely genius when dealing with impatient kids (and in Hayzey's defense, he never once complained about having to wait in line). Food options were decent, there were play structures, a fun fireman show and Legos EVERYWHERE. And going on a Monday in March meant that the lines were limited, so we were able to go on pretty much everything we wanted to, even hitting up a few rides twice.

Grant and my personal favorite was the roller coaster we rode soon after we got there. For Hayes, it "wasn't what he expected" but has left us with a lasting, hilarious video that we will treasure for years to come.

With that, our celebration of '4' finally comes to an end and we're ready to take on the next year with our growing boy ;-) 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

seven / fifty two

Hayes, 4 years: ...it's started. Big brother is too cool for little brother. Or, he's over him messing with his beloved Octonauts and Lego creations, at least! These signs (courtesy of his scribe, Grandma Nini) adorn his door, which remains closed. When Greyson gets into something of his, Hayes will exclaim, "Seriously Grey?!", which sadly I think he may have picked up from his mama ;-(

Greyson, 15 months: ...I took him to his very first music class this week at Toddle Tunes, where we used to take Hayes. Kid was a little apprehensive about what was going on and a little unsure about the tiny humans his age who were there for him to play with, but I think he'll warm up to it the more we go and it's nice to have something to do that's just for him. And he of course, loved the bubbles!

Chanel: ...turning another year older tomorrow (sigh) but am celebrating in style on Friday evening with a dinner date with my luv at chef Curtis Stone's new resto, Maude. Menu is prix fixe and the ingredient of the month is fennel. And to get ready for the evening, I'm indulging in a blow-out at my house (compliments of my older sister Jess) through a new app-based company called GLAMSQUAD. Can't wait!

Grant: ...has been in San Francisco all week for a big conference and we're looking forward to his return tomorrow. Somehow, his uber account is linked to my phone, so I've been watching him buzz about town, ending his evenings in the wee hours of the morning, hours after I've gone to sleep (in his defense, I got into bed last night at 8:45pm - it was glorious!). Let's just say, we're having very different weeks!

Monday, March 2, 2015


Came across this amazingly honest, funny and perfect article explaining how to raise your child:

So many of the writer's points ring true, but I especially like these ones:

For Greyson: "Let’s tell him that we had hoped he’d be a girl, and when we found out he was a boy, we were shocked at how it really doesn’t matter what he is, just that he’s ours. (Let’s tell him that it was silent in that room for a minute though, because god damn if we didn’t have a hell of a name for him if he was a her.)"

For them both: "Let’s tell him to be a gentleman when he meets girls and falls in love with all 4,302 of them that cross his path. To treat them well and to be as overly emotional as his father. Let’s tell him to be a gentleman to gentlemen if that’s what he prefers, too. Let’s tell him that whoever he loves, we love, because he’s our little man no matter what kind of man he becomes. He could like alligators for all we care, but those would be hard to have over for dinner. And they would eat him. Let’s at least warn him about that."

"Let’s teach him about forgiveness. That it’s hard to have, but without it we’re a hot mess of a people. So if that kid steals his basketball? Just be cool about it. That kid probably had his reasons we don’t get."

"Let’s tell him to hold the door open for every person, ever. To talk to the guy at the grocery store, because it’s fun. Let’s tell him to talk to strangers for the most part, because as long as they’re not in the back of a van? Strangers get a bad rap. They’re the joy of your life and you should talk to as many of them as possible. Don’t listen to Sarah from across the street’s mom. That woman is crazy. (This presumes we live across from a girl named Sarah, whose mom will inevitably be batshit.)"

For Mama: "Let’s play music for him everyday. Every last song we’ve ever liked. Let’s sing in the kitchen and the shower and the bath with him, and tell him that it’s something you should never forget to do."

For Daddy: "Let’s teach him that he only likes the Giants, 49ers and Warriors. Let’s tell him that the only people that like the Dodgers are people that smell like poop. Does he want to smell like poop? Yeah. Didn’t think so."

For us: "Let’s always listen when he talks, even when it annoys us. Let’s pretend that every little thing he says his magic, even if he’s just explaining a stick to us. Let’s always remember what a freaking gift that little man is. That you and I made him together. That he’s us."

And most importantly: "Let’s laugh when he farts. And cry when he cries sometimes. Let’s teach them that everything is okay, even when it’s not."