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Thursday, August 27, 2015

twenty seven / fifty two

Hayes, four and a half years: ...Over the past couple of weeks, we've been working on getting Hayes to go to sleep on his own at night (we'd previously been staying in there with him until he fell asleep  - a bad habit we'd fallen into that we needed to get him out of). So the deal was, after books, we'd set the timer on my phone for 6 minutes and when that went off, I'd stay for one more minute, then leave with him still awake. I'd check in every few minutes until he fell asleep (usually only took 2-3 check-ins) and the next morning, we'd add a sticker to his reward chart. 10 stickers meant a new toy of his choosing, so he really had motivation to go to bed on his own.
Hayes has been very into police lately and talks nonstop about arresting Grant's best friend, his Uncle Pat, so naturally, he chose a police costume that came with all the bells and whistles - badge, walkie talkie, a ticket, a nametag and perhaps most importantly, handcuffs. He made me print off pictures of the prize, which he promptly hung around the house and looked at every chance he could. 
I'm happy to report that the kid earned all ten of his stickers with little protest and is now officially Officer Hayes ;-) 
(side note, he also only wears blue now, because that's what police officers wear!)

The boys luxuriating in a post-swim shower...
Greyson, 21 months: ...The boy is obsessed with swimming and likes nothing more than doing cannonballs over and over again into the water. When he wakes up in the morning, the first thing he says to me is, "pool?"; same deal when he wakes up from his naps. He is going to be devastated when our building closes the pool in a few weeks (they're conducting some ill-timed repairs on what's already a perfectly fine pool so it'll basically be closed for the rest of the time we live here... grrr...) but think he'll be pretty stoked when we move into our new house and he has a pool at his disposal indefinitely!

Esther: ...It's hard to show in pictures the amount of progress that has been made over the last couple of weeks but Esther is coming along and we think she's going to be really great when she's done. They've put in most of the electrical, plumbing, air, etc... - all of the boring stuff that nobody cares about unless it's not there. So I've spent the last couple of weeks lying in bed at night thinking about where outlets should go and should we be talking about TV jacks, oh and what about lighting for underneath the cabinets, and wait, did we put an outlet where the vacuum cleaner will go?!?! It's enough to drive a person crazy but luckily, we're working with a crew that seems to have everything pretty buttoned up and our biggest concern right now (besides the small matter of locking in an interest rate and getting a loan... no biggie!) is that they're going to be done too soon! A better problem to have than the opposite, but the fact that we're locked into a lease at the Palazzo until beginning of February means we don't want to have too much time where the two places overlap. Anyways, minor details I won't bore you with, but here are some snaps of the place so you can see how she's coming along...

They FINALLY removed the trees in the backyard, which makes us terrible environmentalists, but nicely opened up the space in the back. We decided to move the pool to the other side of the backyard as well, so now our deck will lead straight to the pool and there will be a small grassy area just outside the master).
Standing outside the master (on the left), where there will be French doors...
To the right is the family room, which will have large multi-slide doors that open up entirely to the backyard...
Ceilings in the master - every room has different angled ceilings, which really opens up the space a bit. {Hayes and Greyson are standing in our closet} 
Kitchen - pony wall between kitchen and family room.
Kiddo's bedroom...
Another kiddo's bedroom (these are connected by a jack and jill bathroom and are closed off in their own suite)... 
View of the front entry way from the hallway. The curved door will be to a little courtyard outside the front door, which will give us a bit more privacy and set us back a little from the busy street we're close to.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Advice to your younger self...

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. It would be nice to know for certain that whatever it is you're worrying about will pass with time and that everything will be a-ok in the end.

One of my favorite pieces of advice I've ever received (and I'm ashamed to say I can't for the life of me remember who it is who shared this nugget of wisdom with me) was this:

Most of the time, the answer is no and while it's easier to say that when you aren't in the throes of anguish and worry, it's something good to keep in mind to put things in perspective. Most things simply aren't worth losing a huge amount of sleep over and the majority of the time, everything works out in the end.

Came across this on another blog I follow and I loved. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Fall on the mind...

It happens every year around this time... mid-August hits and I find myself lusting over all things Fall. 

It's not that I don't love the summer - trust me, I do. Especially with two kiddos who love nothing more than splashing around in a pool or playing until they're rosy cheeked at a park - Summer is without a doubt the easiest season with the kids and I fully acknowledge that.

But after months of hot temps and short sleeves, light salads and iced beverages, I'm ready for some sweater weather, stews cooking on the stovetop and snuggly afternoons on the couch in front of a roaring fire.

Okay, I haven't forgotten that I live in LA and that kind of combination happens maybe once or twice a year ;-) But I still love everything about Fall and even though we live in the land of year-round beach days, LA still embraces the benefits of the changing season.

With that, I bring you some of my latest loves, for both Fall and in general:

 I had a serious hankering for red meat this week and was going through slow cooker withdrawals (another reason to love colder weather - what's easier than throwing everything into a device and having it cook you a delicious hot meal while you buzz about your daily life? Nothing, I say!) so for Sunday night dinner this past weekend, we had this delightful and couldn't-be-easier Balsamic Roast Beef. The hubs even made me the yummiest roast beef sammie last night with the leftovers - soft sourdough bread, slathered in mayonnaise with melted provolone cheese. YUM!

How adorable is this printed shawl? I want need one for Fall. The whole outfit is perfection.

I think I'm going to recreate this for Livonia when we move into the new house and actually care enough about hanging things on the wall to decorate (we are so over this apartment already!). We snapped some pictures of the family outside the house before we moved and I kept a key as a momento, which I might incorporate. Would be neat to have a wall of these as we grow older and move onto the next phase of life - and fun to see how our family changes with each house we live in.

I'm in full decorate-the-new-house mode and am excited to start picking our finishes for tiles, floors, you name it. This house is going to be a bit bigger than our last and we'll actually have two family rooms so that means we need to buy a whole new set of furniture for one of them (in my mind, a good problem to have!). Since we want to keep things kid-friendly, we're thinking we'll maybe put a plush ottoman in place of a coffee table. How cute is this one from my favorite, Joss & Main? And at just over $200, it couldn't be more affordable. Now I just need it to come back in stock...

These apple cider donuts have Hayes and Greyson Cohen written all over them and look easy peasy to make since they don't require any of the deep fryers traditional donut recipes call for. I'm thinking this could be a good weekend afternoon activity, perfect with a hot cup of tea.

Although Fall is definitely on the mind, we're still embracing summer over here and had a great day at the beach this past weekend, skipping Greyson's afternoon nap in lieu of some more time in the sand. The boys entertained each other for hours and I was reminded how lucky we are to live so close to the Pacific ;-)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

twenty six / fifty two

Our future arranged marriages, the boys with Collins and Kensi Carver...
Hayes, four years: ...This morning, when we were watching the news, they were talking about the explosion in China that killed 40+ people. Hayes looked at me and asked me if it had really happened, to which I responded, yes, but that it happened really far away in another country called China. "Oh, you mean Chinatown?" he replied.

Greyson, 20 months: ...We are on the brink of the terrible twos ;-( Our little man has become quite a bit more determined as of late, losing his mind when you go to put him in his high chair or stroller and letting his disdain be known when he doesn't get his way immediately. His brother seems to frustrate him the most, usually when he's playing with something that he won't let Grey have (and Grey wants it NOW), so we're having to play mediator a little bit more to make sure they don't kill each other.
His sweet side still exists though... the other morning when I went to get him from his crib, I paused outside his door to listen to him sing songs to himself. He went through a few rounds of "Happy Birthday to You", singing it to his cousin Gus and our nanny Lolo, who's birthdays happened to be last week. Melted my heart!

Wanna sneak peak into why our neighbors must hate us at the Palazzo? Here's a typical bathtime around our place:

Thursday, August 6, 2015

twenty five / fifty two

Hayes, 4 years: ...he understands that some restaurants are nicer than others but doesn't quite have it right. When we were up in Angel's Camp last weekend and I told him we were going out to dinner for pizza, he said to me, "Are we going to a fancy restaurant or a dirty restaurant?" Ha!

Greyson, 20 months: ...he is such a shy guy sometimes, which is so fascinating to me since he's usually so loud and boisterous. When strangers talk to him in the elevator, he responds and engages with them but in a very quiet and serious way. Even this morning, when we were facetiming with birthday boy Gusser, he was all timid in his responses to Aunt Jess. I'm dying to see what he's going to be like when he starts to do a weekly parent and me class we have him signed up for at Hayes' school this Fall. So far, the kid hasn't done a whole lot of activities due to napping schedules and there just not being enough one-on-one time when Hayes isn't around, but it's funny to think how different he can be in a setting where he can't be the shadow of his big brother.

Esther: Serious progress these past couple of weeks! We have walls and ceilings and holes for windows! I'll tell you what, it's much harder to photograph a house when it's not wide open on a huge plot of land anymore, but I tried to snap a couple on Monday when we were there. It's looking great and we're so excited about how it's going to turn out - although still slightly terrified about everything falling into place with loans, etc, so trying not to get too excited!

View from the front right corner of the living room. This wall will separate the living room and kitchen via a pocket door. Laundry will be in the corner of the kitchen on the right hand side, and next to that, along the interior wall will be the pantry and a built-in desk.
View from the foyer to the living room. There are two windows, one on either side of what will be a fireplace and they really will be as big as the cut-out implies. Those, coupled with the skylights should make for a nice and airy living room!
View from just outside the master bedroom, down the main hallway. Check out the height on those ceilings!
View from the dining room - that's the pony wall in the kitchen where we'll have a built-in bench and kitchen table. To the right is the family room, which the kitchen will overlook.
The builder has already of course hit us up for some extras, all things that are optional, but all things that of course, we think will make the house look so much better. So we're springing for extra skylights and black framed windows, fully aware that this was inevitable and houses always cost more than you think they will. The good news is our builder thinks the house will be done by the end of the year (and he says he's being conservative in that estimation) so that would be amazing. We're already over apartment living (serious first world problems, I tell ya!).

Monday, August 3, 2015

Angel's Camp with the Greats...

Although Grey's face says otherwise, he really did enjoy the horse and buggy ride in Columbia, even though we did get held up by a robber looking for gold/candy!
We returned yesterday from an absolutely lovely weekend up in Angel's Camp with the Greats, GG and G Pops. The boys had SUCH a good time, especially Hayes, who's old enough now to really relish the quality time he's able to spend with his great grandparents.

Greyson FINALLY embraced the ipad so the drive there and back (6+ hours) wasn't too terrible. Sadly, I think we've created a bit of a monster for every time he was without the beloved device (Hayes and him took turns sharing it throughout the ride), he'd whine and cry, repeating "Mickey Mouse! Grey turn!" over and over again. Hayes was such a good sport about it, happily handing over the ipad in exchange for some time with mama's phone. We weren't winning any parenting awards, but when on a roadtrip, you're in survival mode and that's exactly what we were doing!

It was a little toasty up there, but nothing too terrible. We started every morning with breakfast al fresco overlooking the golf course and ended every day with a refreshing dip in the pool, where Hayes showed off his new swimming skills to GG and Pops and Greyson bounced around in the puddle jumper. Throw in some golf, a lunch in Murphys, a visit to my personal fave, Columbia and a dinner at Round Table Pizza, which the boys thoroughly enjoyed (like father, like sons), and we had ourselves a pretty perfect trip ;-)
The boys looking out for Pops and Daddy on the golfcourse...
We're so grateful that we're able to spend this time with Grant's grandparents, who are both in amazing shape in body and mind and as chaotic as it is to have our hurricane of a family whip through the sleepy town of Angel's Camp, I think they enjoy the commotion and likely wouldn't have it any other way.
At his request, GG read Hayes his bedtime story every night before he went to bed. When I commended him for sleeping through the night there, he told me that if GG lived with us in LA, he would sleep through the night every night. GG, the guest bedroom is calling your name!!
Already looking forward to our return over Thanksgiving! Here are some snaps of the weekend for your viewing pleasure:

Greyson drinking his morning cup of joe out of GG's dad's old coffee mug...
Al fresco brekkie...
Old-school bowling in Columbia...
This was the cutest... Greyson being serenaded to some "dancing music" by a musician in Columbia...
Big bro coming in to protect him... As soon as the guy started strolling towards them, Hayes quickly steered Greyson away. Stranger Danger!
Afternoon popsicles...
Greyson kissing the frog in Murphys outside of the toy store...
Running around in their underwear on the golf course, playing with Daddy's new toy from the toy store - does life get any better than this?!
Greyson and the "dumps" at Bravo Farms...
The famous Bravo Farms treehouse...
I spy with my little eye...