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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I have a few minutes of unusual calmness while the littles nap and my eldest runs barefoot on the golf course in 45 degree weather trying to get a close-up of the deer (what does he think this is, a safari or something?) and thought I'd steal away to reflect on what I'm thankful for this year.
Everyone keeps talking about how shitty 2016 was - between celebrity deaths (I know people who literally cried when Prince died), more mass shootings and then the icing on the cake, effing Donald Trump being elected to serve as the leader of the free world, I get it. 

But from a personal perspective, 2016 was a pretty incredible year for us. We moved into a house that we literally dreamed up and built from scratch. Our daughter was born on one of the happiest days of my life. We made countless new memories with our friends and family, taking trips to Hawaii, Cape Cod and Austin. And we welcomed a new brother to the family when Thomas and Aunt V got married in October. 
We have so much to be thankful for and although we should try and remember that throughout the year, sometimes the hustle and bustle of everyday life gets in the way and it's hard to see the bigger picture. So, on this Thanksgiving week, here are some of the things I'm most thankful for this year:

Our health. For the most part, everyone in our lives is healthy and that will always come number one on the scale of what's important and what's not. I battled a pesky kidney stone again this year and just being off my feet for a couple of days was a good reminder of how important your health is. It was a wake up call to take my health more seriously and since then, I've made a conscious effort to drink more water (for reals), get back to the gym (well, in my case, Cardio Barre once a week - baby steps) and take better care of myself. 

We have a roof over our heads (and a nice one at that!). We built a house on a darling street in a good neighborhood a block and a half away from an amazing elementary school. Because of that, our kids can partake in the sorts of things all kids should be able to experience during their youth - block parties, trick-or-treating, twinkly lights and cheesy blow-up santas on lawns around the holidays. And it's pretty amazing that this little slice of suburbia in the big city means we're still within walking distance to a Starbucks and a decent thai place - the whole reason I like living in a huge city like Los Angeles in the first place!
Our kiddos. When Henley arrived earlier this year, our family really felt complete and I am so thankful for my boys AND my girl. Watching the relationship grow between Hayes and Greyson has been fascinating. I always remind them that they could be each other's best friend if they wanted to be and for the most part, they heed this advice. And Henley is just such a joy to be around - not only is she as delicious as can be, her temperament is so amazingly easy going, I truly enjoy her company.
Grant. It's been 17 years since we first stole a kiss at that Cypress Hill concert and although there are an incredible amount of distractions that we face in our daily lives, I'm happy to wake up next to him every morning and couldn't have chosen a better partner to navigate this crazy life with. 

Our nanny. We had a rough go of it this year when our longtime nanny, Lolo decided to leave to pursue another opportunity and experienced a little bit of nanny turmoil trying to find her replacement. I truly believe that all of that happened for a reason - had we not gone through that turmoil, we never would have found Colisha, who has been the perfect addition to our family. The kids love her, we love her - and we're incredibly lucky that Grant and I can go to work every morning knowing our kids are in good hands.
And finally, work. I've been working under the same roof for 13 years now, 11 of them spent with my boss, Jeffrey, whom I consider a dear friend. He's patient with my crazy schedule and makes me feel like a valuable and integral part of the team. Not to mention he keeps me sane by allowing me to continue to escape the craziness of being home with 3 kids! I am truly lucky to be in the work situation I am in and will be forever grateful that I was able to spend these important years of my kids' lives not feeling like I was missing out - and also loving what I was doing when I was doing it.

This week, we're up at my favorite place, Angel's Camp with Grant's extended family. As I sit here typing, the smell of delicious pulled pork simmering away in the slow cooker wafts through the air. Hayes is helping his aunt and great grandmother make a coca cola cake. The sun is starting to set, casting a glow on the gorgeous Fall leaves outside on the trees. 

And there's a Nasty Woman t-shirt hanging in the front yard. 
There's nowhere I'd rather be and in this moment, I couldn't be more thankful.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Greyson: This is Two...

Grey Grey turns three today!
Hard to believe he's only three - from what we can tell, he is wildly advanced for his age and we frequently forget just how little he still is. His mind is going a million miles a minute and sometimes, I find myself just snatching up his little toddler body and pulling him in close, trying to soak in these fleeting moments of him being a two year old while I can.

Happy birthday, to our wild and hilarious Greyson Decker Cohen!
This is two:

You are literally a ball of energy, on the go go go from morning until nighttime. You are a seriously early riser, often waking pre-6am wanting to "watch a show!". Since you share a room with Hayes and we don't need more than one kid awake when the sun is still down, you kind of hold the power, so you'll often start your days watching Apple TV in the dark on the couch while the rest of the house sleeps. Your favorite shows are Rescue Bots, Batman and Team Umi Zoomi. You are obsessed with superheroes, particularly Batman. You wear your Batman jammies whenever they're clean and like to run around saying "I'm Batman!" in a deep, Batman voice. For Halloween this year, you were Captain America and the rest of the family followed suit and dressed up like superheroes. You idolize your brother, Hayes and want to be just like him, insisting on wearing his clothes and shoes everywhere. You guys are like two peas in a pod, mostly getting along, but also at each other's throats. Daddy and I spend our days refereeing the two of you, but you are a tough little guy who will stick up for himself so we don't worry too much. When Hayes is around his friends, you try desperately to keep up. Sometimes they bully you and that kills me a little bit, reminding me how small you really are - but I know one day roles will be reversed and we keep telling Hayes to watch out because soon enough you'll be kicking his butt on the playground. You test our limits nonstop and seem to relish in doing naughty things. But you're the first person to rat yourself out, finding it funny when you've done something you know you shouldn't have done and almost asking to get in trouble for it. Disciplining you is hard, because you don't really care enough about anything for us to threaten to take it away! Except your Batman jammies. You are still sleeping in a crib and we don't understand why you haven't climbed out of it yet. We've made you think that you'll get the worst boo boo ever if you climb out, but you've been athletically capable for a year now and we think you just really like your crib. You're very particular about your sleep routine and what is in your crib when you go to bed - you wear full pajamas for nap time, and only recently started sleeping with a pillow (that had to be from Hayes' bed) and a small stroller blanket that belongs to Henley. You insist on us singing you Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer before you go to sleep and get furious when we change the words. You are a lover and one of my favorite things you do is when you come over to give me a hug out of the blue and smooch a random part of my body, like my neck or arm. We potty trained you over the summer and you caught on immediately, although going #2 took a little longer. By the time you were three, you weren't in diapers at all anymore. You don't eat very much and are your typical picky toddler - you insist on plain bagels with butter for breakfast every morning and if you had your choice, all of your food would be frozen. You love fruit, except for blueberries. You hate meat and sometimes I think you might be a vegetarian. You are an athletic freak for someone your age and have great coordination and a competitive spirit. Recently, your school did a jump-a-thon and while the majority of your classmates did 40-50 jumps, you did 80. It kills you when you can't do something as well as Hayes and you have determination like I've never seen before. You learned how to swim this year and also started soccer, which you love. For your third birthday, we got you a skateboard and had no trepidation about whether you were too young for a gift that seemed to be catered to an older child. You tend to do sports with your left hand and foot, which makes us think you might be a leftie. Your teachers love you and told us that they miss you when you're not at school - and I think they really do! You have an amazing sense of humor and totally get the concept of telling jokes and working a crowd. You love to put your hands behind your head and exclaim, "This is the life, dude!". You have a great memory and refer to things in the past as happening "Last morning".  Your favorite color is blue - and you always want the blue cup with the blue top and the blue giraffe plate. When you are really into explaining something, you move your head back and forth in a teasing sing-song way, which is adorable. You're fast. We can barely keep up with you when you run away from us, which you do at least once a day, either protesting bedtime or because you've sneaked into the pantry and stolen some cookies to eat before dinnertime. You actually believe that certain shoes make you run faster and that my kisses are capable of giving you a power boost. You are a great big brother to Henley, showering her with love and affection. Every night when I'm nursing her to sleep, you creep into her room and give her a hug and kiss goodnight. And you are genuinely happy when you see her in the morning, exclaiming "Hen-wee!" and running over to greet her. You get your f's mixed up with your s's. You pronounce 'sparkling water' 'fucking water'. You love coffee and nothing makes you happier than a cup full of ice you can stick your hands in. You call it 'hide and sneak'. You love to play with cars, racing them all over the house and along the walls. You like to pretend to be bees with Daddy under the blanket in bed in the morning, running into the front room to sting me and Hayes. You love your Dad - he is by far your favorite person in the world and the two of you have a connection that makes my heart swell. As a fellow middle child, I have empathy for your position in the family order and I've learned that a little bit of patience goes a long way with you. You keep us on our toes and add an energy to our household that I couldn't imagine not having. You have high highs and low lows and you do everything with a gusto that I know will take you far. You've already given us so much in your short three years of life and I am excited (and slightly terrified!) for what you have in store for us in the future.

Tonight, we're having some friends over for pizza, cake and presents and in a few weeks, Grant and I will take Grey to Disney for a solo day with Mom and Dad.

Happy birthday, Grey Grey. We love you! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Cohen to the Chapel...

October was a whirlwind. Between new nannies, unnecessary kidney stone surgeries, croup, Halloween, various travel... oh and a pretty darn important weekend for our dear Aunt V, who married long-time beau Thomas, it was go go go and not a whole lot of time to keep y'all up to date on the happenings.

So I'm diving back in, hitting the ground running with all of the best intentions of the updates coming to you in more regular intervals (although who am I kidding, with Thanksgiving and Christmas on deck, it'll probably be January before I check back in again!). 

Let's start with Victoria's wedding weekend, shall we?

Aunt Jess, Hank and Gus made a special visit out to LA to spend some quality cousin time and her and I took the older three boys to the happiest place on earth, Disneyland. The crowds weren't too terrible and we spent the day riding the rides and eating cotton candy to our heart's content. Shockingly, the good ole Monorail generated the most interest from those three daredevils so we saved that "ride" for last before hitting up the gift shop for some monorail souvenirs and heading home. 

Hayes behind the wheel... yikes!
On 'It's a Small World', which the boys found dreadfully boring...
On the submarine, which I found dreadfully boring...
The whole clan + Aunt Wee Wee and Uncle Ryan caravaned down to Palm Springs the next day for the highly anticipated wedding weekend, meeting up with Nana and Papa and staying at a house in La Quinta. Unfortunately, Greyson got a really nasty case of croup, which meant that I had to skip out on the rehearsal dinner festivities and after spiking a fever of 103.7 (seriously have never had any of my kids as sick as that little guy was that night), we decided a quick trip to Urgent Care the morning of the wedding was in order, just to rule out pneumonia or any other serious respiratory illness. A steroid shot and nebulizer treatment later, he was on the mend and rallied big time for the wedding later that afternoon.
Wee Wee entertaining the kiddos...
Oh Grey Grey!
The wedding was great, held at the very picturesque La Quinta resort in a garden that Greta Garbo supposedly frequented. Victoria was, not surprisingly, the most beautiful bride and the ceremony was very intimate and personal, officiated by G Pops and made complete with welcome remarks from Grant andTommy's brother, Danny, and readings from yours truly and Tommy's other brother, Mike. Weather was great, kids behaved and we spent a fun night dancing underneath the stars with friends and family.

Grant and the other GG
GG and Pops
Mother of the bride, Nini
Grey Grey waving to the crowd (Hayes was too fast to snap a pic!)
Darryl, trying to hold it together...
Pops officiating...
Mr and Mrs Burke!
Victoria always wanted her wedding weekend to be more about hanging with friends and family and less about the actual wedding itself, so they flip flopped the big night and the casual "rehearsal" dinner. It was really nice to be able to relax for the rest of the weekend, even though our sick kiddos kind of put a damper on things, but it definitely felt like more of a vacation and less of an event, in a good way.

Anyways, I'm not even coming close to explaining the week's festivities in a way that accurately explains how nice it was to spend time with the family on both sides, but hopefully the pictures will help tell the story in a more effective way than my rushed words.