30 April 2008

Meeting an Idol

Brian met someone at work yesterday who was one of his heroes growing up -- Greg LeMond. And he didn't even get a picture. Maybe next time. Anyhow, it kind of made his day.

24 April 2008

Monterey & Manhattan Beach

I almost forgot! Brian just got back from California, where he was in Monterey for the Sea Otter Classic for the last week. He was a lucky-duck and got to take a couple days to visit our friends in Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach. Sounds like they had a great time. I'll have join him next year. I need my Souers Marsch fix. Kind of sounds like a green drink, doesn't it?

Art in Our House -- Round 3

When Brian and I were about to celebrate our 5th anniversary, I was due with C at any moment. Turns out C was born a couple weeks before our anniversary -- but needless to say, we were still out of sorts by the time our anniversary came. I think we had take out sushi for dinner. Anyhow, I did plan ahead a little, and at the time, worked with an amazing artist named Eli. I commissioned him to do a portrait for Brian, and this is how it turned out:

Brian and Angela by Eulalio Fabie de Silva

It's fairly large (about 3.5' wide), hangs above our fireplace. What's really cool, is Eli had taken photos I put together to create it -- so it's a collage of some special parts of our lives. Brian's drum kit, Brian in a cafe in Berlin (also where the Creme de Cacao is from) and me under a shade umbrella at our friend's beautiful wedding in Sonoma. Since it was essentially a gift for Brian, I wanted him to be the center point, but I think it turned out very balanced. Eli worked on this for months, and I never saw the progress. It definitely exceeded my expectations.

(Part three of the Art in Our House Series: Favorite Artwork -- Wedding Gifts and From the Street of NY)

22 April 2008

Cherry Tree

Here's the cherry tree in our back yard. We just got it last year, so this is the first spring we get to watch it blossom. It makes me happy -- and so does our new fence and new garage in the background.

21 April 2008

H Smelling the ... Dandelions

The entire walk home from school, H was smelling dandelions. He loves them -- thinks they are such pretty things. By the time we got home, the evidence was all over ... his nose.

20 April 2008

Wisconsin in April Weekend

We just got back from a fun weekend in Wisconsin. Here are some photos from our river walk and one from afterwards:
C checking out the map to the Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Riverwalk
H & C walking on the Riverwalk
H & Me
My Dad & MeMy Mom & Me
C Pouting in Papa's bushes

17 April 2008

Here We Go Again

Finally, we get to play outside again. It was another beautiful day, and we can't get enough of it.

This afternoon I had a half day off -- not to play in the nice weather unfortunately -- for appointments. First, H's 6-year doctor appointment. In the past year, he's grown 3.25" and 6 pounds. He's still a shrimp, but he's doing just fine. He did need blood drawn for his first cholesterol test -- and he screamed bloody murder and milked it the rest of the day. I'm crossing my fingers he doesn't take after me in the world of high cholesterol (I was about his age when I was first tested, and it's always been dangerously high -- hence the early testing).

The second appointment was a screening for C through the school district. Yes, we were referred back to speech therapy. After ten minutes of hiding and crying, C finally went with the early education people, and the screening did determine, that yes, he needs to be further tested for speech since it's delayed. I said I wasn't surprised, and that was kind of why we were there. Don't get me wrong -- he's doing so much better than before, and we can actually hold conversations with him. But he is about 1.5-2 years behind, I'd say. It's got to be frustrating for him. He was in speech last year, and I don't think it did much (may have even backfired a bit) . Plus the system stank. Seriously, as soon as it ended, didn't hear a word from them. I think they probably lost our files or something. And even though it was government sponsored, it was expensive. School has helped a ton, but he's still struggling. Thankfully, he doesn't really know it, and it hasn't held him back.

But it was a fun day, and we did get to play.

Messy But Fun

I was nervous about this one in the house -- Moon Sand. And yes, they made a mess. But it was actually very easy to clean up, and they had a blast. It's pretty fun stuff, and supposedly doesn't dry out.

H & C were already messy from head-to-toe with all the sidewalk chalk they played with at school. But to quote a friend, "A dirty child is a happy child" which sounds simple, but makes me slow down quite a bit, when I normally would be trying to stop them from jumping in a puddle or playing with dirt, for example.

While the Boys are at School ....

Storm sleeps the day away -- in C's bed.

Don't you just want to jump in and snuggle him?

16 April 2008

Creative Creatures

H received a great dough art kid by Faber-Castell called Creative Creatures for his birthday. Here's some of his creations -- a snake, caterpillar, red cardinal, bee. Of course I couldn't resist and made a robin.

H was really excited to use them. There are many colors, but not a large amount of each. They came with the eye balls, feathers, sticks, pipe cleaner and clay tools. The dough is easy to work with and air dries. Not sure what we'll do with them now, but aren't they cute?

15 April 2008

C Says "I'm Done"

While getting ready for work/school, I came upon this creation. The juice in the hardly eaten oatmeal, with cup on top and utensils protruding from the sides, was simply C's way of saying "I'm done." And he even cut his own bananas for the top.

When the Kids Go to Sleep

This is sad (and wrong) to admit, but last night, when the kids went to bed, I played H's Nintendo DS for 1.5 hours. I even saved my settings, and instructed him not to mess with them -- that he, on his own game, needed to scroll down to the second set so he didn't screw anything up.

When he woke up this morning, I proudly announced that I made it to World 2. I thought that was ok, since the day before, I won the Coolest-Mom-
in-the-World Award as the boys watched me in awe as I reached a level further then they have seen before. (Mind you, my furthest level is really not that far -- I'm sure H will be way ahead of me in a matter of days.)

But that's not the worst thing. What's worse, is Brian came home with a game yesterday -- FIFA Soccer 08. Swore it was for H (but we know who it's really for). Poor H -- he better call first dibs the minute he walks through the door!

13 April 2008

Manchester United

Go ManU! Brian's watching the Manchester United vs. Arsenal game right now.

Here's H & C in their new jerseys -- thanks to my parent's friends in Manchester. How cool is that? We received the package last week -- what a nice surprise.

Update:  Manchester won, 2-1.  Great game.

Pick Your Own Triple Strawberry Pie

I didn't pick my own, but here's the new pie I made yesterday. Strawberry sauce, sliced strawberries and strawberry whipped cream. I made two -- one for us, and one for the kids we were watching (they left yesterday) -- because they love strawberries and cream.

10 April 2008

Having a Girl

So we are lucky enough to get to watch our friend's kids for a couple days. They are great, so it's really something we have all been looking forward to. Anyhow, their daughter is in dance, and today, I got to braid her hair before practice. I'm not even good at it, but you know what? It's really fun having another girl around. I might need to borrow her more.

April Showers & My New Boots

09 April 2008


Since we've had kids, we really try to make dinner a nightly event celebrating us as a family (no more sitting in front of the TV).  It usually consists of us wrangling C to sit still, or telling H to put his legs down, and honestly, it is very frustrating -- but I really do think it should be an important part of the day and will pay off in the end.   

When I make dinner for the family, I try to keep every one's likes and dislikes in mind -- I do realize that part of the group is a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old.  But unless I make something really spicy (H is slightly sensitive to "heat" and I can't believe he's my kid), I never make a separate meal for the just because H or C doesn't like something.  If they don't like it (after one try), they don't have to eat it, but they know the next meal they will get is breakfast.  If that's the only option, believe me, they usually do find at least a part of the meal they like.  Anyhow, I've made things I thought for sure they would love, but they don't.  And, I've made things I thought they might not like, but do.  

Last night, I made Trout with Haricots Verts and Almonds.  I thought they'd hate it.  But H has been acting as my little sous chef lately, and is proud of every dish he sets the table, so he thought it was the best thing in the world.  And even C, who normally doesn't eat a full meal, gobbled it up, didn't leave his seat and asked for more!  Maybe it was because I told them the fish guy at Whole Foods had to cut the head off, or maybe it was the skin left on, but I couldn't believe how much they liked it.  

In Cookie magazine last month, one mom made 30 new recipes -- this was one of them.  The full list is available here.

07 April 2008

Welcome to our Mornings

Ok, so it's not really like this every day. But today, C decided he didn't want oatmeal after all. No ... he wanted cereal (see box in hand). So he hid by our recycling (which is overflowing thanks to H's birthday presents) with this pathetic frown. He didn't win, by the way.

06 April 2008

Fun Birthday Weekend ... Plus Some

H woke us up at 5:30 a.m. Friday morning announcing it was his birthday. He was so excited and I'm sure felt like a king that day, as he should. He picked out his birthday treats for school months ago, and was so proud of them (he helped make them). I guess they were a huge hit (see below -- they are essentially smores).

We asked him what he wanted for dinner on his birthday. We vetoed his first choice -- Lunchables -- but gave in to the second, which was the corner hot dog place.

The next day was the big party, and it was his first friend-party. Family came down from Wisconsin, and from there, we went to My Gym. H invited 16 boys from school and they all seemed to have a blast. The birthday boy had a smile from ear-to-ear, which made it totally worth it.

Sunday was a big treat for me. I went with our neighbor friend for a little spa day. It was so nice, and could easily become a semi-annual event. We got facials and massages at Joseph Michael's and then, had lunch at Quartino. This was my third facial ever, the last being nine years ago and it was amazing. Lunch was fantastic -- I've been there once before, but can't wait to go back. We even got to eat outside (did I forget to say the weather has been incredible?). Then we came home.

To top off the birthday weekend, H had yet another party to go to at ... guess where ... My Gym. You would think he hadn't been there for years, he was so excited to go back. He even did research and asked the teachers how old you can be before you can't have your birthday party at My Gym (it's 9 going on 10, by the way). Needless to say, we are all exhausted. H could barely make it to bed. C was being a total rascal. A even the dog is zonked out behind me right now. But it was a blast.

04 April 2008

Happy 6th Birthday H!

Look how you've grown!

(4 months old)

(1 year old)

(2 years old)

(3 years old)

(4 years old)

(the other day -- 5 going on 6)

As the oldest, you are the one who is responsible for helping me find my true purpose in this world ... a parent. Thank you. Honestly, being your mom makes me happy, strong and even feel invincible (in a cautious sort of way).  

H, you are such an amazing person with a heart of gold. You are thoughtful and caring -- always looking out for others. You tend bit reserved at times -- I was the same way. I relate, and I hope you become a little more outgoing this year. Don't let it hold you back, because you have so much friendship to offer. It is so much fun watching you grow, and I can't wait to see what this coming year brings. I am so honored and blessed to be your mom. We love you!

03 April 2008

He's Had a Bad Day

Things were going fine, until ... I had to take Storm for a quick visit with the vet for some shots. Even that was fine at first. It's only three blocks away, so we got a nice little walk in. He got lots of treats. Happily walked home.

Then ... threw up. Like five big piles. Not on the hardwood floors. No, no, no! All over his bed, and the upstairs carpeting.

I called to the vet who said to come back to make sure he's not having a reaction to the shots. He threw up on the way ... twice. The vet decided to keep him there for two hours to monitor him. The good news is, Storm's fine, even though he is totally working the sad eyes (see above). But now we get to give him three medicines (two are over-the-counter, which we still need to go out and buy) and make him chicken and rice for 3 days. Because we were just was looking for more to do right now.

Brotherly Love & Sharing ...

... each other's video games.

02 April 2008

Bunny and a Chick

Seriously, I just found them like this ... and had to laugh.

01 April 2008

Earth Month 2008

Earth Month begins today. At H & C's school, this means wear-your-bright-
yellow-school-shirt-to-school day, so that is pretty exciting. And, for every 1-way trip to school that is car-pooled or done by foot this month, they get to bring a rock and put it in a jar at the school. Since we walk every day, it's not a big deal. But it is important for them to know part of the reason why we always (even in the cold and rain) don't drive those three blocks and always go by foot.

It's not always easy breaking old habits. And yes, occasionally a dirty plastic container ends up in garbage instead of the recycling bin in our house. We are working on that. But, Brian just ordered our rain barrels, and we get to pick those up this weekend. Exciting. We will be ordering our compost bin in a couple weeks.

I also wanted to mention a great green website. Our friends Alex and Joanna moved a to Michigan a couple years ago. And they have really embraced the move from urban to rural farm life. Sadly, we haven't been able to visit yet, but hope to soon. Enough about that -- Joanna started an online store called The Greater Green, which sells natural products (beauty to cleaning, pet to baby, and more). She also has a blog -- Adventures of Eco-Living. Be sure to check it out.