Monday, June 27, 2011

Swimming lessons


Today starts week 2 of swimming lessons. The boys are doing 3 weeks of swimming lessons, 3 days each week. Vander is loving it and Oliven is coming to terms with it. He cried the whole first lesson, tolerated the second lesson, and was okay with the third lesson. We will see how this week goes. Vander is such a big boy now that he does his swimming lessons with just the instructor! Oliven's are mommy or daddy and me.

Birthday weekend

The boys had a great time with weekend. Addison  and Jake's birthday party was on Saturday. The boys got to ride a unicorn and pet: chickens, ducks, a peacock, bunnies and goats. Super cute. Vander is really all about cake. Sunday was Stella's birthday and the boys got to do lots of splashing and swimming in little pools. They liked the water balloon toss the best. We went to Grammy and Pop's house for dinner and had a good afternoon. Michael and Nicole came over to play games in the evening which was the perfect ending to Justin's vacation.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Potty Training

Vander has really not shown any interest in potty training at all, so we told him the "Diaper Fairy" was going to come and take his diapers away. That was three days ago now. He has had 4 successes and so far about 7 pee throughs, but it's a process. He is still in diapers for nap time and bed time. He is trying really hard.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Justin took the rest of the week off so we could give our kids lots of attention after being gone for 5 days. We took advantage of the "staycation" and took the boys to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Vander absolutely loved it. Oliven enjoyed himself too, but he is still growing teeth so he has not been feeling great. Vander liked the Sea horses the best. Oliven liked the Sea Turtles. Justin enjoyed the penguins and I liked the jelly fish. In the afternoon Vander got to go over and jump on Nathaniel's trampoline so we had a great day overall.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Van and Ollie's four days with Grammy and Pops.

Here is the list Grammy and Pops sent of the fun they had with the boys while we were away:
-we went to the "p-a-r-k" park and played on all the equipment, but liked swinging the best
-played in Vander's room for hours on end watching his favorite cars Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater race down a make shift ramp
-played "I Spy" on a walk looking for various items; we could find most of them, but never the elusive "cat" that was on the list
-played "Pop the balloon" in Vander's room trying to make sure each of us hit it only once to keep it in the air
-answered the question "why?" to too many questions too many times to count
-squirted water guns at the pool in the back yard when we weren't making bubbles or swinging and singing
-Vander went to three grocery stores and Oliven only two, but we made sure to get cookies at each store
-Vander had a "super duper big boy burger" at McDonalds while Oliven munched on a chicken sandwich at Pop's and Grammy's house after shopping...both boys enjoyed the fries soooooooo much!
-on Father's Day we had bagels that Uncle Mitch and Katie brought and proceeded to give piggy-back rides and play yet more in Vander's room
-went to Oakridge Mall to get a Jamba Juice, and Vander thought it was the best thing ever!!!  Oliven was not as enthused, but did have several sips just to make sure
-promised Vander a "real" ramp for his Matchbox cars when he learns to go potty and make poops in his baseball potty chair

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New York City!!!




Larry and Theresa agreed to watch Oliven and Vander so Justin and I could go on a trip to NYC in celebration of my 30th birthday. What a trip!!! We left here June 15th around 8:30pm to catch a red eye flight to New York City. We flew into the JFK airport in Queens. Justin got about 2 hours of sleep, I got about 1. We met up with Sexy Justin Williams at the airport. He flew in from his vacation in San Diego to meet up with us. We had a slight issue with the airbus in that there wasn't one going from our terminal to his at the time, so we had him come to us. He decided that we should get the New York experience and hail a taxi to his house. $61 dollars later our trip had officially begun. We dropped our stuff off at Justin's apartment (which filled his entire little bedroom even though we really didn't bring that much stuff-we didn't even check any luggage). We went to Sbarro's all you can eat touristy breakfast. SJ (Sexy Justin) really wanted to try the place, but just couldn't bring himself to do it without tourists in tow. To be honest the food was not very good...eggs with no flavor, french toast was alright, but I think that is just because it tasted like syrup. The guys enjoyed mountains of bacon. I enjoyed the latte- yay for caffeine after no sleep.
   After breakfast we headed down to Battery Park area to catch a ferry to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty. Sexy Justin made a reservation for us because apparently that makes it so you can skip the line. It is really nice to have a local with you! We bought one week unlimited subway passes for $29 each. Well worth it in the end as every subway ride costs $2.25 no matter how far you go. Anyway, we got on the fairy rather quickly and went to say hello to the Statue of Liberty. She was exactly what I imagined she would be. It was really very cool, but after seeing the statue there really isn't anything else you can do because apparently if you want to go up into the statue you have to book that months in advance- who knew??? We caught the ferry over to Ellis Island and went through the museum all about the immigrants. It was pretty interesting. There was a long wait to get back on the ferry to the mainland. We got back around 4:30pm and we were all pretty hungry so we went to an Irish pub for a late lunch for hamburgers and Justin had a steak sandwich with a side of tater tots. Sexy Justin brought us there because he loves the tots. We decided to go check into our hotel, the Chelsea Lodge, and take a nap.
   We met up with Sexy Justin at 8:30pm to head over to WD-50 for dinner. This is Wylie Dufresne's restaurant. Dufresne is a leading American proponent of molecular gastronomy, the movement to incorporate science and new techniques in the preparation and presentation of food. Sexy Justin didn't enjoy his food. (Duck breast, apple, cheddar, kimchee-cous cous), Justin loved his (Lamb skirt steak, pistachio ‘polenta’,endive marmalade, spiced apricot) and I liked mine (Halibut, hen o’ the woods, burnt lemon, soybean, mushroom jus), but I loved the atmosphere and watching Wylie work in the kitchen (we have seen him on Top Chef several times) and his chef de cuisine Jon Bignelli who Justin and I saw win Chopped. We could see them in the kitchen as we ate. They also made me a special dessert that was divine with chocolate on the bottom and some kind of coconut yumminess wrapped around a candle. They also served frozen cream with rice crispies for dessert. Very cool! We decided that the tiny tiny dessert bite we had was just not enough so we went out for ice cream by SJ's place before calling it a night.
   Friday morning we woke up and grabbed some NY bagels for breakfast. We met up with SJ and headed over to Central Park. We walked through and enjoyed the vast greenery in the middle of the city. We went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET). While we were in there admiring the great array of art it started to pour and thunder and lightning. We tried to wait it out, but eventually decided we would just have to suck it up and get wet. Our goal was to not ruin the camera or our cell phones. Justin and I went up to the Top of the Rockefeller center. There were great views of Central park from there and lots of building tops, but it was raining pretty hard so we didn't stay up there too long. We went to get into the raffle for tickets to Wicked. Not only did Sexy Justin's name get called, but mine did as well. We only claimed one set which made everyone else waiting very very happy. We got front row center tickets to Wicked for $26 each!!! We went back to change as quickly as we could and grabbed a slice of pizza, and a chocolate dipped ice cream cone from a street vender. What an AMAZING show! Wow, it really changes your perspective. Fabulous writing! After the show we were hanging out in Time Square and Drummond called to see if he could meet up with us as he was going to have to work the next day when we were supposed to get together. So, he met up with us at midnight and we decided to go to Katz's Deli for a midnight snack. Wow is there food delish. Best pastrami I've ever had and such yummy pickles. It was great to see Drummond. The subway we needed to get back wasn't running, so we had to find another one and wait a while. We went to bed around 3am. (We figured that would help keep us on West coast time anyway).

    Saturday we wanted to go to Dim Sum for brunch, so we found a place in the Zagat guide called the "Golden Unicorn." We went down to China town and at 11am we were told to go up to the 3rd floor. We were seated and ordered what we wanted. We were eating a little on the light side because we knew we were going to eat pizza in a few hours. It was the BEST Dim Sum I have ever tasted....Super delicious! I liked it so much I wanted to go back again the next day! We got our bill and each guessed what it would be. I guessed $65....the total bill was $29!!! For all 3 of us!!! After that we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. We were going to have lunch at Grimaldi's pizza, but after seeing the 100+ people in line, we decided to have a NY pizza at the place down the street, Ignazio's. Yummy meatball pizza. SJ has eaten at both places and said he couldn't tell the difference so I feel confident we made the right choice.We went to the Ice Cream factory and had delectable handmade ice cream with a view of the bridge. Super yummy. Afterwards we took the subway to the Empire state building and went up to the top. Wow...much better than top of the Rock. Breathtaking and amazing! We headed over to try our luck in the drawing for tickets to Book of Mormon. The odds of winning tickets were like 2 in 400, but low and behold Justin's name was the first one called, so we got tickets for the front row for $32 each! We changed our clothes, I drank an Odwalla and Justin had cookies, and went to the show. WOW!!! Phenominal, hilarious! FABULOUS! The hottest show on Broadway and we got to see it in the front row. The people behind us paid $370 for their tickets! After the show we were exhausted. We went back to the hotel and went to bed. SJ went to a party and someone tried to mug him.
      Sunday morning at 11am we got in line to get rush tickets to How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying. This production was staring Daniel Radcliff (Harry Potter) and John Larroquette (from Night Court). We were in about the 7th row, but it was really cool to be that close to Harry Potter! The show's plot very much reminded us of Freddy- being very wise and charismatic. Between getting our $30 rush tickets and seeing the musical we went to have lunch at Empanada Mama's. Yummy. I got my cosmopolitan- a must drink in NYC.  After the play we went out to Spanish tapas while SJ took a nap. Justin and I enjoyed the tapas of lamb meatballs, blood sausage, artichoke gratin, and eggplant sheep/mozzarella cheese with roasted red pepper on charred bread at Txikito in Chelsea. That night we met up with SJ and went to see The Green Lantern movie in 3D. They did a great job. It was all we expected it to be. It was cool to see it in 3D as well (Justin is against spending the extra money for 3D, but SJ and I really wanted to). SJ came back to our hotel with us while we packed and said our goodbyes. He was a fabulous tour guide. It was really awesome to get to spend time with him again-it has been too long since we lived in the same city!
   Monday morning Justin and I bought a bagel from a street vendor. They were so bad we threw them away and got doughnuts from Duncan Doughnuts instead. We headed over to go on the NBC studios tour. We got to see the Saturday Night Live set, the Dr. Oz set, and the Nightly News. I got to be the news anchor and we bought the video. (Vander thinks I'm so cool!) We had a little more time so we went over and saw the New York public library. We bought some hotdogs from street vendors in Time Square. We then headed back to get our luggage and took the subway back to the airport. Our adventure was coming to a close. 11 hours later we were home and back to reality. What a fabulous trip!!! I absolutely loved New York!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Beach adventures

92 degree day and a friend who wants to take Vander and I to the beach with her. Yes please! Vander and I went to the beach with Arielle and Sabrina and had a great time. It's a rule in our house that Justin doesn't get to go to the beach with our children until they solidly love it, because he will inevitably poison them against it and that would be super sad. He has a dislike for sand that he got from his mom. I'm hoping it stops there because I have always really enjoyed the beach, and you can't have fun at the beach if you don't like sand. The two go hand in hand. We left after quiet time and went straight down to build a sand castle. Soon after Vander wanted to get in the water, so we all went in. Vander got a little overzealous and fell down into the ocean water a couple times and after getting plowed down by one of the waves and getting water in his face he decided he should hold my hand full time. That's what I wanted so it worked out nicely. He liked throwing mud into the water and jumping the waves. He got cold pretty quickly (not a wonder in that freezing cold water), so went went up and played in the sand some more. Mostly Vander destroyed castles. Sabrina thought that looked fun so she destroyed as well. I was able to build a pretty nice drip castle before it all got destroyed. We rinsed the kids off in the ocean to get them dressed. That's when I realized Vander's change of clothes was next to my bag, but not in it. I had a diaper and my shirt, so along with a pair of Sabrina's pants- not his greatest outfit- we headed up to get a slice of $1 pizza for dinner. After that we headed home...tired and sandy, but having had a great time. Thanks Arielle and Sabrina for taking us along for the fun!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Super duper walker, teeth grower, and talker

It's such a natural progression over time when you are immersed in your kids lives that sometimes you forget to mention to others what a fabulous walker your little baby boy is...he's gotten pretty good. He can walk the whole house now. He has even moved on to climbing couches. He doesn't want to give up his bottles, but that will come. I tried giving him a cup instead and he cried. He also still likes his milk warm....what a baby. (just kidding) He had a fever over the weekend as he is growing in his 4th molar! Yikes...He has 11 and 1/2 teeth so far. Oliven has also been talking up a storm. He says: mama, mommy, dada, brother, ball, grammy, Vander, and some other words that I'm not remembering at the moment, though I remember being shocked when he said them the first time. He really likes b words.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cookbook club

Hannah invited me to join a group of ladies who like to cook to join a cookbook club a year ago. It's been fun, once a month getting together and trying out everyone's recipes. This month was something you love, but don't make that often. Our menu this month was:gravlax two ways for appetizer, lasagna, an Indian dish of lamb and peas,caramelized onion quiche, yorkshire pudding-bangers-mash-gravy for the main dish. (Ooops, we forgot the veggie sides and salads!) Finished with off with blueberry spice cake, chocolate coconut macaroons, Mandle bread and cinnamon rolls!

Father's Day observed and Duck Races 2011



Since Justin and I will be in New York for Father's Day this year we decided to celebrate it early. We went to Flames Friday morning for a Father's Day brunch and Justin got a Green Lantern shirt. I also opened my birthday gifts- I got some cute clothes for NY, two kindles ;) (I'm going to let Justin use one), and a check. We had Larry's Father's Day dinner on Saturday. His gift is that Justin, Mitch and Vander are going to take him to an A's game this season. Sunday morning was the Duck races, which Vander talks about all year. Sadly, Oliven had a fever so Ollie and I stayed home this year. Vander had fun watching the races, picnicing and bounce house sliding.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Oliven's blanket

It took me a long long time, but I finally finished sewing Oliven's blanket. Vander's was easier because GGMa helped me over Christmas, and there were other family members to watch Vander. For Oliven's I didn't have that luxury, so I did it all myself and again I had to sew it all by hand, but it's done- finally and I think it turned out pretty good. I really wanted to be fair with my boys and I feel like so far I am accomplishing that -this blanket was a big hurdle.

Haircuts

We took Oliven in for his first official haircut, not just my feeble attempts to keep it from getting ridiculously out of hand. Vander's haircut turned out alright. Oliven wouldn't sit still and ended up with a buzz cut...I was an emotional mess watching my baby's baby hair being cut off. I was laughing, but trying really hard not to cry. Why was this so emotional? I don't know exactly other than my baby is growing up so fast. Vander said to me this morning, "Well Oliven isn't a baby anymore mommy, he's a toddler walking man." He's so right. He's been walking all over the place and while I am so proud of him I am feeling nostalgic as well.