We went to California and here is a post about it

The boys and I went to California last week to visit my brother and sister-in-law and niece, and I will never be able to spell “niece” right the first time.

It was a tough decision to go, after we found out that Molly’s services were being held while we’d be away. She was never far from our mind during the trip, especially on Monday.

We arrived Wednesday evening, and were pretty exhausted, so we had some pizza and went to bed. I slept terribly that night, for some reason (oh right because I’m old and have insomnia) but fortunately, we didn’t have a ton planned for Thursday. Ellie and I went for a walk, where we did a little light celebrity stalking. Later, we went swimming in the neighbor’s pool and hit up Target for supplies because Friday we…

went to Disneyland! We got up super early and were on the road a bit after 6 so we could arrive around 7. In the cars on the way there (I was in the girl car with Jennifer and Ellie, and the boys rode with Uncle Evan) we all were on our phones at exactly 6:59:59 to get reservations (or whatever they call it) for the new Star Wars ride. I managed to get them for us, yay!

We spent the entire day at the park. This should really be its own post. We rode a bunch of rides (the Rise of the Resistance was completely worth the stress of getting on it, and we didn’t have to wait in any line at all, which was nice) and walked a zillion steps and had dinner at a Tiki restaurant (so good) and my feet are still disgustingly blistered, but it was worth it.

Oh, and Linus is now obsessed with Dole Whip. Hard to blame him, it was delicious!

Saturday we mostly rested, except we went and got some famous Italian sandwiches from a place down the road for lunch. In the evening, Evan and I took the boys to a LAFC (Los Angeles Football Club) game. It was fun. The food was good. I got a jacket which will come in handy during football season here (they have the same colors as the Saints) and the boys got jerseys and as usual when we go to pro soccer games, the score ended us 2-2.

(I guess we have a streak of draws too.) (When we got home, we watched Season 2, Episode 1 of Ted Lasso.)

Sunday, the kids and I went to visit my friend Robyn who used to work at Automattic, and I made a new best friend who is three years old. We had delicious ice cream after hanging out at her house and eating pizza.

Maybe my favorite picture from the entire trip. My heart was in a puddle here.

Monday was the day of Molly’s service, and I still needed to take the boys to the beach, so we stopped for some flowers on the way and made a little tribute to her at the beach. Now, she probably preferred a more tropical beach, but I like to think she would have appreciated it, even if it was cloudy and the temperature was hovering around 68 degrees.

The boys filled their bathing suits with sand and Miles swallowed half of the Pacific Ocean, so we left after a couple of hours before heading back to Evan and Jennifer’s to relax and pack. (Boo!) A few of us went to the Huntington for a sunset stroll, which was stunning, but also, my feet were still killing me. So kind of painful too.

We came home yesterday after a long day of travel to a heat index of 105 after a week of 70s, but Daddy and Ziggy were very happy to see us!

The boys’ updated room {ta-da!}

Finally! We are (almost, nearly) finished with the boys’ room makeover. Since there wasn’t going to be on a vacation this summer, I figured, why not spend that money on sometime more tangible. And the boys’ room was ripe for a makeover. The last time I did anything substantial to their room was 7 years ago when their beds were built.

Now. If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself NOT to paint the room dark navy and the beds dark gray. (Well, one would hope I’d use my time travel for more important purposes, but trust me, this weekend there was nothing more important.)

Let’s get to the good stuff first…before and after pictures. I admit, their room was in quite a state when I took the before pictures. But if I’d waited for them to clean it up just so I could take before pictures, well, I wouldn’t have paint in my hair right now.

Okay, so I didn’t do a great job taking pics of the same angles, but you get the idea. Here are a few more:

Here is what we did:

  • painted the walls Alabaster (Sherwin Williams) and the trim (beds included) ultra reflective white (SW.) I wish I’d gone with Behr paint, but SW was having a sale. I feel like the good Behr paint covers better and is about the same price as Sherwin Williams Cashmere on sale. Oh well.
    Aside: on the advice of a friend, I got a paint sprayer and it really helped the primer go on quickly. And it was fun. But I didn’t want to put expensive paint in it (it has to be thinned) so it didn’t get as much use as I would have hoped. But it’s nice to have.
  • got these LED lights. This was basically what the room was designed around. They wanted light walls to show off the LED lights better. Ha!
  • got a rug from Amazon. It’s soft and squishy and was super cheap. We don’t do rugs in our house, so I didn’t want to spend a ton in case it didn’t work out.
  • removed all of the posters and (sniff, sniff) stickers from the walls. The original theme of the room (when the boys were 3, mind you) was “under the sea” so there were sea creatures everywhere. Linus was particularly sad to have to remove these Easter stickers he got from his preK-4 teacher.
  • took down the ratty “curtains” that have been up forever (really just pieces of fleece on clips) and got light blocking 2.5″ faux wood blinds.
  • put a set of their cubicles that were next to the old dresser into the closet instead. IMG_7192
  • bought a new dresser! Real furniture! The one that was there before was a hand me down from a friend. I really think this was the first piece of furniture I’ve ever bought that didn’t have to be put together. (I mean, I love IKEA, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted something a bit more grown up, and that I could see in person first.)
  • used some of the 46 zillion soccer jerseys the boys have to decorate the wall behind the dresser. Hung their team scarves on the walls around one of the windows.
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  • moved the TV and Xbox to the dresser so the desk can be used for school, since it will be at least partially virtual this year.
  • got a butterfly chair from Target to make it more comfortable to rot their brains.

There are still a few things left to do, but I am burned out, so they’ll have to wait a bit.

  • install hooks on the back of the door for coats and jackets
  • re-hang a shelf with hooks in the desk nook for all of their medals and whatnot
  • hang the soccer team photo

I think that’s it? Overall, we are all very happy with the updated room. But I swear, I am never painting again.

01/16/2020

The boys play for the varsity (7/8 grade) soccer team at school, even though they’re only in 6th grade. And last night their team won the championships! Their team was undefeated, and I’m so proud they were a part of it, and that they played with older (and bigger!) kids, even though they were nervous about it at first.

Linus’s smile after the game is the best thing about all of it. They will not smile with their teeth showing (I have no idea why, they have perfect teeth) so catching this genuine, huge smiles from the boy who was most upset about not being put on a team with his classmates is the real victory.

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What I imagine the kids on the other team are thinking…”wait, there ARE two of them!”

01/10/2020

I went to a Benfica game with two of my teammates last night. It was fun but nerve wracking. They are the top ranked team and they played the bottom ranked team and were losing for much of the game. Pulled it off and won 2-1, thank goodness.

In related news, I think the boys are mad at me for going to a game. But I did get them souvenirs, at least.

Enjoy the giant head in front of me, btw.

Recent goings-on

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted so I’d better get back to it! I was looking at my blog stats earlier today and I’ve only posted 42 times this year, which is waaaay fewer than any other year since my stats begin. Eek! So let’s see.

The boys had their first school soccer game. They won! They were put on the 7/8 grade team, even though they’re only in 6th grade. I like to think it’s because they’re just that good, but it’s probably mostly because they’re among the older kids in their class. In any case, I’m very proud.

There’s also been some sickness. Miles and Linus have both had a day home with me. Oliver was not happy.

Oops. I started this a week ago so I’d better finish. But at least now I can add some Thanksgiving pics!

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The wild grownups spent time watching recorded episodes of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. (Always watch Jeopardy first and then WoF so you can claw back a modicum of dignity.)

My sister and I went to Orangetheory on Thanksgiving morning.

 

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Sweaty sisters

The boys didn’t touch any of the three soccer balls they brought with us, instead playing football with Uncle Rob and their cousins.

After dinner on Thursday, we had a little early birthday celebration for the boys.

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And of course the money they got was immediately burning holes in their pockets, so we hit up Best Buy that night. Wasn’t too crazy, thank goodness.

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The long-coveted Xbox.

Grandee with most of her grandkids:

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So now it’s two days before the boys turn 12, so I need to go weep in a corner.

The Great Road Trip of 2019: Part 2 (off the road)

So I’ve already blogged about the two days we spent in NYC as well as the fun we had getting to Virginia. But most of our trip was actually IN Virginia and we did a lot there, so I need to post about that now!

So uh let’s see. We arrived in Virginia Thursday night and were all pretty exhausted. Dinner. Wine. Sleep.

Friday we walked to Chipotle for lunch. Then we got ready to go our first professional soccer game. The boys were very excited. We went to Audi Field to watch DC United play New England something. I can’t remember. The boys got free scarves! The sunset from the stadium was gorgeous. Anyway, ultimately the game ended in 2-2 but we didn’t mind because it was exciting.

Saturday, the boys and I drove to my sister’s in Clifton. It’s about half an hour from Kiki’s, and it’s a pretty drive if you take the shorter (I think) route but it’s also windy and hilly so I prefer to take the boring highway route. I know, it’s bad but what can I say?

I’m going to put the rest of this behind this link. There’s a lot.

It’s been too long

What’s up? Why haven’t I been blogging? Is it that life is boring? Maybe a little. I mean, not that that’s a bad thing. Or maybe it’s been busy? Or maybe I just don’t want to sit in front of my computer when I’m not working? Maybe all of those things all at once?

(I started this post two days ago. What is wrong with me?)

Okay, here’s some random stuff we’ve been doing:

I chaperoned a field trip to the swamp and we saw lots of gators! Yay! Finally!

I finally sent Kiki the skirt we bought the fabric for in January. Egads. Look at the frogs and the flies!

The boys and I did a 5K! Oliver and Linus ran the whole thing (!) and finished in about 34 minutes. Miles and I walked with Jen and Ethan and took about twice that. It was fun. Oh, and it was the Pink Bra Run to raise money for breast cancer research, hence the…bra on the outside of my clothes.

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The boys had an end-of-season soccer party. It was kind of sad, but also cemented all of the reasons in my head we decided not to do competitive soccer again next year. I mean, we may go back one day, but probably not to the same club. Anyway, the coach had shirts made for all the boys, which was so sweet.

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George and Rob celebrated their birthday and I made them a cake. (Chocolate stout.) Aren’t they cute?

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For Mother’s Day, I got cards from the boys (and breakfast from Chef Ollie!). Later I had poke for lunch (yum) and went to see a movie with Steph and Terry (our Mother’s Day tradition.) It was pretty nice.

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Look at this beauty! My aunt passed on to me my grandmother’s old sewing machine! Isn’t she beautiful? I’m still working on getting it sewing, but I am stuck on bobbins. I’ll figure it out. I also need a table to put it in. I found the one its sitting on, but it was made for a different machine, so I need the table to be modified so this machine will fit in it. Anyway. Soon, I hope to be sewing with it! It’s pretty incredible. It’s from 1950.

As far as Me Made May goes, it’s been a success in some ways, and a fail in others. A success in that I have worn something I’ve sewn every day. A fail because I haven’t taken pictures every day. But just picture this cardigan, which I absolutely adore, worn over everything, all the time, every day. It’s the Helen’s Closet Blackwood Cardigan in this lemon knit I got at Joann’s. I’m obsessed. (Need to get a better pic, though.)

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Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor…

…well you know the thing they say about the USPS. The same could be said of the boys and soccer.

Their tournament this weekend in Alexandria (a smallish town 3 hours from NOLA) was cancelled at the last minute, but me being the cheapo that I am, booked our hotel room via hotels.com instead of the team travel agency. And of course it was non refundable. So we decided to make a road trip of it!

And so I find myself sitting in the car while the boys play in the rain (only a mist right now, but it had better get worse later since they ended the season early for this, breaking little hearts all over the state) at a park that Ren found for us. THANKS RENNY!

The exciting part of the trip for me comes tomorrow when we head an hour north to Natchitoches, the small town where I went to boarding school for nerds (LSMSA) for two years. I am hoping it will spark an interest in the boys, like when my sixth grade science teacher told me about it. (Thanks Mrs. Schucker!)

We’ll be getting a tour of the school on Monday morning but tomorrow we’ll wander around town and I’ll tell them about all some of the hijinks we got up to. And we’ll eat meat pies and get drive through daiquiris, just like the old days. Well, maybe Sonic slushes for the boys.

Well that was a weekend

Lots of things going on.

Let’s see, Saturday started out early with an hour plus drive in dense fog to Houma, a small town with a vicious soccer team. The boys played well, but alas, their team lost. It was only their third loss (the first was a friendly, so that doesn’t really count, right? and the second was in a tournament that they ultimately won so I don’t count that either, heh.) Anyway, whatever. Onward!

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Once we got home, I got to rest for about half an hour before I had to head across town to the girls’ tournament to be a field marshall, to fulfil my volunteer requirement since we get financial aid. And I got a sunburn. Ugh.

Sunday was better. We went to the World War II museum for the first time (well, it was George’s and my first time. The boys had been with camp a few years ago.) I probably should be somewhat ashamed to admit how much I learned – it helped me understand a lot about the different parts of the war and how it all happened in various parts of the world.

And I got to launch some torpedos, which is always fun.

We didn’t get to see it all, but hopefully we can go back before too long. We got a free pass from the library, which was invaluable – the tickets for everything we saw would have cost us nearly $200 if we’d had to pay. Yikes.

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After that, Terry and I took the kids to get crawfish. Yum! We somehow missed eating crawfish last year completely, which is a travesty, and I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. We took them to a restaurant that was lined with taxidermied animals. And not just any animals. There was a lion. And a monkey. It was creepy and weird and I won’t be going back there, that’s for sure. Eeek. But the crawfish was good, at least.

Yesterday was also the 15th anniversary of owning our house, which is crazy! 15 years! I know I complain about it being too small (I mean, to be fair, we weren’t expecting to stuff it with boys when we bought it.) but I hope we stay in it long enough for the boys to bring their kids one day. 😀

It’s times like this I’m glad I’ve been blogging forever. Here’s my post about our super fun closing!

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Ziggy, meanwhile, is obsessed with this squeaky ball that lights up that we caught at Mardi Gras. He very carefully carries it around in his mouth, and GOD FORBID it squeaks. And don’t try to take it from him. If you even go near it when he doesn’t have it, he’ll grab it so you can’t get it. It definitely seems like a love/hate relationship. It’s the cutest thing.

 

Back to reality

I’ve been at work for a week now, and I’m starting to remember how to do it. Ha! Things changed a lot while I was gone, and also I’m very forgetful so yeah. It took me the whole first week just to get reacclimated. Thankfully I have very kind teammates who have already taken their sabbaticals so they know what it’s like.

And then, of course, soccer has filled in all the gaps. The boys had their first tournament of the spring season this weekend, and it was in Gulfport, Mississippi. ROAD TRIP! I mean, tiny road trip. It’s only a little over an hour away. Closer than Baton Rouge, even. But it sure was nice to take in the new car! Even though she got muddy on the outside and dirty on the inside. Sniff, sniff. (Don’t worry, she’s all clean now.)

They had a game late Saturday morning, so we left bright and early. It was chilly. I took pictures. They won the first game, hurrah!

The second game should have been an easy win – the team they played had lost their previous game something like 8-1. But alas, they must have been tired and sluggish from lunch because it was a 1-1 tie.

We went to the hotel after that and rested for a bit, then met up with their friend Joseph and his family for dinner at a restaurant on the water. After that, even though I was exhausted (and surely so were they) I let them run around a park nearby for a little while.

Then we slept and woke up early, ate breakfast, met up with Joseph and his mom and sister at a school playground and they kicked a ball around for a little while, then headed to game #3. If they won this game, they’d win the tournament.

And they did! It was a nail-biter, but our goalie kicked the ball all the way across the field and scored a goal in the final minutes of the game. That was exciting!

I got a bit artsy with the pics from this game.

On the way home, we listened to a podcast about soccer, and I think I finally understand offsides now. Though I probably still won’t be able to identify it during a game. We’ll see.

This week should be fairly quiet. A couple of soccer practices, followed by a game this weekend and finally a visit to the World War II museum (scored a pass from the library!)