Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We're busy up in here, yo!

The past 2 weeks have been just so busy, I barely have time to think!  Amanda's birthday pizza party was a huge success.  Her whole class was so cute and thankful for their pizza lunch.  I had fun too, setting up the plates, doling out fruit & pizza slices.

Last week was an emotional roller coaster.  We all had MLK day off on Monday, so we headed up to Castaic to drop off the boat for some (what we thought were) minor repairs.  The floorboards were feeling a bit soft, so Mike thought a few might need replacing.  Well, turns out the whole floor is rotted, along with the supports that keep the floor up.  So we're talking thousands of dollars to repair on an already super-old boat (not worth the cost of the repairs).  Mike has an emotional attachment to the boat since it originally belonged to his dad, so he was really feeling down about it, and deciding what to do.

Then he found another boat for sale with all the extras in a boat he ever wanted.  At a very good price too.  But the guy didn't call him back for several days, so we weren't even sure the boat was still for sale.  Plus, we weren't sure we could afford it.

Then on Thursday I found out at work that due to a new 'job grading' analysis they did, I would be receiving a fairly large raise, effective immediately!  Talk about good luck (or bad luck, if you see it as I was being grossly underpaid for the past several years)!  AND, that evening the guy selling the boat called Mike back and the boat is still for sale!  He is out of town, so we agreed to come down and see it next Sunday.

Then, upon talking to various family members over the weekend, it became obvious we may not be able to fit the new boat in our backyard.  You see, in order to store our current boat, after pulling it into the backyard, we manually swing it around in a 270 degree turn, and back it into a paved spot in our backyard.  The new boat has a double-axle trailer (old boat was single) so the pivot point changes and turning it sharply becomes out of the question.  So, Mike became depressed & upset again that we may not be able to get the new boat (he refused to even think about storing it somewhere because there are no storage places with roofs in LA for boats).  THEN, after discussing with more family members, now he thinks we can just pull off one of the tires (on each side) and still pivot the boat.  So then he was happy again.

Talk about the gamut of emotions!

So on a happy note, we celebrated my grandmother's 89th birthday on Sunday at my parent's house.  Though her health could be a bit better, she is a pretty spry 89 years young.  She is hilarious because they live in a retirement community and my grandmother constantly complains that it's all "old people" so she doesn't participate in any of the activities.  Hilarious!

This weekend (Saturday the 28th) is Amanda's birthday party.  I have almost everything finished except the food which I'm taking Friday off to do.  I am also cleaning our house from top to bottom and making my own balloon arch.  Hopefully I will get it all done in time.  The balloon arch is a funny story...
So the theme for her party on Saturday is "RockStar" because Amanda loves to sing and pretend she's a rockstar.  I bought a Rock Show set from one of those half off deal sites:
and a stage background to put up the day of the party.  So then I was looking up ideas for decorations and came upon the idea of a red carpet leading up to a balloon arch.  Looked it up on Amazon and a red carpet was like $5 - score!  So then I started looking up how much a balloon arch would be.  I was seeing prices from $350-$400.  Really?  For BALLOONS?

Thus began my search for a reasonably priced balloon arch!  I love the internet.  I found a site that said how to make one yourself, and set to work.  I headed to Home Depot and (with Mike's help) for about $5 got some PVC pipe to act as the base on either side.  Then I bought some aluminum wire on Amazon for $5 for the arch, and some pink & purple balloons from the 99 cent store.  All in all, I think I spent barely over $20.  Now it just remains to be seen how this will look!  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fabulous Five!

My baby girl is 5 today!

 This picture was taken this past weekend at a friends' birthday party at Scooter's Jungle.  She was so excited to turn 5 just like all her friends!

She is turning into quite the little lady.  She is often shy at first, but (just like me) opens up quickly and likes to make sure everyone is included.  I often hear from her teachers that she is the first one to approach a new friend in the class and befriend them.  I couldn't be prouder! 

She has a quick wit like her dad and will often have us laughing around the dinner table.  She can often be super-sensitive and quick to cry, but usually a quick hug and she's back to her mischevious self.  She has been an amazing older sister and loves her little brother to peices (most days).

She will start Kindergarten this Fall, although we don't know where yet.  That's the fun of living in the city near a school that has horrible API scores.  I will keep you posted on what happens with that.  But suffice it to say, I don't want her to go to the school down the street!

The 'norm' at our new school is for the parents of the birthday child to provide a pizza lunch for the class.  So I will be heading down there at noon today to provide pizza, fruit, juice & cupcakes to all the kids.  We also put together 'goody bags' for everyone with a personalized card from Amanda in each one (she is quite the artist lately).  Happy Birthday to my litttle (big) girl!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Christmas & after Christmas photos

So, for Christmas Day I was asked to bring a pie for dessert.  I decided to finally put my apple peeler/corer/slicer to work and make an apple pie!  Amanda wanted to help, and being that all you have to do is crank, I said "OK"!  So here she is cranking out the apples for our apple pie!
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Christmas eve at my sister's house, here's my mom & Kevin.
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And Amanda discovered Andrew's Leapster. My mom helped her with some of the games, and they had a good time for at least an hour!
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After dinner, it was time to open a present, and Amanda picked one from Aunt Erin & family. She opened it and discovered it was the same present she had just gotten from my best friend! Oops!
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Then the kids wanted to take a bath, so we ran a bath thinking the older two would take a bath first, and then the younger two afterwards. Ummm, nope. Everyone wanted to get in the bath together. So that's what they did!
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(I have no pics from Christmas Day)

On the Wednesday after Christmas we headed to Travel Town at Griffith Park with our good friends the Mascari's. Here's Amanda & Nick next to a train wheel.
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And the whole group walking on the train tracks.
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I tried to get all 4 kids in one shot, but didn't get that great of a pic. Mady couldn't see over the top very well, and Amanda was being silly.
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Daddy helping Kevin walk on the tracks.
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And Kevin's FAVORITE part - riding on the train!
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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!!

I wish I had some punctuating thing to say about 2011 but really it was a pretty benign year for us.  Amanda turned 4 and Kevin turned 2.  I had LASIK.  That's about the extent of the really memorable stuff.  I guess that's how you want it to be :)

We are hitting the ground running again this year.  We're already booked up for almost every weekend in January and well into February.  Amanda's "rockstar" birthday party is the last weekend of January.  I dawdled in getting the invites out until mid-December so I decided to delay it a week and do it the 28th (even though her birthday is the 17th).  I have the goodie bags bought, decorations purchased and entertainment booked.  Just have to figure out the food.  And pray the weather is good.  It's a crap-shoot in January.  Some years it's been cold & rainy, and other years it's warm & sunny.  Amanda really wanted to have her party at home with a bouncer, so cross your fingers it stays warm & sunny for us!

New Years was quiet as usual.  Kids went to bed at their normal time.  I considered letting Amanda stay up until 9pm to watch NY turn to midnight but Mike put the kibash on that.  We rented "Captain America", and played a game of Monopoly (I won), kissed at midnight and then I went to bed.  Since I won Monopoly, Mike got up with the kids at 6:30, then he went back to bed when I got up at 8.   I discovered Target was open at 8am on New Years Day, so we headed to Target and got some shopping done with Mike slept in until about 10:30.  The kids were super-good that day as well. 

Actually all last week (their school was closed and Mike had the week of) they were on their best behaviour.  Sometimes I wonder if school is actually teaching them bad habits, or maybe they don't get enough nap or something... but man all week I came home to glowing reports of how they played nicely together with their new toys and rarely fought!  Go kids!  I took Wed. off and we headed over to Travel Town at Griffith Park.  Kevin is really into trains lately, and he LOVED it, especially riding on the train that goes around the park!

Then I had to work on January 2nd :(  First time since 2006, but I had to go in for a half day to get our year-end accruals in to corporate.  They insisted they have everything by end of day on the 2nd (even though they take the rest of the week to actually post everything).  Turned out to not be that bad of a day.  Hardly anyone was in the office, and those that were there showed up with food, food and more food!  I had a McDonalds egg McMuffin, a donut and a bagel for breakfast.  Then our CFO bought us lunch at The Counter too.  Plus the VP of Accounting brought in a hoard of desserts and tequila shots for after lunch!  I was done with work by 12:30, but stuck around until 2 eating and playing games.  If I had made any sort of resolution to eat less, yesterday would NOT have been good for me!

My only real resolution this year is to be better organized.  We're starting with a cleaning lady.  I finally broke Mike down and he is allowing me to have her come once a month.  It's not as nice as every 2 weeks, but it's better than nothing!  We will still have to do the in-between cleaning, but I'm hoping this will help us all stay better organized and less cluttered.

Cheers to the new year!