Monday, November 27, 2023


 I literally took a single picture on Thanksgiving. I didn't get any cute "cooking in the kitchen" shots or a posed family photo with the feast in front of us. What I did catch is this moment when all three kids were serving themselves pie and Eli dosed out the whipped cream straight from the can, the way the Lord intended it. And honestly, I'm not mad about it. 

I have been reflecting on gratitude a lot lately. For someone who can fall down the green-eyed rabbit hole pretty quickly, it's a refreshing change. Sure, there's lots of things I'd love to have: a cleaner house, newer clothes, more vacations, animals that don't smell. But damn, I have so much to be grateful for. Like a husband who still makes me laugh and a house that I love and warm water and kids that are hilarious and sweet and like being around all of us. And whipped cream. Always whipped cream. 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Kitten update

I haven't updated on the kittens! They're quickly becoming non-kittens, and poor Kirby got to be re-neutered a couple weeks ago. Turns out One Nut Kirbs was an inaccurate nickname. But on the plus side, he's not peeing on stuff anymore! 

They're just so fun. They're both getting bigger by the minute. Kirby likes to hang out with us and Boo spends most of his time in Averson's room. Both of them like to sleep with C and I, which is just delightful. They're a little saucy and sometimes swipe at my geriatric dogs when they know they can't get back to them and there was a situation with one of C's crayfish (we can't talk about it, but just know there are no witnesses so any allegations are purely conjecture) but I definitely think we're turning into a cat family 


Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Disneyland and Universal and LA, oh my!

 So... a few months ago I reached out to my Disney travel agent and booked a trip to Universal and Disneyland, told my sister, and then promptly forgot all about it. Until about four days before we were slated to leave. And that's how you get to condense all your typical neurotic energy and planning anxiety from weeks and months to three short (oh my god why are days so short) days of selective laundry and throwing shit together. 

I highly recommend it. 

We hit this trip HARD. We drove down on a Friday (6 hours) and checked into a hotel that my Beverly Hillbilly clan just could not get over. I finally had to whisper-yell "act like you've been indoors before!" after the third exclamation over the lobby staircase. In their defense, it was a nice hotel. The best part though was the outdoor patio they had with a giant checkers set that inspired literal hours of playing various games and challenges

On Saturday we met up with my sister to go to the La Brea Tar Pits and the LA Abandoned Zoo. I did not have high hopes for either of those adventures but they turned out to both be a blast! At the tar pits you can literally find asphalt (not tar, the place is misnamed) bubbling up out of the grass. We poked a lot of sticks into it. And the zoo was such a cool, unique experience. It's the LA Zoo from the 20s and when it got decommissioned, they just... moved the animals? So now there's all these enclosures you can climb around in. It was gritty and weird and urban and pretty cool for all involved. Also, Eli had paint pens in his bag (I don't ask questions anymore) so everyone got to contribute to the community art. 

Sunday was Universal Studios, with an early entry into Super Mario Land (or Nintendo World?) PSA: If you get to the parking lot at 8:00, you won't get to the actual park until 8:30. There were a lot of feelings about that. BUT. Nintendo Land did NOT disappoint. It's every fantasy every 80's kid ever had about being sucked into the original Mario Brothers. There are bricks to punch and everything is bright and cartoony and they have little mushroom benches that were the perfect place to people watch. Unfortunately my sister and her girls ended up stuck on the ride for over an hour in what was not the last ride they had to walk off of, so that was kind of a bummer. But we soldiered on! Sydney discovered a love for thrill rides, I took Averson and my 8 year old niece on the Harry Potter ride that we all loved, and Eli and C spent half the day collecting gold coins and geeking out together. There were a lot of good moments, but my favorite will always be the pure joy on Eli's face after he bought the Toadstool hat.

I <3 the Jurassic World ride so very much


After Universal, we drove to Anaheim and checked into our Disney-adjacent hotel. The kids also declared this one "so fancy" but it was decidely more utilitarian than the first. But it had bunkbeds and a juice dispenser in the breakfast room. So keep that in mind if you're planning hotels with kids. They're very easy to impress. 

Disneyland was Disneyland. I worried that my kids might be too old or that I might be overwhelmed, but man, big kids are THE BEST. It was a constant reconfiguration of groups with everyone getting to do the things they wanted with people who also wanted to do them. At some point in the trip, C and I were able to hang alone with each of the kids which was an absolute DELIGHT, plus we got to hang with different combinations the whole time. Eli is contagiously enthusiastic, Sydney loves a thrill ride and is absolutely hilarious, and Averson is so thoughtful, curious, and sweet. I came home with such an appreciation for my motley little crew and so much gratitude that they're mine. 

He asked for this picture first thing

She decided that she wanted a Loungefly bag as her souvenir, thoughtfully picked this one, and was absolutely content with it for the rest of the trip

He was most excited about the monorail. I just love this kid. 

My traditional Haunted Mansion picture

Late night Matterhorn crew! Pro tip: If you're wearing a super cute mini skirt, don't ride in the front seat. You will end up trying to figure out how to avoid showing hundreds of strangers your chonies. And you'll get wet. Ask me how I know...

I went back to find our pictures from the year we bought passes. Apparently Averson's first trip was when she was 10 weeks old. I literally have NO memories from that trip. But look how tiny they were!

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Halloween - Belatedly

 Huh. One minute you're thinking to yourself, "maybe I'll try some version of writing every day in November!"  Then you look up and realize it's mid-month and you never even posted Halloween pictures

This year felt like that thing people say about not knowing it's going to be the last time you pick your child up. Every year I have my three kids on my stoop in their costumes and even though Eli is basically an adult, I wasn't totally ready for him to not be in the picture. And then Sydney had her friends and I didn't want to be ridiculous, and then Averson wanted a store-bought costume and picked the most popular one of all time, complete with bleeding mask. And lo and behold, I am officially the mom of big kids and next year I don't even think they'll need a chaperone for trick or treating. 

BUT I love working somewhere where people are enthusiastic about shenanigans, my boss sent me an axe transforming my costume from "Barbie" to "Serial Killer Barbie," the pink jumpsuit is still an absolute delight, and my birthday was wonderfully feted. Plus Eli's girlfriend's car really iced the cake on my Barbie day 

Subway Surfer and Ghostface

Birthday Donuts!

Minions, but make it fashion

I love my work people

Thursday, October 19, 2023


Sometimes life feels really busy and kind of stressful. Other times, your whole family decides after dinner to try some ridiculous flip on the front yard and you all end up laughing so hard you fall down in the grass and the neighbors start to look out their windows


Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Senior things


If you haven't had the pleasure, let me be the first to reassure you that you will ABSOLUTELY not be able to ignore the fact that your child is a senior and will be graduating in the near future. Just this week, which is still many, many months from actual graduation, I have ordered a cap and gown, chosen and ordered a ridiculous package of senior pictures (that we had taken ala Olson Mills because his yearbook requires a certain pose/outfit and my son has no interest in multiple photo shoots), and started a payment plan on the senior night Disneyland trip. I didn't have a senior year and now I kind of wish I could tell my folks all the hassle I saved them. 

But this kid. I'm just so fucking proud of him. He really seems to have found his groove. A good friend told me that her goal was to transition from a manager to a consultant, and damned if she wasn't right. I fully feel like a consultant (and maybe angel investor) in this kid. He's managing dual enrollment, wrestling, an adorable girlfriend, and all the expectations we have as a nearly adult member of the house with such aplomb. He's cleaning up admin stuff from YEARS ago that will help him in the future, and doing it with absolutely no nagging from us. Suddenly he's a kid that has Plans A, B, and sometimes C.  I called his school the other day to excuse him early, and the woman who answered said, "Oh! I'm so glad you called. He came in the other day and he is just one of the sweetest, most polite students we've had here in a really long time." A stranger knocked on our door last weekend to tell us that Eli had driven by, seen her trying to move a couch, and stopped to help. And then refused when she tried to pay him. If that's not the most Eli thing ever, I don't know what is. 

I love the man he's growing into, and I love that he still calls me "Mama" and wants me to watch all of his matches (even if he insists on hugging me afterwards when he's gross.) I'm going to miss him so much when he doesn't live in my house. 

Monday, October 16, 2023

Everything's a saga

 "I don't know if I'm hormonal or having a mental breakdown or if everything is just really f-ed up"

Huge shout out to my friend Kelley who got that text yesterday and responded without hesitation "Probably not a mental breakdown." I'm also hoping for not hormonal, because while I am fine with gray hair, wrinkles, slowed metabolism, being called ma'am, being referred to as someone's "work mom," and all the other myriad of ways that it's becoming apparent that cronehood is near, the idea of being menopausal makes me want to sink all of my non-existent discretionary funds into Botox and dermabrasian. And whatever new treatment will keep me from being menopausal. Except now that I'm writing that I think it might be the blood of virgins and maybe I'm not quite ready to take it that far? But I digress...

Even if I am withering into a husk of a woman, things really HAVE been fucked up too. Take, for instance, the toilet saga. 

About a week ago, our guest bathroom toilet became so slow that I could no longer ignore it. Then, I tried to plunge it and rather than a satisfying whoosh down the drain, water insultingly squirted out from the base. I know when I'm beat, so I called a plumber. THEN, later that day while mucking (literally) the kids' bathroom, I realized that they too had water on their floor. So I thought, why not be efficient in my home maintenance and have the plumber address both issues? Seemed simple enough. 

A couple days later I stayed home from work to host said plumber. He (Matt, this will be relevant later) of course, was hours late. But I'm throwing money at an issue so I don't have to do it and a family of five really needs functioning toilets. I show him the guest bath and he quickly diagnosed it as roots. He says he can "temporarily" fix it, but the only way to solve it is to cut down all of my trees. Cool cool whatever. Will it flush when you leave? If so, let's make it happen. Then I show him the kids' bathroom. He takes one look, declares that toilet an antique, and then says that he doesn't fix them but his brother does. So he calls his brother (George the Plumber). Matt the Plumber then proceeds to pull three full feet of roots out of my sewer pipe. How do I know? Because he insisted that I be in the bathroom to bear witness. But true to his word, that fixed the problem and I probably won't have to do it again for many years. The image will last in my brain forever. 

NOW, on to George the Plumber. George does not actually provide the new toilet. So I curbside pickup a toilet after deciding resolutely that I have absolutely no opinions whatsoever on toilets and DGAF. But also, PSA, toilets are cheap. I bring my new, cheap toilet home and stash it in the garage. George the Plumber is scheduled to come on a day the kids have off, so given that I have a nearly full grown person at my disposal, I tell him my 17 year old will be home and book him. Punctuality is NOT a family trait and George the Plumber is ALSO hours late. But whatevs. He comes, he replaces a toilet, he leaves. I get a text from C that afternoon though saying, "They replaced the wrong toilet." Yep. They replaced the toilet I just paid Matt the Plumber to fix, leaving the leaking one to leak. Apparently Eli and George the Plumber just shoulder shrugged and picked one? 

SO... I have Eli go pick up ANOTHER toilet. I book George the Plumber to come back, with the agreement of a very, very reduced rate. Day of, George again is not so punctual, but now I know the gig, so I call in advance and we REBOOK. I take another day at home. George sends his son, Mike the Plumber. Mike takes apart the leaky toilet. Everything's going fine. Until. The new toilet is broken. Can't be installed. I am legitimately two clips from a full melt down. He reinstalls my antique, leaky toilet and graciously offers to not charge me for the visit (SMH). 

I think C must've realized this might be the thing to break me, because he came home, returned the broken toilet, and then installed a new, not leaky one. I now have a toilet in my backyard like a redneck but at least I'm done with the Plumber family. I'll plant flowers in it. It'll be fine. 

But that's not all! On top of that, one of the kittens has been peeing where he shouldn't and I finally figured out why. Turns out he needs to be re-neutered, because even though the vet SWORE that he had a frank and a single bean, that vet was quite wrong. Not wrong enough to fix it for free, but wrong enough that I have a cat peeing all over my damn house. 

AND... Sydney, aka Sporty Spice, ended up simultaneously on the most awesome soccer team and the least awesome volleyball team ever. We finally made the decision to pull her off volleyball, but now there are some "less than supportive" messages coming from her coach. And while that's all fine and good, between shitters and extra nuts and piss on my floor and a whole host of other small but compounding bullshit, I am just not in the mood and ended up sending a strongly worded e-mail. That shockingly did not make the situation better. So that's fun.  

AND AND...I'm out of blush, which is notable because I never use anything long enough to run out. So of course it's discontinued. I hate trying to find new things and I always feel like such a troll in Sephora. Like, I feel like they must have the Jane Jetson make-up machine in the back while I still look like I borrowed my mom's MaryKay and applied it with a trowel. 

* I wrote this last week. Since then the toilet's been replaced (thank you C!), the cat's been de-nutted (again!), and Sydney tried out and then chose against the uber-competitive club volleyball team in a show of wisdom and self-awareness that I have yet to achieve. The super sweet saleslady at Sephora was game for a challenge and we found a new blush (Rare Beauty. Awesome and super pigmented but I watched a tutorial where they called the applicator a "doe foot" and now it's a little creepy). And I added in a new lipstick to counteract the croniness and I love it quite a bit. So... all is well again.