Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Christmas photo dump

Christmas really breezed by this year. It felt cozy, but also relatively underwhelming. To top it off, my brother and his wife had to cancel their visit last minute, so it was just my own little cozy crew.

I got sucked into the craft at work and nerded out with a glue gun

We did, however, add more light tours to our schedule this year. I've always wanted to do the fancy downtown neighborhood so this year on a whim we all went. I cannot wait to do it again next year, maybe in a horse carriage or rickshaw.

And our own hometown's cute little street was a hit as always. C wore his Kenough shirt and was thrilled with the addition of the Barbie box. I was thrilled with the reactions he got. Just remember, he is Kenough and so are you!

Averson's new tradition is wearing my mom's fur on our light walks. Two year's running!

I'm just so grateful for our cozy little Christmas house

And big kids who are still willing to pose in matching PJs (not pictured is their favorite shot, where all three are showing their favorite fingers #bigkidlaughs)

I panicked a little, because I never got around to comparing piles to make sure that everyone was equal. BUT, it all worked out! Sydney and Eli had exactly the same number, and Averson came out two ahead only because of creative wrapping. And everyone loved their gifts. Eli just kept saying how much he loved the electric razor, in case you were worried that buying for 17 year olds was hard.

She asked for Legos, and then pretty quickly realized that she didn't have the patience or emotional fortitude for them. She made it through though!

The kids got C the big, big pack of colored pencils that he's been eyeing like Ralphie and the Red Ranger 200. He proclaimed it one of his top 5 gifts ever

My sister posted a picture of her Christmas, and we realized that we bought our families the same matching PJs. I love that even though we're so far apart, we still were sort of together.


Thursday, December 14, 2023

Averson Paige (for real now!)

 Averson started going by "Averson" in preschool, when multiple kids shared her name and I had some very strong, probably illogical, responses to her being differentiated by her last initial. C had suggested it as a name when we were expecting her, and I was quick to explain that that was not a real name and he didn't know what he was talking about. I really thought he was trying to trick me into naming her after Allen Iverson. I stand corrected (obviously).

She's spent her entire school career explaining to people that her name is "Avery" but she goes by "Averson." We've talked about changing it officially for years, but that's a more complicated process than one would think. Knowing she's headed to middle school next year (OMFG), we decided that it was time to fish or cut bait. We filled out a bunch of court forms in triplicate, wrote a big check, and published our intent to change her name in the most rando newspaper ever. This past Monday, we got notice that our petition had been approved and her name is now, officially, Averson Paige. 

She is SO excited. Like, more than I really anticipated that she would be. Post covid, the hearing was pretty anticlimatic since we didn't have to actually go to the court house. I wanted to memorialize it somehow for her, so I posted this picture to all my socials (as a millennial mom does.) She also has a name necklace coming for her stocking and I really hope she loves it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Gift ideas: What not to buy

We have entered the wonderful time of year where we are all flooded with Christmas catalogues and gift guides and enthusiastic recommendations for the perfect gift for your brother's sister-in-law's dog walker. What we hear much less often though are the cautionary tales, the recommendations of gifts gone wrong, the "steer clear at all costs." Personally, that's what I'm looking for, and in the spirit of being the change I want to see in the world, I present to you my top three gifts not to buy this holiday season.

1) A digital picture frame for the grandparents. I know, coming in hot here. This one is ALWAYS on the "top lists for grandparents." And I admit, on the surface, it seems like a great idea. They don't have to pick their favorite pictures! It's a gadget that will delight and amaze their friends! The love the grandkids! All good points. What they don't tell you though is that while your parents may be savvy enough to link the frame to their albums, they likely are not savvy enough to put their pictures into folders or figure out how to hide pictures. Which means that Thanksgiving next year will get awkward VERY fast when you see the frame, squint a little to figure out what picture it is, and then realize that that's an angle and a situation you had hoped to NEVER see your parents in. Ask me how I know. My parents are dead, so they won't know that I told you. 

2) Play-dough and slime. All I can say here is "WT actual F?" I am a ball of anxiety on Christmas day, panicked that a gift will be accidentally thrown away with the insane amount of trash we seem to create regardless of how many earth-friendly wrapping options I choose. It's neurotic and honestly not my finest quality. I do a lot to create holiday magic but I suspect that manically putting everyone's gifts in their own special box and then nagging everyone to keep track of pieces is not one of them. And every year I fail. But lo and behold, the one and only gift I would beg to fall headlong into the garbage can is the one that sticks around like a b-reel horror film character. 

3) The slime that everyone suggests for adults' stockings. I know you've seen it, and in theory it seems like such a great idea. I fell for it. I really did. Last year every adult of driving age got a tub of the pastel colored goo and I gleefully put mine in my car, for use at stoplights/gas stations/car washes. It was going to change my life! I was going to become a "clean car person." But alas I did not become a clean car person. What they don't tell you is that this goo does not tolerate temperature fluctuations well (ala California in the summer.) So at a stoplight, when I channeled my inner Martha, I instead ended up with a handful of sticky snot melting through my fingers. It was everywhere, and every effort I had to make it stop just made the problem worse. I drive a manual. So when I say "everywhere" I really mean it. 

Okay. Your turn. What's on the top of your Must Not Buy list? 

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!