Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cubs Game!

Last night we got to go to our second Cubs game of the season. This time, though, we got to leave the kids with a babysitter and go by ourselves.

I always love getting to add a new stadium to my list of visited stadiums, and Dodger stadium was more beautiful than I was expecting.
It has great views of downtown and the mountains, with a nice vintage feel.

I especially loved the great view of the night time skyline at the end of the game.
The best part, though, was actually getting to see the Cubs win!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Things I miss.

Obviously LA has a lot to offer and we have been trying to take full advantage. But here is a quick and short list of some things that I'm missing from SC.

1. My family. Clearly, this is the biggest thing. Judah probably asks to visit Nana's house at least daily. We loved being close to family and are sad that they are so far away. I'm looking forward to a visit soon.

2. The rain. I know that most of upstate SC may want to kill me, but I loved the summer rains. (maybe if I were there now I'd be singing a different tune). I love running in the rain and its smell and the sound it makes on the windows. We have had maybe 15 minutes of sprinkle since we've been here.

3. Time on the lake. We do have the pacific ocean, but it doesn't beat being able to water ski over the glassy green water of Hartwell.

4. My job. Hopefully I can get a new one soon... Which also sort of dovetails into how I miss taking my kids to a doctor that I knew really well.

5. The yard. Lucy loved being able to lay out in the sun and I miss being able to play in a fenced yard with Judah and Lucy, or just sitting in the grass and watching them run around.

6. Although I love our new church, it is comprised of mostly young folks. I love having lots of people our age and kids for Judah to play with, but I really miss having an older generation around. I was blessed to have some wise ladies at our old church and miss them here.

7. Scenic countryside driving. We've been on some scenic drives around here, but city-scenic is just different than country-scenic.

8. A nice bathtub. The master bathroom here just has a big walk in shower. I like the shower, but the only bathtub is a standard bath/shower combo that isn't as relaxing as the one in our Greenwood house.

9. Hardwood floors. Our new place is carpeted everywhere except the kitchen and bathrooms. Why anyone would carpet a dining room in a rental house is sort of beyond me. I'm hoping we can start a campaign to have the carpets removed or something since they look so bad.

So that's my list for the day.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Knee crawler!

Naomi is now a knee crawler! video

Monday, August 19, 2013

We're not in Greenwood anymore...

So here's short list of the more subtle ways that LA is different than Greenwood:

1. Lots of billboards here advertise TV shows and movies. I'm not sure I ever saw a billboard for a movie in SC.

2.The cars. In LA, we see tons of convertibles everywhere. Judah calls these a word that sounds mostly like "adorables," which is pretty stinkin' adorable. The "nice cars" in LA are ferraris, teslas, bentleys and jaguars. Not the BMWs and Lexuses (Lexi?) that we saw in Greenwood. We also see very few pickup trucks here.

3. They don't sell riding lawnmowers in Lowe's. Much to Judah's disappointment.

4. Our Greenwood neighborhood was a mix of Black and White families. Here we go to the pool and are sometimes the only family that speaks English. There is lots more diversity here, which is great.

5. In Greenwood we often had a hard time finding something fun to do because there wasn't that much to do in Greenwood. Here we can't decide because there are too many options.

6. When I went running in Greenwood, I rarely saw anyone else walking or running. Every time I go now, though, there are lots of other people outside exercising. I realize that this may be just because we live in much denser area, but California seems to have a much more active culture than SC. It probably helps that there are bike lanes and sidewalks everywhere.

7. The weather. LA definitely gets hot during the day. But with the low humidity, every evening is really pleasant. In SC, even a 10pm walk would leave me drenched in sweat.

8. In SC, we had lots of neighbors leave their garage door open during the day or when they were at home. That doesn't happen here.

9. Probably its just the circles we were in back in SC, but I often felt surrounded by homeschooling families. So far, I have met only one homeschooling family here. Nearly everyone at our church goes to public school.

I'm sure as the months go on, we'll see more more differences.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Play kitchen update!

I thought I was ready to prime and paint, but after further reflection, I realized that I needed to make any and all construction/changes before doing any painting. So, here it is, divided into two sides, with slats on the inside that will support shelves. It's all sanded now, and after I took these photos I even used wood putty to fill the holes. I think I'll be painting next.(The tall cabinet that will be a fridge has only been sanded a bit. I haven't done any renovation on that one.) If you're interested, here's the before.

You can see the slats better in this shot. I had one shelf for one side, but accidentally had them cut it a hair too short at Lowe's. Apparently that adage about measuring twice and cutting once slipped by me.
I bought primer today, and am debating about colors. I can't decide if I should leave it all white, or maybe do some accents in another color. Maybe the door of the cabinet and oven in a brighter color? Any thoughts?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A few good vaccine links.

I'm not going to write a whole big blog post about vaccines. I'll just say that my kids are both fully vaccinated, and will continue to be. I saw a recent facebook post that linked to an article with the title "Court quietly confirms MMR vaccine causes autism." I'm not going to link to it, because it is a total waste of time and factually incorrect. I was sort of floored that this kind of stuff still goes around - the study that initially made this connection has been completely retracted by the journal that published it and the physician who wrote it was found to have a vested interest in proving a link. Reading the article, my BS-meter was really going off, but I wasn't sure what "court" they were referring to on my quick read-through.  Anyway... thankfully someone at Forbes did a great job writing a critique of that article that only reiterated how absurd the initial article was.

Then today I also read a slate article talking about how some medical ethicists are saying that parents should be able to sue the family of any unvaccinated [due to choice] children who get their own kids sick and cause harm. Not that I'm a big fan of lawsuits - but if doctors can be sued for any number of ridiculous things, then I have a hard time saying that if you choose not to vaccinate your child for the perceived risks, knowing that it is a public health danger, you shouldn't have any consequences if your child sickens another child who was too young for the vaccine or an illness that suppressed the immune system.

Just a bit of interesting reading....

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The perfect salad.

Over the years I have developed a list of what I think makes a perfect salad. For me, this is what I want my salad to have:
1. not iceberg lettuce
2. a fruit
3. a nut
4. a cheese
5. a delicious vinaigrette or other interesting dressing that is not italian or ranch

Now that I live by a Trader Joe's, I have been adding to my list. Several times I have bought their salad with roasted butternut squash and goat cheese which is absolutely perfect. In addition to the above (it is made with spinach, craisins, almonds, goat cheese, and a honey tahini dressing) is also has roasted butternut squash, quinoa, and wheat berries.

Before eating this salad, I would never have thought that roasted veggies would be such a delicious addition. And adding a grain is genius - it makes it more filling AND it's super tasty. So lately I've been making extra quinoa and barley and adding it to my lunch salad. Instead of roasted butternut squash, I've been nursing my slight obsession for roasted beets. (Who knew I'd come to love beets so much?)

So - add roasted veggies and grain to your salad. You'll thank me.

You could also make this beet salad.

Beet and barley salad

5 roasted beets (drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and roast until soft)
3 c. barley (can also be made with quinoa)
sauteed beet greens (you can also add sauteed spinach or kale)
1/2 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. goat cheese
1/2 c. chopped almonds
juice of one lemon
3 T. olive oil (could substitute balsamic dressing)
salt and pepper to taste

Can eat warm or cold!

What is your favorite salad ingredient?

Friday, August 09, 2013

Project Play kitchen

I have been looking around for stuff to make a play kitchen for Judah (and now Naomi) for quite a while. Inspired by posts  like this and this, I had my eye out for some cabinets that would work. I stopped by a Habitat store today looking for a small TV table and scored two cabinets that I think will be perfect for $15 each. I'm super excited about getting started. Here are the "before" pics, taken after I'd already done a bit of cleaning and removed the doors. So for a true "before" photo, just imagine doors on the cabinet.

Next up: priming and painting!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Gallery Stairs

(I'm not sure why the photos didn't show, so I'm bumping this post up when new photos added. Hopefully this will work.)

Pretty much since we moved in, I have been living with piles of picture frames sitting on our steps waiting to hang them. For a while we couldn't find the hammer, then the kids would be sleeping. Today we finally tackled this project and I couldn't be more pleased.
Mostly we have family photos I've taken, a few plates that used to hang above my cabinets, but I also made some cool DIY wall art using vintage postcards and premade mats from Joann. I've been hoarding vintage postcards from ebay for a while now (that usually only cost a dollar or two) and this week I finally went and got some frames for them. I had this idea of having them professionally framed, but then I thought about how much that would cost and scoured the framing section of Joann to see what else I could do. Thankfully I found some great ready-made mats and frames that were 60% off. Score. Here you can see my San Diego postcards and some Charleston ones.

One of my favorite part might be this one, with a silhouette of Judah (which reminds me that I need to make one of Naomi soon), an old ceramic urinal (yes, I did hang a urinal on my wall. but isn't it beautiful??!?), and a beautiful photo of my sweet Grandma and kids.
It's slowly feeling more and more like home here.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


Yesterday was one of those days that made me want to throw in the towel. There wasn't anything that terrible, but by 2:30 I had texted Jeff that I needed him to come home early because I couldn't handle it anymore. I think most of the problem was that neither kid had much of an afternoon nap, and I have realized that I really need that time to myself in the afternoon to get some dinner prep done and recharge from the morning. In addition to the lack of naps, there were a few other choice moments:

I made the biggest mess of my entire adult life. I managed to knock a nearly-full, large, glass bottle of olive oil off my counter and onto the tile floor, where it shattered and spilled olive oil all over the kitchen. Thankfully Jeff was home and could help me get my shoes and mop up the mess. The floor still feels a bit greasy, but I guess the bottom of my feet will be extra moisturized this week.

And another mom-fail: I took the kids to the grocery store after swim, got all the way through checkout and THEN realized that my debit card wasn't in my wallet. I had needed to pay for something online earlier and it wasn't back in my wallet and I haven't put a new checkbook in it. Now I'm confused as to what we have here at the house because I keep remembering all the stuff I tried to buy and thinking that we actually have it all. Jeff went later that day but I couldn't remember everything I had picked up, so there are still a few things that I think we have but actually don't.

And now for the triumph: Judah is always a little leery of new foods. It almost doesn't matter what it is or how delicious it might be, if it's something he has never eaten before, chances are slim that he's going to want to try it. (This is why my kid won't eat mac and cheese or pizza but will gobble up raw carrots and broccoli.) Broccoli is one of his favorite veggies and this week I made some broccoli and cauliflower mixed together. I told Judah that the cauliflower was "white broccoli" and I can only surmise that the novelty of eating white broccoli made him happy to try it, and even happier when I let him have three helpings of it. I felt very smart with my slick veggie marketing, which was a good thing since I needed a success (and some homemade chocolate cookies) to redeem the day.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Her newest trick...

Pulling up!

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Thursday, August 01, 2013

A few things.

1. I've started the house sewing! It felt great busting out the sewing machine, finally. I've finished the living room and kitchen curtains. I still need to make curtains for all the rooms upstairs. I've got my eye on some fabric for Judah's room and I already bought some fabric for Naomi's room. I still have no idea what to do in our room. But I'm loving these living room curtains - the fabric, the shape, everything. I dig them.
Here are the kitchen curtains. I think these turned out pretty well, though I don't have the same deep love for them as I do for my living room curtains. But it makes the room much more homey and brings in some nice color to the very white kitchen.
2. We are slowly checking out as much free LA stuff as possible. Last weekend we went to this small flight museum by LAX. It was awesome - we got to go in this old school plane and sit in the cockpit (Judah LOVED that part.) There was a cool video showing the Endeavor as it flew into LA, and lots of neat model plains.
3. Judah is taking swim lessons this week. He hates it. Day two he pretty much cried the entire time. Day 3 he cried a little less and kicked a little more when his teacher asked, but still was sad almost the whole time. Is this normal? I don't want to make him miserable, but he's got to learn to swim. He actually likes swimming at our pool and we do it almost every day, but his death grip on my neck when I drop him off at his lesson makes me question if he's ready for this. Since swim lessons make him cry, we've been going to this little splash pad at a local park on the way home to sort of redeem the day for him. He's very into the water cannon.