Thursday, October 30, 2008

Balboa Park












We visited Balboa Park with the grand'rents the other day. It is so beautiful, I always wonder why we don't come here more often. The girls had so much with the fountains, but actually, that part kinda stressed me out. You can see why in the photos. Elise will go to the big fountain and stand on the edge until her toes stick clear over. Like she is taunting me!!! She'll look back at me with this laugh...such a character, she is!
Lola is very interested in the bugs and plants. We talk about those a lot. She also liked all the differently decorated globes sculptures that were on the prada.
Later on, we heard music and decided to follow it. It sounded live and I assumed it must be a band playing somewhere. It turned out to be a single musician playing a horn instrument along with a cd player of an orchestra. He was so good! The girls just loved him. He played a lot of theme songs from Disney movies, like Aladdin and Lion King. Although, Lola hadn't seen those particular films, she was awestruck all the same. She began to dance all over the lawn where the man played. She was in her own little world! Later, Elise decided to join her, but really just ran around in tight little circles, making herself dizzy, then falling and starting all over again! It was such fun to watch!!!

Birthday Party





We combined birthday parties for both Lola and Elise since they were born exactly 3 years and one month apart. We felt it was a bit much to expect the same people to come to two different parties, one month from each other! ha ha! The night of their actual birthdays, we will enjoy a nice dinner out with friends & family.
Anyway, it was all good fun. Lola has always wanted a halloween party, so that is what we did this year. Our family dressed up as the Addams Family...well, more or less...Lola was Wednesday, I was Morticia and Dan was Gomez, but Elise...well, there is no baby girl character for Elise so Lola just made one up. And hence, Saturday was born!
Here is a pic of our family (the pirate is Dan's father) and I also threw in a couple of group photos of all who dressed up in costume!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Jumpy Jump

Elise's first time in a jumpy jump. As long as there was no one else in it, she loved it! Can you tell? video

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Birthday




Trying to catch up here...

The day of Lola's birthday, she went to school and enjoyed the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins with her classmates and then later on, we went shopping for Halloween stuff for the party. She chose the restaurant for dinner that night and we invited a couple of her friends to join us. She got our gift from us at dinner...at first she was like "whatever, it's not the one I asked for", but has been playing with it ever since. We got her a ladybug rainboot, raincoat & umbrella set. When I had been shopping for them, (months ago!), I showed her the two different patterns and she told me then that she liked the flower pattern best, but when I went to buy it, her size wasn't available. I didn't think she'd really remember, but I clearly underestimate that girl!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Is it weird to take photos of your baked goods?



I'm thinking yes, yes it is. For me, anyway, because it's not like I have any special photo-taking talents. And I'd like to say that this photo is just an exception since they are Lola's special birthday muffins for her class tomorrow, but I'd be lying. I'm sure I will continue to post plenty of photos of mundane, everyday breads and muffins.

Birthday muffins, you ask? Why yes! Lola requested pumpkin chocolate chip muffins (with icing, but we compromised with India Tree colored sugar sprinkles) to bring to school and share with her class. Lola will be 5 tomorrow, I just can't believe it.

Anyway, I finally wrote down the pumpkin bread recipe, per the request of a couple of playgroup mamas and then tweaked it for these muffins. They are still vegan, but much more of a "treat" then the bread. With the addition of chocolate chips and the sugar sprinkles (oh and a cup of sugar!), they are much sweeter than what I usually bake. But, holy cow, are they delicious!! In my very humble opinion, you'd never really guess that they are whole wheat, vegan and not all that terrible for you. Don't get me wrong, not a health food, by any stretch!

I think I might make these for Lola's bday party, in lieu of a real cake....

Saturday, October 18, 2008

the Rents!


I picked my dad & his girlfriend up at the airport today. It's so great having them here!! They are such good sports and stayed up until at least 11 pm, even though it was 2 am for them and they had been traveling all day from Montreal.

My brain is fried, which is usually what happens the first day I get together with my parents because I do a lot of switching back and forth from french to english. I haven't spoken french since the last time I was with them, which was January. When I'm speaking french, I have to search for words a lot now, even common little words. So frustrating because I grew up bilingual. But this is such a minor thing because it's so nice to have my dad and M here. Lola loves them so, and even Elise recognized my dad. She took a look at him, pointed and said "PaPa!". She has only seen him once in her life!
After dinner, Dan taught my folks how to play Tiger Woods golf on the Wii. They loved it! My dad's girlfriend, M, is a total natural and ended up kicking Dan's ass! Ha!
Lots of fun to be had in the next couple of weeks, but it makes me realize how much I miss Montreal!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

mmm! looky what came out of the oven today!


So, I've been super anti-social this week because I'm trying to wrap up this lingering home projects (that I started in the summer and never finished) before my dad gets here on Saturday. And it's not like he's going to care one iota if the office is finished or that my front closet is organized, I just like to use important dates, like his arrival, as deadlines. Seriously, if I didn't, NOTHING would ever get done in this house.
My poor, mistreated children are beginning to show the effects of being homebound for 3 days. You'd think that Lola been literally locked in an attic for years...she's so dramatic! I made sure we baked our pumpkin bread after school, as promised, and they played outside for a long time, but when Dan came home and asked about her day, she made a big fuss about how she did absolutely nothing today!

Anyway, this vegan pumpkin bread was the fruit of our labors and it's really tasty. Sometimes vegan baking can be tricky, but this one is really moist. I didn't follow a recipe, just threw ingredients together until I got the texture of the dough that I was looking for. I bought sugar pumpkins from Trader Joe's and baked them for the pumpkin "meat" in this recipe, which usually I used canned pumpkin. The fresh pumpkin is good and not at all difficult to do. I used stevia to sweeten the bread, since we're trying to cut back on sugar. There's plenty, so I'm sure I'll be bringing it along to the next playgroup for sharing!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Big Day, Sleepy Kids

What a day today! Totally chock-full of activity...hopefully, the kids will sleep like rocks tonight and maybe, just maaaaybe, sleep in past 6 am!
Elise woke up at 5 am this morning and Lola, at 6 am. We thought it would be fun to go out for breakfast so, by the time we rallied ourselves and got the girls dressed and whatnot, it was 10 am. Elise fell asleep before we even got 5 minutes away from the house. We had taken 2 cars to go to restaurant because Dan's mom joined us, so I just drove Elise home, where she continued to sleep for 3 hours! After the others finished their breakfast and came home, we tackled cleaning out the garage. We do this about 4-5 times a year and it's always such a big job. I found stuff I haven't seen in years though! We worked until around 2:30, then got ready for an outing to Seaworld. Holy cow, was it packed there tonight. I have been there on a Saturday in the summer and it was never as busy as it was tonight! But, it was fun and the kids had a blast. Elise rode on her very first park ride and she loved it!
Even though the girls were obviously tired, we decided to push the envelope by going out to dinner. Where? You guessed it...Sipz! I really had to try it again. And it was just as good as yesterday! The only negative was that my kids were obviously not in the mood for a dining out experience. Lola would not eat anything and Elise was all over me. She also dumped a bottle of soy sauce all over herself and broke a sake cup. All the way home, all we could smell was soy sauce.
The good news is that the kids fell asleep on the way home. I had the good sense to clean Elise up before getting in the car so it was a nice and easy transfer to bed when we got home. Now we are chilling out to the harmonic sounds of explosives (for training) from Camp Pendleton. This is supposed to go on all weekend. Hearing them is like a steady reminder of what is going on outside "my" world of kids, school, diapers, etc....

Friday, October 10, 2008

A New Fave!

I love when I find a new great place to eat! Today, after visiting the aquarium with the girls, I had hoped to finally try out the very much raved about Sipz with another mama friend of mine. But, by the time we finished the aquarium, it was noon and I knew that Elise would never stay awake long enough to drive over to the restaurant. I called my friend and told her I thought we'd just drive through La Salsa or something instead so I wouldn't have to get Elise out of the car. Lola was extremely disapointed at the change of plans and made it loud and clear to me. I made her a deal that if Elise was asleep by the time we reached the exit on the freeway, then we would just keep driving home. If she was awake, then we'd go ahead and go to the restaurant. I was soooo confident that Elise was going to pass out instantly, I wasn't worried at all. Well, what do you know? Elise was awake & showed no sign of passing out anytime soon. Even still, I tried to talk Lola into just ordering and bringing the food home, but she wasn't having it. We had to eat IN the restaurant!
Well, I'm sure glad we did because it was fabulous! Delicious, every bite. I had a vietnamese noodle soup with soy "chicken" and potstickers. Now, I have no idea what is in that "chicken" and I'm not sure I want to know (well, I do actually because I'd love to find out how to reproduce it in my own kitchen!), but holy shit, it was heaven in a bite. I can't stop thinking about it! I had to actually resist braving rush hour traffic on a Friday to pick up a bunch of different entrees for dinner tonight. But I'm sure going to do exactly that tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

As I'm writing this at 4 am...

Why am I up at 4 am? Well, why else? Elise is having trouble falling back asleep...At least this time, it's not the usual episode of night-wakeness. Typically, they last around 3 hours, with Elise nursing for at least half of that, wide awake and ready to play. Tonight, she is sick with a stuffy nose and cough. You can tell she really wants to go back to sleep, but just can't and she is understandably quite frustrated.
We've also begun the journey of weaning (well, not totally, but keep reading) and I think it's been a confusing time for the both of us. Anyone who knows me or has read my blog for a while knows that nursing has always been a rough road for me. What started off as incredibly painful and uncomfortable has only become less so in the last two years, but never completely free from discomfort. I vowed to commit to 2 years, nonetheless.
Anyway, I did not wake up Sunday morning and decide today was the day or anything dramatic like that. We were on a family weekend getaway in the desert with some friends and my mother-in-law, who took care of the girls on Saturday night, while Dan and I let loose.
The girls slept in their grandma's room all night and it was the very first time I've slept apart from Elise. But she did great and the next day, didn't even ask for milk. Before we knew it, it had been over 24 hours since I had last nursed her. I had a decision to make and it was a tough one. Either we go back to the way it was before, with her nursing every hour or two and me cringing and resenting it all or we take this opportunity to make some changes. At first, I got the bright idea to wean completely, but I realized quickly that she is still a baby and so not ready for that. But it doesn't mean we can't compromise. I've always said that if we could just cut back to once or twice a day, I think I could tolerate for a longer period of time, so that is what we're doing. Since Saturday evening. And it's going pretty well, I have to say. I avoided doing this sooner because I really believed there would be a huge protest on her part, but that hasn't really happened. Well, the first night was rough, I won't lie. But it gets better every minute.
And we are getting better too. The first day, we didn't even realize it, but the second day was strange. I almost felt like she was avoiding me and I was avoiding her. I know this is going to sound so strange, but I believe we were confused about the status of our relationship. Nursing has been such an integral part and all of a sudden, it was gone. She started coming around on the 3rd day. We are snuggling and playing together again, like she's realized that we can do this without it always ending in nursing!