Kite Festival

by Kayte

With Lola’s love of kites we thought that the kite festival in Santa Monica would be a perfect weekend activity. The kids were initially impressed with all the kites, but ended up more interested in the sand and water. There was a craft set up so both kids got to make their own kites and fly them with the big guys. We also took a ride on the ferris wheel which I had never done in all the years I’ve lived here. It was windy and chilly and a beautiful view of the ocean and the kites.


Backyard Camping

by Kayte

Our weather turned unseasonably warm this week (high 80s) and it felt like camping weather. We didn’t have it in us to get things together for real camping, so we decided to set up camp in the backyard. We pitched a tent on our tiny patch of grass, grilled burgers, ate dinner outside, toasted marshmallows on the grill (moderately successful) and tucked into our tent under a beautiful full moon. The kids were ridiculously excited about the whole thing. We woke up with the DST sun to fresh air and the sound of birds chirping. The campground amenities were great – running water, flush toilets, and a hot pot of coffee on a timer.

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Happy Birthday Trees

by Kayte

We took the kids to a playdate at The Skirball to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat. We learned about planting trees and observed trees on the museum grounds. We sang Happy Birthday to the trees in English, Spanish, Hebrew and American Sign Language. We read books about trees and sampled many different tree fruits; olives, pomegranate arils and raisins (technically, a vine?). Finally, we made tree crafts: date balls, orange-clove pomanders, and a family tree! It was a fun new experience. After the playdate the kids got to go play at Noah’s Ark which they have been asking to do for weeks now. It was a full, fun day celebrating the trees!

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La Quinta

by Kayte

We spent today with Grambo & Papa in snowbird paradise. After breakfast we took the kids to a local park where they enjoyed the undivided attention of four adults. Afterward we took a bike ride to the tennis courts where Grambo & Papa introduced Brody to pickleball. Then it was time to drive home – both kids fell asleep in the car exhausted: the sign of a good weekend.

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Tide Pools

by Kayte

We’ve had lots of rain this past week so I was hoping to go find some snow today, but the weather turned warm and we ended up at the beach instead. We were actually reading a story in the kids’ Highlights magazine about visiting tide pools, which inspired us to pack a picnic and head to the beach at low tide. We forgot water shoes so it was a little difficult for the kids to navigate the sharp rocks, but they were very excited once we found tide pools with sea slugs, anemones and hermit crabs – just like in the story! There were also some nice calm sandy areas for Max & Lola to splash around – their favorite beach pastime. A refreshing day!

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Workshop: Crate Toolbox

by Kayte

Every month Home Depot offers free workshops for kids. Max and Lola have been a little young to participate, but after they had so much fun building derby cars at the pumpkin festival last fall we decided to sign them up. This month’s workshop was for a wooden toolbox, which was perfect because Max needed one to go with his new workbench. We (the adults) still had to help quite a bit with the hammers and glue, but it was a really fun project and we’ll definitely be doing more in the future.


La Brea Tarpets

by Kayte

We haven’t been able to get out and about too easily with Max & Lola’s rigorous breathing treatment schedule, but today we started scaling back on meds a little bit and were able to fit in an excursion between treatments. My dad has been wanting to re-visit the La Brea Tar Pits (or as Max pronounced it: tarpets, as in carpets) ever since his first visit in 2006 so we ended up there. We had been hesitant to visit the last couple years because Max went through a stage of being terrified of statues, but I’m happy to report that he is [mostly] over that fear (although the animatronic statues did give him pause).

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To the animatronic statue Lola just said, “Pooh-pooh.

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Tonight was also the first night of Hanukkah so we cooked a big brisket and fried up a batch of Latkes. L’chaim!

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Sheriff Station

by Kayte

This weekend we went to an open house at the local sheriff station. The kids got to sit in all types of emergency vehicles: fire engine, sheriff cars, command stations and a helicopter. There were food, games and even a zipline using the search-and-rescue crew’s setup. The first thing Lola said when she landed back on solid ground was “Max, want to do it again!?” Little daredevil.

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Pearl the miniature therapy pony saying “Cheese!”

 

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Splashtopia

by Kayte

This weekend we drove to The Desert to meet some friends for their annual Splashtopia waterpark adventure. We spent three awesome days floating down the lazy river, soaking in the jacuzzi, playing at the beach, and swimming in the pool. The park also had two waterslides, but Max and Lola were just an inch shy of meeting the height requirement. Better luck next year! The kids played hard all day and crashed hard at night.What a fun weekend.


Michigan Trip

by Kayte

Wow August is almost halfway over and I’m just now getting around to my first post of the month. We took a trip to Michigan for a week so I’ve been backlogged under travel recovery, 1,000+ photos and back-to-school prep. But now finally photos are edited, posts are written, and here is our vacation:

I spent a lot of time this trip comparing it to our first visit to Michigan. Overall it was a lot easier traveling with 4-year-olds than two infants. The first time around we had bottles, cribs, high chairs, special pureed food, naps to work around, etc. This time it was pretty much like having two little people in tow who could eat whatever, sleep wherever, and do everything we did. Plus it was a lot more fun! Max & Lola were so excited about the trip and had such a great time with all the people and activities. They really have an optimistic, open attitude about new experiences which makes it so fun. This was a very positive litmus test for future travel and more adventures.


MI Day 8 – DTW > BUR

by Kayte

We opted for an early flight back to California so I could get the kids in bed at a decent hour and start the vacation-recovery process in anticipation of school starting next week. We may have been up at 5:30am (2:30am PST!) but we were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise across the mist-covered fields. It was a peaceful beginning to another relatively easy flight home.

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We had an absolutely wonderful vacation but we were all very happy to see Daddy again at the airport. Home again home again jiggety jig.


MI Day 7 – Fish, Swim, Tube

by Kayte

We couldn’t get enough of the fresh water while we were in Michigan so we spent our last day here playing at the lake. Fresh water is such a scarcity in California these days that it’s mind-boggling to encounter a seemingly endless supply for fun and play. Max & Lola both did some more fishing off the dock. They both cast their bait and hooked their own fish. Max proudly reeled in his bluegill, but Lola hooked a big bass that nearly pulled the rod from her hands so we helped her get it to shore.

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Probably one of Max & Lola’s biggest new experiences this trip was tubing behind the boat! We went very slowly around the lake but it was enough excitement for them. And hopefully they’re old enough where they’ll remember all the fun they had this trip! And if not, we have lots of pictures.

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MI Day 6 – Walk & Ride

by Kayte

My parents live on 10 acres of land and I spent countless hours playing outside while growing up. Today the kids got a taste of my childhood as we meandered along the nature paths through the property. Max was amazed by all the sticks; when we walk around our neighborhood in LA he’s so excited to find one little twig and often plays with it for a week until it breaks. In Michigan he encountered more branches than he could shake a stick at! I think Lola prefers smooth sidewalks to bumpy trails, but I was realized that she was getting a great PT workout: navigating uneven surfaces, climbing over fallen trees, walking up/down hills, etc.

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After our nature walk Max & Lola each got a turn riding on Grandpa’s tractor(s). Fun like this would cost you about $5/ticket in LA! I think Max may have been born to be a farmer. He had so much fun helping out around the property; watering plants, raking grass, clearing brush, walking the trash 1/4 mile to the end of the driveway.

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Photo by Lola

After a fun day at home we met up with some old family friends for dinner at the lake park and celebrated their two (older) kids’ birthdays. It was a cozy end to another beautiful day.

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MI Day 5 – Family Day

by Kayte

Sunday we got together for lunch with our extended Michigan family. Parents, grandparents, kids, grandkids, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins. There were 6 kids, 3 dogs (including a puppy) and lots of noisy fun. Max & Lola keep asking me if everyone’s backyard “is a park” – they’re not used to so much green grass and open space.

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Lola was an absolute riot. After a very brief feeling-things-out period, she burst into rare form and took command of the room. She led people around, gave orders, sang, orchestrated doctor play and just generally made herself the center of attention. My parents asked me if she’s usually so outgoing in large groups of [relative] strangers, and I couldn’t really think of a comparable situation, but she was pretty consistent the entire week with groups of friends and family so I guess so! She must be the lone extrovert/class-clown of the family.


MI Day 4 – Friends Day

by Kayte

On Saturday we met up with two of my best friends from childhood, Michelle and Jeremy, and their respective spouses, Alex and Stefani. We went out for lunch, played at the park, and had a great time just hanging out. Michelle/Alex and Jeremy/Stefani had of course met the kids before, but this was the first time Max & Lola were old enough to meet (and hopefully remember) them in turn.

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MI Day 3 – Fireworks

by Kayte

We had plans to visit the county fair today but I figured that we get enough noise/crowds at home and decided to revel in the calm, quiet of my childhood home. We spent the morning outside at my parents’ house and the afternoon back at the lake for more swimming. In the evening we went to an outdoor concert at a park that had a bounce house/slide, playground and big wheel track for the kids. My aunt and uncle met us at the concert, then brought fireworks back to the house for the kids. This 4th of July I realized that NO fireworks are legal in California when I couldn’t even find sparklers, so I asked my family to save some for us in Michigan. Max & Lola like the sparklers (under very close supervision) but thought even the little fountains were a bit too loud.

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MI Day 2 – Scenic Lake

by Kayte

Our first day in Michigan started and ended on the lake: boating, swimming, splashing, fishing. The kids both caught (or at least reeled) their first fish from the lake and Lola had no problem grabbing hold of hers. They marveled at playing in a lake where they could wade into the water on a sandy bottom without fear of huge waves. I marveled at how far away from me the kids could run around without worrying about traffic or crowds. We were so grateful that my brother was able to come up from Nashville for the week to spend time with us. Such a beautiful, peaceful day.

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MI Day 1 – FNT > DTW

by Kayte

The kids and I are off to Michigan for a week! Yes, I, as in solo parenting; as in 2-kids-1-mom-outnumbered-on-a-plane! Originally we had planned this trip around the kids’ summer school schedule and unfortunately Brody had to stay behind to work but we bravely forged ahead. Admittedly I was a bit nervous leading up to the trip, but I figured the worst that could happen is that we were all utterly miserable for 4-odd hours until we landed in Michigan and then my parents could take over. Turns out it was much better than that and, dare I say…easy? Granted there was a lot of baggage to haul, a decent amount of whining and someone (not me) threw up on the plane before we even left the ground (somehow, magically, all caught in a bag); but once we were on the actual plane I handed each kid an iPad loaded with shows and enjoyed near-silence for the next 4 hours. I didn’t even bring anything for myself to do (thinking I wouldn’t have time to read) so was actually bored for awhile. Not a feeling I experience much these days. Overall the plane ride was a great success and it’s good to know the kids can travel so well. Viva la vacation!

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Concert in the Park

by Kayte

We took Max & Lola to their first (I think? They said it was their first…) concert tonight at a local park that hosts free concerts during the summer. We brought a picnic dinner and got there early so the kids could run around and play in the playground. I thought Max & Lola would be more interested in the music once the concert started, but it didn’t quite hold their attention (except they loved the clapping part) so it was a challenge trying to keep them contained in our blanketed area amidst a big crowd. I think if/when we do it next time we should stay more on the outskirts of the crowd so the kids can run around without bumping into other people. It was still a nice way to spend a Sunday evening.

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Photo by Max

 


Safety Fairey Tale

by Kayte

The boys came back from their camping trip today. After a quick shower we went to the LAPD Safety Fair (or as Lola kept calling it, the Fairy Tale) and Car Show. The kids got to see lots of cool things: police car, motorcycle, bomb squad truck, underwater rescue unit, school bus, ambulance and helicopter. It was still around 100* hot so we didn’t stay for long, but it was a fun outing.

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Bomb Squad Disposal Truck

 

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Ambulance circa 1965

 

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LAPD Motorcycle

 

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LAPD Electric Dirtbike

 

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LAPD Helicopter