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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Sushi Saturday

by Kayte

Today was a day of driving around Los Angeles and errands. The kids seem to enjoy being out and about on the weekends: given the choice they always want to stay out rather than go back home. Today we gave them the choice to go home for lunch or eat at a restaurant, and the answer was a resounding “Restaurant!” We ate at a sushi restaurant and snapped some silly pictures, which reminded me of this silly photo series of the boys at another restaurant, which ironically just happened to be almost exactly (how’s that for an oxymoron?) two years ago.

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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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Grambo & Papa

by Kayte

Over the LA river and through the windmill woods to Grambo & Papa’s house we went this weekend. Max and Lola were spoiled from start to finish with cookies, orange juice, art projects, train sets, electric blowers and a heated pool. They fell asleep easily by themselves in the guest room that evening, giving the grown ups a nice chance to relax.

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Don’t Stop Me Now

by Kayte

We celebrated the last night of Hanukkah tonight and rang in the New Year. We ate a fancy dinner at home and let Max & Lola use real glass plates and champagne [sparkling juice] glasses – ironically the only one that broke was while we were washing dishes after. We had a dance party in the kitchen to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” – cause I’m having a good time, I’m having a good time! We played a board game and stayed up “late” watching the ball drop in NYE on east coast time. It was a fun, special evening at home with just the four of us. When I reflect on 2016 it was dominated by medical difficulties – two pneumonia hospitalizations, chronic ear infections, multiple MRSA infections and two outpatient surgeries. I’m hoping for a very healthy 2017 with continued growth and development for my little ones. Don’t stop us now!


The 7th Night

by Kayte

Tonight we celebrated Hanukkah with Nana Bah, Uncle David, Aunt Julie, Cousin Booker and Cousin Ellie. 


Sawdust Santas

by Kayte

This season my parents volunteered with an organization called Sawdust Santas which “builds and distributes heirloom quality, wooden toys and gifts to underprivileged youth” in Michigan. Part of the organization’s funding comes from selling other smaller toys, and a little grandma-sized elf brought Max and Lola each a wooden car kit. Today the kids spent some quality time building with their grandparents; Lola and grandpa made a school bus, and Max and grandma built a train engine.

The weather was beautiful today so we also went for a hike in our backyard. It was the first time we’ve ever had to drag Max and Lola out of the house – they said “no!” when we asked them if they wanted to hike, even though the whole family was going (Karen and Jessie left earlier this morning). They eventually had a change of heart, but their teenage years flashed before my eyes. 


Winter Waves

by Kayte

Whenever family is in town we are always drawn to the ocean. Today we spent a peaceful afternoon watching the waves and breathing in the fresh sea air. No matter how cold the air or water is, the kids always end up wet, but at least I’m wise to them now and remembered to bring a change of clothes. We left the beach feeling refreshed, and finished our ocean day with a seafood lunch.

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All I Want For Christmas

by Kayte

I got my Christmas wish this year – my whole family healthy and at home. The kids got what they wanted too: Lola a doll stroller with baby food, and Max a real workbench (just like daddy’s). My mom surprised us all with new stockings that she sewed and embroidered – they are amazing and will be cherished for years to come. The adults played our annual White Elephant/Secret Santa gift giving game which included Omaha Steaks, a luxe bidet, orchestral windchimes, a DNA test, Norwex cleaning supplies, and gourmet cookware. But the best gift of all was the gift of family – we are so blessed to have spent this day together in each other’s company.

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After a delicious Christmas dinner of turkey, stuffing, cranberry and mashed potatoes, we went for a bike-walk to make room for pumpkin pie. Merry Christmas everyone!

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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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Christmas Cookies

by Kayte

Today Grandma organized sugar cookie decorating for the family. Max and Lola did a great job spreading frosting and shaking sprinkles on their cookies, although an equal amount of both probably went into their mouths too 🙂

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We picked up Max’s glasses today and he’s also been great about wearing them (knock on wood). While they were waiting for the glasses to be ready, Max and Lola made an impromptu visit to the fire station to donate a board game to the Spark of Love Toy Drive.

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Family Travels

by Kayte

The first round of family has landed (mom, dad, brother) with more on the way today (aunt, cousin). There was so much I meant to get done last week before Lola was hospitalized, but it’s refreshing to be reminded that holidays aren’t about extra presents or a clean house. We couldn’t be more grateful that our family is together and healthy (or at least on the mend) heading into this holiday season. Simple as that.

In other news Lola’s glasses are in and she has been doing an unbelievably great job keeping them on. Knock on wood.


Thanksgiving 2016

by Kayte

The usual crew flew in to town for our third annual Thanksgiving celebration. The food was great and the company was amazing. Max and Lola were so excited to have “their family” come over – they could barely contain their excitement all morning long. I think I might be getting the hang of this Thanksgiving thing – it was still a lot of work, but it felt a lot less stressful than years past. Already looking forward to next year!

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Trunk or Treat 2016

by Kayte

Max stayed home from school today after his surgery for a little R&R, but he didn’t seem to need it. He was running around like normal (even doing yoga!) and refused my offer of medicine for pain. He probably would have been fine going to school, but it was fun to stay home together and watch a movie 🙂

We figured both the kids were well enough to go to the annual Trunk or Treat event at their school. Nana came with again, and Brody was even able to get out of work early, so we had a nice family outing. This year there were lots of games for the kids to play, a taco truck for dinner, and of course the candy! We had lots of fun and are so happy to be part of our awesome school community.

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Apparently “Say ‘Trunk or Treat!'” is not the thing to say when taking a photo.


Matching

by Kayte

Blue hoodies and fuzzy jackets.

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Secret Life of Pets

by Kayte

The kids had the day off school today (l’shana tova!) so we got the family together for Max & Lola’s first-ever movie in a theater. Cousin Booker is a seasoned movie-goer, but I had been holding off with Max & Lola because I wasn’t sure how well they would sit through a whole movie (hence the Nana-reinforcement). Turns out they did great and we all had a really fun time watching The Secret Life of Pets and chowing popcorn. I hadn’t been in a movie theater myself for about 4-1/2 years, so it was nice to get out and do something different.

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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.