Asian Night

Not to move on from Thanksgiving too quickly...but I've been experimenting with some stir frys (fries?) and Thai dishes lately. The kids are always such sports with the chopsticks. It ain't pretty or clean, but they'll eat their whole meal with them.

About a Thanksgiving

A short(ish) story in (mostly) pictures. We spent a lot of time building anticipation for Thanksgiving this year. We've been eating pumpkin dishes for weeks (above: pumpkin french toast with cranberry sauce). We've been filling our bowl of blessings. We've been learning about the pilgrims and whatnot. The week before Thanksgiving some friends invited us over for some of their activities. Below: we dressed as the Indians for a canyon first thanksgiving picnic. We ate grilled cheese and cranberry sandwiches, popcorn, apples, and pumpkin cookies. The canyons are one of the few places around here where you feel like you can get out into nature.

A confused Indian.

That is my favorite kind of palm tree. There is a whole little grove of them in this canyon.

I always remember watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade when I was a kid - so that is what we did...well, they did mostly while I was cooking.
My first turkey (not Joseph). I was nervous, but it turned out pretty good. I had a little 2 hours into it coaching from my mother that seemed to do the trick.

I took a picture of it before we cut it, but the memory card wasn't in the camera.
This is my new favorite green bean casserole recipe. No cans of anything in it and it is so tasty!

Olivia really liked the cranberry relish.
As always, just happy to be here.

We tried to invite dinner guests, but everyone had plans. Even our homeless friends - who would have thought. We missed our family, but all in all it was a special day of new traditions...that I am sure (if I am my mother's daughter) we will change next year.


Olivia: "Joseph, when you grow up and become a girl, you can wear a dress like me!"

Thank you, J. Paul Getty

This is where the day began. I was at Grant's for my weekly morning coffee by myself and Mike was at home with the children and the church's projector. He was taking the day off and we were planning a drive up to L.A. for the day - they were in charge of agenda setting. Here there are sitting in front of a map of the world that he slowly honed down to the Mapquest directions for our drive for the day - a little geography and map reading lesson. (Too bad I was out getting coffee since I am the one with no sense of direction.)We did the driving tour of downtown L.A. and Hollywood/Beverly Hills. It was interesting and underwhelming all at the same time. Maybe more on that another time. But the highlight of the trip was the J. Paul Getty Museum. Getty's private collection (plus more now) is housed in this architecturally incredible building on the top of a huge hill overlooking L.A. and its suburbs. My favorite part was an 19th century photography exhibit showcasing vocations - the same vocations in three different cities - London, NYC, and Paris. This painting was one of Mike's favorites - you'll have to ask him why.
We didn't make it through the whole museum - and not because they were wrestling. They really did a great job and actually took interest in some of the art. Of course, Olivia always had questions about the pieces with naked or dying people in them - not the easiest to explain. One of her favorites was called "Boy in a Fancy Dress." Thankfully she didn't ask for an explanation of that one.
We saw mostly 18th and 19th European Impressionism - a lot you would recognize - Monet, Van Gogh, Degas. I loved it, but by the end it was boob over load. What is it with those men?! Do any of you sit around, chit chatting with your friends, with your left boob hanging out?! For crying out loud.
The views and gardens were as spectacular as the art. Check out the smog hanging over downtown L.A.

Find the hummingbird.

And this is where the day ended. Supper with a sweet friend - who was brave enough to sit on the same side of the booth with both children. Olivia only drank a little of his beer.

You never know when you might encounter a hill...

My dad carved these walking sticks for the kids shortly after we moved to San Diego. We grew up hiking in the mountains. My parents still hike and we love it. So, it's only appropriate for your Scrapaw to carve you a hiking stick. The strange thing is where the kids choose to use them. The public library. Target. The Zoo, now that one made sense. As you will see below, there is a killer hill by the polar bears. Definitely the place for a walking stick.
Note Olivia's seasonal confusion in the top picture.

Potty training vistas

Just wanting you all to really feel like you are experiencing life with us. I hung my last load of cloth diapers on the line yesterday. The covers are clean and stored until baby #3. He is dry through naps,but we are still diapering at night. Yesterday he yelled from the bathroom, "Mommy, I pooped!" I was so proud. Then he yelled, "Come see what I did with it!"

God our Father, we thank you

Looking for a way to use extra pumpkin from pie and cookie recipes? Put it in your oatmeal with cinnamon and brown sugar and raisins. I think someone could make a lot of money if they would sell 1 cup cans of pumpkin, but I am happy to have the leftovers as it is now. That's our Blessing Bowl in the background (thanks Pollacks from last year). Any time during the day someone thinks of something they are thankful for, you can tell everyone and go drop a kernel of popcorn in the bowl. We'll pop it on Thanksgiving. It is fun to watch the habit of thanksgiving being formed in all of us. I should be writing down some of the things the kids say - zoo keepers (Joseph), reading with mommy (Olivia), special treats (Olivia, of course). There have been funnier ones, but I can't remember them at the moment.

Ride 'em zebra!

Well, here we were at 3:00 on Halloween eve painting a white-ish, 4T WalMart leisure suit with Zebra stripes. Not our best parenting moment, but a lot of fun by the end and Olivia was pleased. Honestly, I didn't think she was serious about the whole zebra thing. With all the princess dress up around here...but every time I bated her with the question the answer was always the same...a zebra. Thank you, Joseph, for not caring.Our house was so trashed from neglect. Please don't blow up this picture and see the mess in the kitchen. We had sweet friends come over to spend the evening with us (Justin and Ms. Minna) and they were so great to just start cleaning and cooking as soon as we got home from trick or treating.
The ears didn't last long (about 20 seconds), but they were cute.
We walked up to Monkey C Media first. This is a local design house - they do book covers among other photography. They were taking pics of kids for free. You can go go to see the kids. Olivia's pic is on the homepage right now. They are a neat couple - about our age, no kids. She is a part of this local business owners group that I hope to tell you about soon. Take a look at their People of South Park photo gallery too - those are our people - neighborhood business owners, trash collectors, UPS driver, coffee shop barista, etc.
We stopped over at a neighbor's house for snacks (August, he is 5) and then hit our street. We went to about 10 houses and the kids willingly headed back up our side walk. That was enough.
Mr. Frank and Ms. Irma next door. Mr. Frank refuses to answer the door for trick or treaters. Our kids were even yelling 'hello' to him in front of his t.v. - and he yelled hello back...and then yelled for Irma. We really like them.
And then we spent the next hour doing this. They LOVED handing out the candy. Every time a scary costume came up, I swallowed hard (still not convinced participating in Halloween with a 2 and 4 year old is the wisest thing) - but Joseph just yelled at them "You not scawee!" That horrible long white face with the hollow eyes and "o" mouth and black cape came up (for about the 20th time...we had about 250 kids come to the door) and Joseph said, "What is that?" and the kid, love him, threw back his mask and said, "Just a kid!" He trotted off and Joseph turned to me in surprise and said, "A pingwan!" (translated: penguin) Love him too.
We ate frozen pizzas, drank Temecula wine, and ate a yummy homemade sweet potato pie that Ms. Minna made ("a redneck halloween?"). All in front of a toasty fire. All in all a good evening. I'll see you again next year this time with the Halloween discussion...while I have had a lot of good feedback, I'm still not feeling a confident, free conscience.


Mike's thinking about going ahead and starting Hebrew with her. She's showing aptitude...

Contestant #3

One of the Harbor sites hosted a Fall Carnival last Friday and we went in support...and search of candy (if I am being honest for Olivia). There were games and music and a costume contest that we prepared for during the 10 minutes before we walked out the door. Olivia put on some ladybug wings, a skirt, and some antenna over a black outfit - cute, obvious. Joseph went as a pirateer. The pirate hat didn't quite fit anymore, but this one did - so all accessories combined we decided he looked like a cross between Jack Sparrow and Aramis (yes, I had to wikipedia that). Both our of kids brought home loot from the costume contest, although I doubt it was because they had best costume. I believe it was their cuteness combined with their general look of cluelessness (you know what I am talking about) that won their prizes. In fact, as Joseph stood with the final contestants the judges shouted, "Let's hear it for The Pirate (another kid, obviously a pirate)! Let's hear it for Woody! Let's hear it for...uh...Contestant #3!" They didn't even know what he was. And as the crowd cheered, he stood stone faced, facing the opposite direction of all the action...clueless, but cute.