Tuesday, July 23, 2019

alice is 5! and next month, gulp, kindergarten!

On July 10 Alice turned a ripe old FIVE years old. We celebrated at home and then on Sunday the 14th we had a birthday party for her at Chuck E. Cheese. Dude, those parties are worth it. They do everything for you! All you have to do is pay money and show up! Usually I'm all about party throwing but the gift of having someone else do it... worth it! And guess what, Alice LOVED it. She was so happy to have her family and friends around and get to play games and eat pizza. What could be better? And we got this killer family photo. LOL. 
Who is Alice at 5? Just the funniest. She likes to make us laugh. If a joke works once, she thinks it will always work and keeps trying it over and over. She lands one in 20 and that one that lands she'll milk until it's dry. She still has the most atrocious eating habits and her diet is ridiculous. She rarely tries anything new. She has about 4-5 ticks that we don't understand. We think it's her anxiety showing up in various ways. She wakes up and turns on tv by herself or helps herself to an iPad and plays quietly until the rest of the family wakes up. This is mostly during the summer since we're all sleeping in. She pretends all day long. She likes unicorns, Toy Story 4, cute things, and always wants someone to play with her. Remember how we thought her love language was quality time? We still stand by it. She just wants someone to pretend with her and interact with her. We try as much as we can to indulge her but we do have to get things done and work and such but we know this time is fleeting and give in to the kid. 
Next month she starts kindergarten. I can scarce believe it. We luckily got her into the school that we wanted her to be into but they told us it was full and then they told us it wasn't anymore! Big relief.

Our girl is so big. Sniffle. Time is a blur.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

dare to have my butt handed to me

I'm part of my church's women's leadership board, did I tell you that? We formed what became the base of the women's ministry, please don't call it that. This year for the summer we ran a pilot program where we had small groups but they were populated by only women and each group met at different times and had different topics. I chose the topic of women in the workplace, called it Women at Work and lead a group of about 14 women weekly for five weeks. We read the book "Dare to Lead" by Brene Brown and discussed it weekly as well as other lady in the workplace hot topics. We'd drink Rosé, I put cute pink and blue things around, turn on the twinkle lights, we'd hang in my backyard, eat cheese... AND USE A CLIPBOARD TO WORK ON EXERCISES FROM THE BOOK THAT KICKED MY ASS EVERY WEEK AS WE TALKED ABOUT SHAME, VULNERABILITY, COURAGE, EMPATHY, VALUES, AND FAILURE.
Yeah, that's right. Instead of just some Lean In woo-hoo yeah lady power we got our butts handed to us every week by being forced to think about who we are and what our values are. If I'd have known this book was going to be as intense as it was... I don't know if I would have done it. Then again, after a year of therapy and continued desire and need for further growth, this book was pretty important for this time in my life. That of stripping back and no longer hiding anymore.
After my son's birth, I was in a deep dark place. What was later diagnosed as depression led to having to deal with all the junk I had been avoiding for years. It's not like I didn't believe in therapy or had something against it nah, I really was an advocate for it. I just avoided it and made excuses until I was so awful that I must have just said okay, nothing else is working, lemme try this thing. And I HATED going, I wanted so badly to avoid going. I guess, okay, I didn't HATE going. Okay I hated having TO go but after each session, I was so glad I had gone. It was awful at home. It was definitely worse before it got better. It was like when I organize and just make chaos of all the cupboards and counters and pull everything out, look at it, and put back what I'm keeping or toss what I'm not. It's so much worse before it gets better. I think the beginning of therapy for the partner that is not going is just meeting resistance. I didn't think I needed that much help or I was that bad. I was so wrong. I was an absolute angry asshole and lashed at the world and took it out on people I did not need to do that to. I'm still stewing in that knowledge of all the people I hurt advertently or inadvertently in the midst of growing up. I have a lot of apologies to write and send. I have a lot of work to do still.
I guess I was surprised that this book had us reach to the insides of us to access that great leader. Great leaders are vulnerable and here we were us 14 sharing some very difficult things and no body shirked away from it. Nobody ran. We dug in. We rumbled. We embraced the suck.
One of my favorite times was when we had to talk about values. There was a list and we had to narrow it down to only two. As I read the list I marked the ones that sounded good to me but when I got to two in particular, I knew those two were my values. They were 'home' and 'growth'. Home I took to mean that general feeling of feeling at home, literally my house, and the people that are home to me, aka my family. And growth I took as that constant desire for me to never stop. That feeling that even if it sucked or felt pointless, if I learned something, it was worth it. I always want to grow and I want people around me that want to grow. If I don't grow, I feel like I die inside. I think that's why it's kinda shocking I resisted getting help for so long but I realized it's because I thought I could do it alone. I thought I could just grow by myself. I thought I could just white knuckle and do it. But, HA! Hells nah girl. I needed help. I could NOT do it by myself, no matter what I tried doing over and over again and expecting a different result... oh yes, the very definition of insanity, when finally you truly change a behavior, it's because you got to the root of it. And it BLOWS getting to the root of it but once you shine a light on it, it starts getting smaller and smaller. Once you give it a name, it runs away. Once you own it, it no longer owns you. And lots of other cool therapy people slogans!
I feel a little bit like I deserve an eye roll. I used to hate these types of books. I used to hate these types of talks. I used to think I was above this dumb crap. I used to be an idiot. I am so much smarter now! I am way better now! I am sure as heck not done yet, not even close homie. But man... I can see why people start therapy and go down this crazy feelings and book reading and hunger and thirst for knowledge. It's almost like a new addiction except healthy. Let's just call it a new hobby. The hobby of owning our shit! The hobby of getting help! The hobby of admitting our weaknesses!
Did I feel ill equipped to be leading a group of women on leadership? Hells yeah. Did I do it anyway? Hells yeah. Did I love it? Hells yeah. Did I want to back out of it immediately after I agreed to do it? Hells yeah. Did I dread it sometimes? Hells yeah? Would I do it again? Hells yeah.
And this... at the end of the book we had to talk about the when you mess up. Not if, no. WHEN. Because you will. How will you get back up again? What will you do when you fall? Who will you hold accountable? And if it doesn't start with you, then you're hiding something. A big part of the books of Brene are about stories. Telling stories. We are all storytellers in this game of Life. And we get to write the stories of our lives and this little nugget at the end, if you can just remember and read this one thing that might make a little sense, I hope it's this... 
So this is me telling a story of a girl leading a group. And having her butt handed to hear on the regular and guess what? She liked it. It was good for her.

Monday, June 24, 2019

back! and always wanting more

Well... we did it! Matt I went to England and Scotland and Ireland! Did we have a killer time? YES. Did we grow closer together? YES. Were our children fine? YES. Do we want to travel more? HELLS YES. We came back renewed, refreshed, enlightened. We talked about history, art, culture, people. We ate delicious meals at great restaurants and talked without children interrupting us. We saw beautiful places that filled our hearts. We walked. A LOT. We felt very at home in the English countryside!
And I set foot in Downton Abbey. CAN YOU FREAKING BELIEVE IT?! We went inside the house too and saw the rooms from the show. We had tea on the grounds. We bought crappy merch. It was way better than I could have ever imagined. What a place!
When we got back I was home for a few weeks and I'm on a short job right now while leading a small group of women and reading "Dare to Lead". It's been a nice mix of being a mom, being stimulated outside of work, serving, and now working. I think that's probably why right now I have a sense of contentment because I'm hitting all those things that are important to me. All those things that help me feel like I'm growing and adding value to my life and the lives around me. I realized that I am having a much easier time identifying my feelings, thank you therapy. And being open about how I'm feeling especially to myself has been incredibly illuminating and freeing. I no longer want to fight these fights within myself to suppress certain needs like needing to be alone and needing to grow and needing to explore. Those are genuine needs, not some selfish agenda. Those things give my life fuel and then I can pour into those around me. I think a majority of my life I spent it having to worry very much about me in a different way because neither my mother nor father gave any thoughts to my emotional wellbeing. I think that might be common in some worlds but having then to also step into a role as the big sister while our mother parented alone made me put myself to the side in order to take care of my sisters' needs and I put on an armor of self-protection. No one took care of me so I took care of me. But not emotionally. I would write a lot as a kid, journaled a lot. I think that helped me process but rarely had that bounce board that therapy and honest friendships and a good marriage can help you realize. I was hiding behind some feelings and used them as defensive weapons to protect myself. I hid behind anger. I don't want to hide any longer. I want more.

Dunno how I went into that but I am seizing this moment I am stealing to mark those words.

I am here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

planning + plotting for the UK

Well, 2019 started out with lots of work so I'm just now having time off from a few back to back jobs. Matt and I have been sick and tired but this week coming up we're gonna rest and get some things done and I'll be spending a few nights planning.... our trip to the UK. Now that we're officially getting a tax refund, I've begun planning the trip in my head and online. Started a google map of places to visit, then a calendar, and then I started mentally planning what I'd be packing and....
We'll be going in the Spring and since weather gets unpredictable in Ireland, it's all about layers. Both shoes are designed for comfort and wet weather, t-shirt and jeans are my usual uniform, and to top it off either my blue navy Topshop coat or a navy blue rain coat. If it's extra cold, a pullover sweater, and a scarf and I'll just wear rose gold hoops and a necklace with the kids' birthstone every day. Ambre said to bring REAL socks so I prioritized those in the board above. 
In the misc. department, everything will fit in my carry on but I'll bring extra t-shirt and umbrella and such with me in my new backpack. Don't you have like 3 backpacks already Evelyn? Yes I do but the neon pink backpack won't do, the kids diaper backpack stays in the US, and if something happens to my work backpack I will be very unhappy. So this will be my new "travel backpack" when I travel for fun and not for work because if I travel for work I already have a work backpack... you see what I'm saying.

Did I already make restaurant reservations in London? Mayhaps? Did I plan an entire trip around Downton Abbey being available to visit? MMMmmmm definitely yes. Wish my poor husband luck and patience having to live with a production supervisor planning a large trip.

Friday, February 1, 2019

2018: a nice change

I guess I never got around to recapping 2017. DOH. 

I had this post ready with pictures but I'll do that later!

2018 overall was about survival with two small children. And survive we did and near the end we started to thrive.

ALICE: Alice turned 4 this year and going to preschool three days a week for three hours a day. She's learned about what a "best friend" is and wants to rank everyone accordingly. She has a few "best friends" at school and we had ONE play date with her very gregarious bestie and her mom but that was enough to cement a partnership. Watching them play together has been an absolute joy and nothing makes a mom feel better than knowing their kid is beloved by her peers.

Matt worked so hard to get her to use the potty. It feels so long ago that we went through that whole process because seriously... it was a process. The chart incentive worked as well as having her own little potty and going with zero pull ups because she would just wait to pee or poop when they were on. We had to buy a little potty seat to get her to go in public restrooms in the beginning and all kinds of other things but she's got the hang of it now without any additional tools. Recently, through no prompting from us she decided that she didn't want to wear a pull up at night anymore and it's been a few weeks without incident. 

She's really great at this age too in compliance. I can easily take her with me on errands and she sits quietly and talks and needs not much but some attention, not even a device. She has really funny sentence structures and still has a mild speech baby talk thing like how she pronounces Ls for example lunch is yonch. 

Her personality was a mixed bag. She's capable of being so kind and sweet with us and then decides to be a butthead for no reason, particularly with Matt. We'd realized that she's been yelling and talking back to us a lot so we all made a promise to no longer yell in our home. She still has a ridiculous diet but added cheese pizza and ice cream to the mix thank goodness. I gotta figure out a way to sneak nutrition in her. Milkshakes? Smoothies? 

She and I are pretty tight lately and I am relishing it as much as possible knowing those tween/teen years come all too fast to steal my girl. She's always been super easy to love and even easier to like. I think we just got a good hand with Alice, her personality is different than mine so I think that's why we get along. She's gotten a little more physically affectionate because we worked on it with her. The Five Love Languages book said that even if your child is definitely not prone to one of the languages, Alice's being touch, that as a parent you should show her healthy expressions of it so she can easily spot unhealthy ways. She hugs us and kisses us way more now all on her own. Matt and I are so desperate for it that when she sits near us we both know as a rule that we CANNOT move. I'll bring him water or snacks and he'll do the same because it's so rare when she does that that we live that moment.

FAMILY (extended, my side): We got another baby in December. My sister Mari had a daughter, Ava Delmi making that three sisters that have both a boy and a girl. Pretty crazy odds right? We've hung out at parties but this year felt like most everyone stuck to their families, not that that's a bad thing! I just think we all had a lot going on within ourselves and our families. 

I do not take for granted what a good relationship the four of us sisters have. Sometimes I get caught up in what female relationships I lack and I remember that no matter what women surround me in my life, I will always have my sisters. I love these cacas.

We went to visit my sister Liz for Thanksgiving who bought a house! It's so good to know that she's in a home that her family can stretch out in and swim and play in with space. This is the third member of our family to buy a home in America. Not bad for kids who grew up on welfare and food stamps.

FAMILY (extended, matt's side): Matt's sister moved to Redlands and remodeled her home in the cutest way and in the cutest neighborhood. Matt spent a lot of time with his family while I was on the movie since they help him feel less alone and sometimes he can sneak a nap thanks to his parents generosity. There was lots of grandparent babysitting when we needed dates and they'd often meet us at Knott's for family hang time.

FASHION: The EvY uniform continued this year and was refined and honed. I bought a few cold weather items around November to last me through the winter and a replacement jacket for my varsity one. I've been really enjoying the process of crafting my uniform since it makes getting dressed way easy and I enjoy how I look. I find myself lusting after clothes less now. I know what I need and I stick to those things.


FOOD: Ugh, probably THE worst year I've ever had in regards to both making food and eating food. I completely lost control. I ate terribly. And I worked so much that I never had the energy or desire to make food so we had a lotttt of take out. Definitely bad.

FRIENDS (new): I went out on lots of coffee dates! Around September I was free a lot so I just started taking women out for one on one coffee dates. It was awesome. A cheap way to feel social and get some quality time with a friend I don't know as well. One particular friend was Melissa who has three grown daughters. She was our small group leader but she and I bonded and went on TWO coffee dates and would have kept going if not for her and her family moving to Tokyo for only the coolest job ever that her husband has. She'll be back in a year hopefully and I misses her.

Corey Wilburn came into my atmosphere in a more profound way. We walked together through some low lows and some fun highs. And of course, the women of the Carbon leadership, my gems. 

FRIENDS (old): The HUODlums and I hung out one time in Pasadena this summer for a lovely evening and the next day for a bit too. Ambre moved to Ireland for a year. Man-D and I had lunch once during her work and Michelle and I text on the regular so we're all in each other's orbit just not in person so much. I love them forever and miss them always.

FRIENDS (playdates): It was tough setting up playdates this year I'm not sure why. We had one great playdate where we inaugurated our backyard play pen and people came and hung out exactly as we envisioned people hanging out. 

GOODBYES: My father's mother, Patrocinio Robles passed away in January. She and I were not very close but she made my dad the man he is today and he and she were very close. He always called her "jefecita" "little boss lady". We last saw her when she was on hospice two years ago and even though she couldn't say much, we could tell she was happy to see us. The one positive thing about her passing was that we saw a lot of my dad's family at the funeral and reconnected on instagram and in person. Sometimes it takes losing people to get closer, let's not wait for that.

HOME: Baby-proofing took on a whole new meaning with Walter Rey Fredrich. He was way more busy and curious than Alice was so we had to rethink all the things we had at eye level and added new locks to the majority of our cabinetry. We still have to work around Wally a LOT, like we had to move our step ladder out of reach and he reaches for knives so... grey hairs this child!

The biggest best thing we did was the backyard "play pen"! With our income tax refund money we designated some money so we could build a fence and artificially turf the backyard play area. Between Matt, Matt's dad, Alice (who handed me screws very diligently) and myself we built the fence and we had professionals install the turf.

I cannot explain to you what a change it made to the backyard. We spend a lot of time there (well, not so much this winter) and I just love that the kids can play there safely and independently. We purposefully only have small type play things: a play house, a sand box, an outdoor grill, outdoor kid size picnic table, and a water table. No swings or something that can cause injury. During the summer we would picnic there a lot

The other home improvement was painting the guest bath finally! One step closer to painting the main living space/kitchen and master bath. Someday!

MARRIAGE: While we had a few more date nights than we have in years past and even a weekend to ourselves for my birthday and our anniversary. But overall, trying to survive life with two small children left us with little energy for each other. I think it's sometimes like you're just both these Clydesdales pulling the cart forward and you're so focused looking forward that you don't look to the side. I've heard this from many parents of young kids. But it does get better, right? The one good takeaway from this is that Matt and I realize how much we actually like each other and miss each other when we don't have enough quality time together. So that's a good thing right?!

MEDIA: In May I had a kick trying to watch a classic film every night and let me tell you, what an enjoyable experience. I think I was on a superhero overload and the break was very welcome. I discovered some terrific films I hadn't heard of before, some serious impacters and I wanna do it again this year. I read a few books this year, really enjoyed Ender's Game and went to a book signing for Susan Orlean at the Library which has shifted any book wanting to the library. Anything I want to read, it's either gotta be owned already or get from the library. I got way more acquainted with an app called Rb Digital which lets you check out magazines onto your iPad FOR FREE using your library card so I have zero library subscriptions. Also, Matt finally started watching Scrubs praise be.

MONEY: 2018 was better than 2017 but we had a very lean summer after the trip to Aptos and I wrote about how not spending money was in no way an indicator of a life well lived. We truly enjoyed trying to do free things and not buying things wasn't a big deal. The year ended with a lot of work so we were able to be generous with our family during Christmas and bought presents for almost all the nieces and nephews, our parents, and most siblings.

PARTIES: We threw Wally the most epic 1st birthday party of all time. At the end of it, Matt said he felt bad for me because I would never be able to top it. To be honest, throwing a Disneyland themed birthday party has been on my parties to throw list for years but when we named him Walter after the man himself, I knew his first birthday would be Disneyland themed and began mentally planning it but the execution was pretty insane. I think we had about 60 guests including perhaps 20 children, a sing along starring Moana, a parade, a balloon vendor, mickey and minnie ears, and of course: a train. Am I insane for throwing my son a birthday party like that? Absolutely. But it was 1000 percent worth it. 

My good friend Dana's Baby Shower was another masterpiece. Again, this is one of those themes I've been wanting to do for a long time and it fit perfectly for Dana being an outdoorsy gal. Her and her husband camp a lot but of course their type of camping is way more rugged than the moderate glamping theme we went with. 

My goal of course was for her to love it and when she stood here and looked down the driveway she cried tears of joy so I think it was a win.  I did learn from past mistakes and shade was a priority this time around so we rented some tents for seating. The women were blown away with the cuteness and I must say, some of my best work in the party department. 

This party has led to me thinking even more than I have in the past about trying to monetize my event planning. I have ideas and I've actually already made my first $40 on it so that's the seed to plant my business. 

Those were my two large PERSONAL parties/events. There were smaller mini hangs but nothing like those two. But, being a part of the women's planning committee and leading our church's Christmas decor team meant I got to be a part of two events that other people paid for where I wasn't the main "client". First off in October we had the kickoff brunch event for our women's ministry. We began meeting in January (the SPIRIT section will detail Carbon a little more) and planned the event for months and months. Three of us spearheaded it and I made the vast decisions creatively of the look and feel of it and together we planned and executed it. I have never been a part of a group where we are so in sync and so efficient. I left the night before the setup around 5 and planned to go back to work until midnight but my co-leader told me they were done. Could NOT believe it. The event was a big hit and we're still planning monthly events for the women of our church. 

I had a few interesting if conflicted feelings about the event on the day. I'm pretty used to being in charge of my events and parties and putting my mark on every. single. thing. No one questions who did it all because I usually do it all. But with this event since things were distributed and it came during a time when work got super busy, I wasn't as involved as I usually am. In a good way. In a way I'm not used to as well. For example, I schemed the look and made a mood board but someone else was hired to buy the things and she was there setting it up. All the things she did were within my mood board and it was all great but I felt odd that this woman came in and didn't know who I was and what I had influenced. I guess that's sort of me having a hard time letting go and delegating because NO WAY could I have done the physical buying and setting up, no way. And boy was it great having a team, boy howdy! On the day, I just hung out and kicked back and answered questions. We were a well oiled machine and it takes some getting used to letting go of the control. Less stress though, I could get used to that. 

The other thing I worked on for our church was Christmas. Decorating for Christmas in particular and also helping to decorate for the Christmas event itself. At first I was a little like no I'm not sure I have the energy or creativity or time to help do this and then I had a meeting with one of the staff members and by the end of that meeting I had a theme, a pinterest board and a plan. *emoji shrug* I just can't help myself. We spent a long day setting up on the 1st of December and the morning of December 2nd I laid in bed and opened instagram so I could see if my social media savy pastor would post about what I'd done and boy did he deliver. You know when Chip & Jo pull the wall back and say "ready to see your fixer-upper" I never get to see people's reactions and my pastor's opinion mattered the most so his was the most important reaction and thankfully, he recorded himself as he saw it all for the first time and here I have stolen screen grabs of his reactions and words and judge for yourself if you think he liked it.

The event itself... meh. Not that wild about it. But my photo booth looked bomb. 

PETS: Poor neglected dogs. Again.

SPIRIT: This was big for Matt and I this year. Matt joined a men's group that rocked his world and I was asked to be part of the women's ministry planning group/leadership team. January 23, 2018 after a Sunday at church where I felt myself praying that I wanted to be a part of something involving women I got this email:
I have been tasked with getting the Women’s Ministry(I hate that name)  off the ground.  I would love to talk with you about the possibility of you serving on the that committee.  The commitment would be a once a month planning/think tank with a launch of the ministry this fall.  
And plan we did. Together, a group of 13 incredible type A different and dope chicks came up with a mission, a name, and events to serve the women of our church. We meet once a month and we get so much done and are so in tune with our game plan that I scarcely believe it. We literally fixed our logo together. We've gotten to know each other a little over the past year and I've learned so much from them and actually want to get to know them better! 

I dunno if this falls in the spirit category but I went to therapy for a full year and boy howdy did it help! Matt and I went through a HUGE growth in 2018 and therapy was instrumental.

THEME PARKS: Knott's Passes! We were there like... a lot. Matt more than me and Wally is now VERY interested in the characters much like Alice was. It's a great way to spend a day as a family and not be distracted with work or house things to do.

TRAVEL: We had one trip as a family for a real vacation and one trip to my sister's for Thanksgiving. The trip to Northern California was to celebrate having survived a film and it was very needed. We rented a condo in Aptos and were there for a week. It was a terrific blend of activities for the kids and some downtime at the place for us. We didn't schedule the days as good as I could have to coincide with Wally's naps and he was very wily and at that time, had a very small attention span. I don't think that'll be a problem going forward but we learned that trips with little kids is a challenge. 

The Thanksgiving trip was much different with Wally. He'd rarely nap but he was much more easy to manage even just a few months later. What a difference a few months makes for a little kid.

WALLY: Oh Walter Rey Fredrich. In January he was here:

In December, he was here:

He was/is a lot different than Alice. They told us a lot about how boys were different than girls and I thought pft, that's just a stereotype but boy this boy. Active. Busy. Climb-y. Clingy with mom. Sometimes he just wants me to carry him on my hip and it can't just be any side, he always wants to be on my left hip and would shift himself over. Then he'd be content and just wanted to be where mom and the action was. He is also very stubborn when he doesn't get his way. Unlike Alice where we could distract her pretty easily away from what she wanted, Wally does not let it go. He cries, he points, he keeps running back to the thing screaming. And we don't give in but man, it's a battle. 

But the cute stuff... oh the cute stuff! And seriously people, my son is one of the cutest little boys I've ever seen period and I can't believe we made a child so beautiful. He's unreal.

Like Alice, he doesn't talk much at almost 2 but he does communicate. Most of it is in adorable signature what we call Wally grunts and will have full convos with you about things. There is no doubt he understands and that he is trying to tell us things.  Having a big sister has made him much more responsive to pretend play since he has someone to emulate and he plays WAY better by himself now. For months and months and only until very recently has he really started playing for longer. I had moments where I look up from making dinner and there they are, playing together.  A miracle as well as a wonderful, welcome sight.

He shares. He likes to help. He likes tasks. He likes to close the gate behind us or the front door. One evening, I came home and left a bag of groceries by the door and went to the kitchen and he brought the bag to me in the kitchen, grunting under the weight the whole way. I was flabbergasted. This cute little thing!

He's pretty empathetic too. When Alice is crying, he wants to comfort her. She threw an epic tantrum once and crawled under the table and within a few minutes, he crawled under it and patted her and grunted words of encouragement. 

Recently, he did one of the cutest things we've ever seen. We were sitting around the table having dinner and I look up from my food and Wally is sitting there hands outstretched. I realize that he has watched Alice so often that he was wondering why we weren't praying. So we all held hands and then we bowed our heads and I asked him if he wanted to pray so he grunted his prayer, then looks up when he thinks he's done and waits for us to say "Amen". The three of us melted into a puddle. Alice ran over and hugged him and said "That's so cute Wally!" 

WORK: I had way more work this year than last. The biggest work thing was... I worked on a movie! It will be released this year and when you sit in the theatre during the credits, my name will be there!

So that was 2018 and it took me approximately a month to write this post and I still feel like I didn't finish but Wally's probably gonna wake up from a nap soon so this is the best you're gonna get!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

so happy to be here

Hi, okay so of course I have been a bad blogger. I'm working on a recap of 2018 AND 2017 and I have to be completely not distracted so I'm in the office and trying to focus.

I am so happy to be in 2019. 2018 was good, kind of a limbo year and 2019 feels like one of action, of moving forward, of moving on, of literally moving my butt. Not moving homes though. We are especially enjoying our home lately. So with that...
Let's get on with it.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

ho ho ho... i guess

Well it's that magical time of year that results in... one burned out mother.

Now, I've just had a long day and I'm not in the best place so this is coming from a raw place but... pft, whatever.

I've been working pretty nonstop and then on top of that I was volunteering at our church with the Christmas decor. PLUS add to that parties, gifts, wrapping, and trying hard to make Christmas magic for the kids. I mean our days have been full To. The. Brim. Just now at 10:30pm I've wrapped my last gift for the kids and am drinking wine, eating cheese, watching The Golden Girls and trying to just... chill and unwind. Why do women do this to ourselves at this time of year. Is it worth it? SO MUCH WORK. SO MUCH MONEY. SO MUCH STRESS. SUCH LITTLE SLEEP.

Lemme just tell you, yes and no. No, because we don't HAVE to do any of that but YES because of those moments that justify the nuttiness like last night. We decorated Christmas cookies and I thought it would be fun to go out and give them to the neighbors as a way to spread Christmas cheer.
Alice was really into the whole thing. She would knock on the door and happily hold the plate of cookies and say "Merry Christmas!" We met a neighbor who lives alone and a few other people who were so surprised to see us on their door with adorable children giving out cookies just because it was Christmas. The feeling of Alice being so happily giving and how much she enjoyed it was almost worth all the Christmas induced stress.
She's been such a shiny spot this year my Alice. She's only wanted mama lately and she's been so sweet with me. But a butt to dad. But I've needed her love and affection lately. Even as the days have been so stressful and tiring, it's good to know I have my Alice who appreciates (most of) it.
And our Christmas church event stuff... well it's done now. It was very much enjoyed the Christmas decor. The event itself was not mine and it was a mixed bag. But my photo booth was cute.
The one unchecked item on my to do list has been "take family photo" and we've just not had the time nor the brains to slap on some cute outfits and attempt to pose with the Wally monster. You guys, he is so darn adorable. I mean, soooooo cute. But he's such a handful! Alice was so easy going and quiet and still and Walter Rey is NOT. We adore him but holy crap. HOLY crap.
Tomorrow we head to my sister in-law's and I don't have to do jack but get dressed and sit in a car so hopefully it will be a quiet day of family. I need that very very desperately.

Happy Christmas to all... and to mothers... a silent night.

Friday, November 30, 2018

'tis the season

The halls are decked. Actually we decked them before Thanksgiving, violating my rule to wait until the day after Thanksgiving because I wanted to come back from my sister's in Arizona to a decorated house.  The office is in it's merry mood.
 The rest of the house, since I had all those leftovers from the camping themed baby shower, is "Christmas Cabin" themed with Buffalo Check and Reindeer and Wood and it's adorable. I'll take some pictures and share them here later.

Monday, September 24, 2018

money can't buy me joy

First off, I got a job so whew, praise the Lord. It goes until October 10 about and then I might jump onto something after that. Sounds like town is getting busy so yay.

We had a very lean month after vacation since I wasn't working and my unemployment insurance didn't kick in until last week finally. We went on full spending freezes and only spent money on food. Our credit card bill was half what it normally was. And as we stared down the barrel of  having an income again, we assessed what our life had been like this past month. I asked Matt the following question: Do you think our quality of life has diminished in any way? Do you think we have been unhappy?
The answer was a resounding: no. Even though we have been living super cheap, we have been enjoying life in Los Angeles with two children to the max. We have traversed this great city and explored it's many free/cheap activities weekly. We went to the beach, we went to parks, we went all over. We did free museum days, free garden days, used our Knott’s passes. We lived it up. We would pack lunches and keep eating out to a minimum. We would order water and make coffee at home. All those tiny tricks to avoid spending a lot of money when you’re out we used. We even laughed about the fact that on one particular outing to Knott’s not only did we not spend a penny, but Alice found a penny and a quarter making us the only family EVER to make $.26 at Knott’s. Yeah we were living tight and it was stressful on me to be imagining worst case scenarios (omg we’re gonna have to sell our house and move in with my mom) but we had faith. And the Lord did provide.

I would like to tell you that we’ve learned our lesson and we’ll be so responsible and save and never spend too much ever again and I hope so. It was a good reminder that money does not equal happiness but we still gotta be careful when we have it ‘cause otherwise when we don’t… we could end up living with our mothers.

Friday, August 24, 2018

vacay 2018!

The first week of August we officially went on vacation to Northern California. We stayed in a rental condo in Aptos, CA, near Santa Cruz. We could not have chosen a better time to go. Down here it was about 90 degrees and up there, it was a glorious low 70s. We wore pants. We wore sweaters. The mornings by the beach were foggy. GLORIOUS. On the way up we took the 1 which, while it was beautiful, was a bad idea with squirmy Walter. We made a stop to see elephant seals and it was chilly!
But we should have just kept driving since Wally had fallen asleep. He never bounced back from that and I had to hand over the amazon fire and many many snacks but it was not enough. Ah Walter.
The drive sure was beautiful though. What an idea to make a highway that runs the coastline of California right?
Overall, the kids were so-so during the day. We'd have leisurely breakfasts/morning times at our rental and then would head out for the day. It was those times when I knew that renting a place is the way to go with them. They had their room, we had ours, and we could make breakfast and dinner and save eating out money that way.
After the drive up debacle, you think we would have learned but we never quite timed Wally's naps so we suffered the wrath of a cranky 17 month old for a few hours until his inevitable crashes in the car. Plus, that kid has zero attention span so most of the time was spent wrangling him and he hates being wrangled. We did make ALL activities kid focused but nothing was enough to stave off the Wally monster. It's just the age he's at.
Day 2 we took a train ride through a redwood forest. It had this little play area where they could run around and let out their wiggles.
The good thing about the train ride was that it was really beautiful but the bad thing was that it was an hour long which was probably about 40 minutes too long. Sheesh we do not learn.
Containing the boy was our #1 distraction.
After that we went to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk where all rides from 5-10pm were $1.50.
They were so cute on all the things they could ride on. Alice took her big sister responsibilities very seriously when I told her to keep Wally inside the boat.
Matt was excited because they filmed The Lost Boys on this very carousel.
Day 3 we met up with my college friend Becca and her two kids at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. 
Yes, it's a state of the art aquarium world-renowned but what did they love the most? Play area. Look at the animals, nope, we wanna play on the waterbed thing.
It's so great to have friends to commiserate with about parenthood.
We did a tiny walk to Cannery Row for Matt.
Funnily enough the best part of the day was having dinner at Becca and Darren's. The kids played together, the parents bonded, and we ate amazing Oaxacan food. At this age with Wally, a restaurant is a mistake we have learned. Someday we will be able to but right now, homes are good.
Day 4 was our day in Aptos. We spent it at a beach that has a shipwrecked boat and both of the kids were so incredibly chill and happy. Wally loved chasing the waves, Alice loved the sand and the waves and giggling with mom as the waves caught us. 
Matt took one of the best photos of them. It's framed in our room now. 
That night in lieu of a fancy meal out we ordered some food and ate in and I made our dinner table as fancy as I could. 
The following day we headed back home but made a pit stop to see a GRIP TON of otters swimming in the wild. I could have stood there for hours watching them but the kid attention span gave me maybe 15 minutes. Better than nothing I suppose. 
The drive home we took a faster route and they actually slept on the way. Hallelujah.
We didn't want to leave! It was a great trip even with the meltdowns. Every day we had a memory or two that will stay in our hearts for years. Vacationing with two small kids is a challenge but you gotta do it. You gotta go at a kid pace and you just gotta not give up. It's worth it.
I kept thinking about how it was our first real vacation as a family of four. Last year we got to have a few days at Newport Coast but this one felt more like it was the reality that it was our little family vs the world. Or our little family in the world and know what, I really enjoy our little family. Squirms and all, we got each other and that's all we need.