Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hello and Goodbye

We just made our way home after a very quick weekend up north to visit my brother and sister-in-law. The trip was just over 48 hours, and not long enough (as usual), but we had a really nice time.

On our way up, we wound through the hills of thousands of golden poppies! 

We made sure to stop for a stretch at our usual spot, Kettleman City. 

As soon as we pulled up, Marshall said, "Water wheel!" (How did he remember?) 

Finally we made it to my parents' house, where Chris and Ashley were house- and dog-sitting for the weekend (my parents were on vacation). We all met there Friday evening and devoured the meal my mom had left for us (her now-famous chili verde, which is one of our favorite meals). Marshall crashed at 7:30 and we adults weren't too far behind. It was a lovely, chill evening.

Saturday morning Marshall didn't wake up until after 7! He got some play time with Uncle Chris ("big huge tower!") while Ashley headed to work. 

Terry, Marshall and I took a long walk to a playground to let M play a while, and I got to squeeze in a little workout.

20 walking lunges
20 jumping lunges
20 bench dips
10 incline push ups
20 calf raises
20 squats
20 hip abductors (each side)
20 plie squats

(repeat for a total of 3 times)

Not too crazy, but perfect when combined with our 3-mile walk. 

Love these boys!

Next on our agenda was a trip out to see Ashley at work so I could get a hair cut. I went shoulder-length and I love it. We also had Marshall take a seat to trim a little hair above his ears and in the back of his head (if you look up at that water wheel photo, you'll see the bird's nest that kept happening every time Marshall got out of his car seat). His first hair cut! 


Then we all took a walk around the waterfront near Ashley's salon. It was a gorgeous day in the Bay Area!

Uncle and nephew.

Aunt and nephew.

Back at my parents', we had Marshall eat ahead of us out on the patio, and he was pretty happy about it. This kid and food--a love affair from the start.

Uncle Chris and Aunt Ashley did the honors of putting the little guy to bed, 

and then Chris cooked up some steaks (thanks, Dad!) to enjoy with some twice-baked potatoes and salad. We enjoyed a rousing round of Parcheesi (I won!) before calling it a night.

Saturday night Terry and I didn't sleep well (and actually Marshall woke up once crying, which is super rare nowadays), but we were all up quite early to start our Sunday. We headed out for a walk with Tango and Eiger.

A big reason we visited this weekend was to provide a distraction for Chris and Ashley, who have had a heartbreaking start to the year. Two weeks ago, they had to make the very difficult and sad decision to put their beloved German Shepherd, Achilles, to sleep. After learning he had a very advanced form of cancer and consulting with experts at UC Davis, no less, it was the right thing to do for the poor guy. He was too young, and our family is devastated. Chris and Ashley gave Achilles a truly wonderful life, though, and he was a funny, sweet, protective member of the family. We are so sad to say goodbye to him.

So this weekend was a chance to take a break from being sad, to spend time together, to laugh (mostly because of Marshall but also because of my parents' puppy Eiger). And we really made the most of it. It didn't quite feel right without Achilles there, but we like to think he was there in spirit. 

We ended our trip with a quick visit from our friends Fay and David, who live near my parents. We chatted for a little over an hour, and it's always so wonderful to catch up with those two. 

A few more photos from the weekend:

Eiger pretending to be a lap dog.

The little hummingbird nest with two babies outside my parents' house.

A quick little makeshift lasagna I made when we got home tonight, with sauteed zucchini, roasted eggplant, a jar of marinara, pasta, and mozzarella, all layered up melty and delicious.

And with that, we're off to bed to start the (short!) week before we hit the road again for the Grand Canyon. Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Can't We Always Turn the Clocks Backwards?

Well, well, well, look who decided to pop her head out and say hello. It's been a little while, so I'm here to play catch up in an effort to maintain some sort of consistency (if you can call once a week consistent in blogland). Here are some photos from the last (few) weeks...

One morning (perhaps in February), we made pancakes together as a family. I'm trying still to find more ways for Marshall to get hands on in the kitchen, and as long as I'm okay with a little mess we do alright. He can pour and stir, and that's quite sufficient for most recipes for him to feel involved. 

Look at that concentration!

Walks to UCLA have become a semi-regular thing. Last week we went for a long one.

Later that day, Marshall came down with a fever. He tried to go to sleep on his own, but we could tell he really wasn't feeling well, which led to one of the sweetest moments ever: I went in to soothe Marshall a little while after he tried to go down, and he told me, "Want cuddle" (I cute!). When I sat with him in the chair, Terry popped in to make sure all was okay, and Marshall saw him. A few minutes later, Marshall said, "Want Daddy." So Daddy came back, and the two of them cuddled until M fell asleep, and my heart is now in a giant puddle on Marshall's floor.

The weather has been nice and chilly lately too, so we've had a few fires this week. Scout is a HUGE fan. He curls up or stretches out as close as he can get and lets his fur get piping hot. I think he would curl up there forever if he could!

In preparation for St. Patrick's Day, I made Irish Soda Bread scones, a mishmash recipe from several sources. They turned out incredibly well (although I've never actually had real Irish Soda Bread, so maybe it tastes nothing like the real thing, and apparently my sources are pretty Americanized versions of the recipe anyway, but hey, a delicious scone is a delicious scone). We topped them with clotted cream and jam and sipped tea out of my Gammy's china, and it was a really lovely afternoon.

This little guy has been dealing with a pretty solid growth spurt, from what we can tell. He's a bottomless pit, a little grumpier than usual, and sleepy all the time. Yesterday he ate a full dinner and was so upset that there was no more food that I had to make him a peanut butter sandwich. He was finally satisfied. I'll be packing some big lunches this week!

As for other updates around here, we leave for the Grand Canyon in less than two weeks! (Any suggestions? We're looking for a not-too-crazy hike or two, good places to grab food, tourist traps to avoid.) But we also scheduled another impromptu trip up north next weekend to visit my brother and Ashley, so we're super excited about that. I know Marshall will be thrilled to see his aunt and uncle!

Terry and I are both still adjusting to our new schedule with my work and whatnot. I miss being home with Marshall, but I love seeing how much he is learning at school, so it evens out. He picks up little phrases like "see you soon" that we love to hear. He loves to dance and now requests music when we're all at home. At school they dance with sticks, so he does the same now at home. So between 5 and 7:30, we squeeze in as much family time as possible each evening.

Here are some fun photos in no particular order:

Caught Marshall chillin' on the floor playing with his fire truck.

Terry and I finally had our at-home fondue date night! We also watched Charade, which I highly recommend (on Netflix)!

Terry's team won an award at work, and we went to the ceremony and dinner. So fun to celebrate the team!

A few weeks ago we went for a walk up in Beverly Hills that felt like a world away. 

Marshall got to play in the "stream" and splash in the water!

And a big stick!

Marshall now knows to say, "Go Bruins!" when he sees the UCLA logo.

We attended our annual Oscars party (Teddy came too), and had a blast seeing everyone and submitting our ballots, even though we saw none of the movies.

Marshall enjoyed the fish tank most.

Here's something I never want to forget: Long ago, when we taught Marshall how to make a fish face, we would kiss him every time we made the face. Now, he thinks we have to kiss every time! It's so sweet, and a great way to get him to kiss me (otherwise, when I ask for a kiss, he leans his forehead toward me as if to say, "Yes, mother, you may, in fact, kiss me," in his British accent).

Father-son outing: Marshall's first ice cream date!

We treated ourselves to True Food Kitchen a while back, and I inhaled the bison burger. Marshall has been a total champ at restaurants lately, and it's making eating out a lot more tempting!

Swim lessons are in full swing, and Marshall is getting really good at floating on his back. Not so great at blowing bubbles in the water, but we're working on it.

Juggling with daddy!

Sometimes I forget that Marshall still has so much to learn, like how to sit with his legs crossed. I love the look of concentration here for something we see as so simple!

And now we're all caught up. I am already looking forward to the weekend for a relaxing drive up north and some time with my brother and sister-in-law! Enjoy your week.