Saturday, April 30, 2011

Disneyland, part one!

What a trip!  I am exhausted, but it was worth it.  The kids had a blast, and it was even better watching them have a blast.  When we got there we checked in to our hotel, which was nice and very close to the park.  There was a great pool, with waiters who could come and bring us drinks and food.  Sounds relaxing, huh?  Not really with two kids three and under.  Justin and I were kept busy trying to prevent Ruby from walking into the pool.  That night we went into Downtown Disney, which is just an outdoor mall right next to Disneyland.  There was a gigantic Disney store where we told Ramona she could pick something out.  Unfortunately, she found the princess dresses, which are 65 bucks!  So, we spent the whole shopping trip avoiding the area where the dresses were.  We went to dinner where there was a woman making balloon creations, and Ramona asked her to make a princess wand.  When she made it for Ramona, she was ecstatic.  We hadn't even been to Disneyland yet, and Ramona was stoked.

The next morning we went to Disneyland bright and early, and Ramona was most excited about the Sleeping Beauty castle.  She kept telling us that we needed to go there first.  We took a picture of her in front of the castle, and then went inside.  When I was a kid the castle was closed, so it was fun to be able to go inside.  That said, there isn't much in there, just the story of sleeping beauty.  Ramona found it a little scary (maybe we'll wait to show her that movie till she is older).  When we got out, we looked at Ruby just to see that one of her shoes is missing.  We had literally been at the park for five minutes.  We looked everywhere, but it seemed to have disappeared.  Our own little Cinderella.  I was pretty irritated, since those were my favorite little European shoes.

The next thing we went to was to meet the princesses, which was Ramona's favorite part.  She got to meet Belle, Ariel, and Tiana.  Belle was a real pro, she was able to get Ruby to come and sit on her lap (Ruby was a little scared of all people wearing costumes).  They were all really good with the kids, Ramona was in a total Princess trance.

After the princesses, we stayed in Fantasyland for a while.  We went on "Its a Small World", Storybook land boats, and Dumbo.  Then we went on the train the goes around Disneyland, and it was nice to rest our legs.  When we got back to the train station, there just happened to be a princess story time.  Cinderella told the story of, um, Cinderella, which Ramona loved. 
Then we wandered into Toontown, which is really as lame as I remember it.  We did get to meet Mickey, whom Ramona wasn't that excited to meet, but when she saw him she seemed pretty taken.  He did bust us for Ruby being barefoot though.  We had bought her some Minnie Mouse flip flops to replace the missing shoe, but they wouldn't stay on. After this, we all needed some lunch, so we went to the Hungry Bear Restaurant, which we had seen from the train, and it looked really peaceful.  We sat right above the water, and had some food that was much better than I remember Disneyland food being (fried green tomato sandwich!).  Then we decided to walk over to California Adventure, which is where both kids fell asleep.  What do you do when both of your kids fall asleep at California Adventure?  You have a beer, of course.  Thank god C.A. has booze, since Disneyland does not. 

I wasn't that impressed with California Adventure (besides the booze part), there were a lot of rides that looked pretty cool, but the whole park didn't feel anywhere near as cohesive as Disneyland.  We met a few characters, played in some water in "Bugs Land" (it was really hot, upper 80's), then we walked back to the hotel to rest and go swimming.  We were pretty exhausted, I think we were all asleep by 9:30.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


We decided to tell Ramona about our Disneyland trip this morning when she got her Easter basket.  We The easter bunny got her some Disney themed items, so it seemed like a good time to tell her.  I videotaped her when we told her about the trip (we leave Tuesday), and her response was nothing like those responses on the Disneyland commercial.  She said "oh", and went back to her Easter eggs.  When I asked her why she wasn't more excited, she said "Its not THAT special".  Ok.  As the day went on though, she has been talking about it a lot.  Right now she is watching Snow White for the first time.

We had my family over for breakfast, and it was a nice, easy thing.  Only six of us, so the prep work wasn't too bad, and it was really pleasant.  There was Lillet, Easter egg hunts, chocolate, and a zucchini and ricotta galette.  My mom gave the girls some clothes for their Easter gifts, but Ramona was pretty disappointed that the gorgeous skirt my mom gave her wasn't a dress.  She is obsessed with dresses.  I've got to find some pictures of princesses in other things so that she wears the rest of her clothes.

Now, we are just getting ready for our trip.  I'm very excited for the weather!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Ramona has spring break this week, and its been fun to spend time with Ramona, but I do miss Escuelita.  Ramona goes the to the most amazing spanish immersion preschool.  I love her teachers, I love the director, I love the energy and love she gets from everyone.  I also love the time I get to spend with just Ruby.  She gets to go to a baby group (who are all toddlers now!) with all of her friends, and no bossy preschoolers.

Here is a picture of Ramona and Keshav, on of her friends from escuelita.  They love to hug each other.  SO cute.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

daily treats

One of the things about having kids is that you value things that you may or may not have valued before they entered your life.  For one thing, I value my routine.  Every weekday is almost exactly the same, besides the morning activity that we do.  Also, I have a few daily treats that make me happy, some of which would probably not have seemed like treats before having the two R's.

1.  Justin lets me sleep until 7:00!  He is wonderful, he goes down to the basement and plays with the kids until 7:00, or the time he has to get ready for work.
2.  Going to the gym.  Ok, not quite daily, but 3 days a week I get to drop one or two of the kids with Mrs. Kuefler and exercise.   I used to find the gym a chore, but now its a break for me.
3.  Eating my lunch alone, in front of the tv.  I just can't eat lunch with the kids, I am always distracted, and never have time to enjoy my food.  So, when the kids go down for nap, I bring my lunch to the basement and veg out in front of the tv.  This is one of my favorite moments of the day.
4.  Hanging out with Ramona while Ruby sleeps.  Ruby is a marathon napper, so while she is sleeping Ramona and I play together.  Sometimes she just colors while I read, or sometimes we build a castle together.  Its almost always peaceful, she seems to be very agreeable after nap, even thought she doesn't actually sleep most days.
5.  Going to get Ruby after her nap.  She is always so happy!  She is excited to see me, and her sister.  Her smile after waking up is something I've been meaning to take a picture of for a long time.
6.  Shower.  Everyday I take a shower in the middle of the day, during naptime.  Kind of a weird time to shower, but its so amazingly relaxing.  Was showering always this relaxing?
7.  Popcorn after dinner.  Yes, everyday I "share" a bag of popcorn with Justin while we watch tv.  I'm totally hooked, but I figure my addiction could be worse.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Portland with princesses

We had a fun, if not completely exhausting trip to Portland.  We rode the train out with the Howells on Saturday (Sabrina, Eric, Maddie and Otis), and the older girls had a lot of fun together.  They were princesses during most of the train ride......see above picture of the wands, and they anointed me their queen.  They had fun looking at some of the sites that we were passing, water, trees, farms, horses, etc.....  They were also kept busy with some shows (thank god!).  The youngers were a little bit more difficult.  They enjoyed walking back and forth in the aisles, falling occasionally, and crying just as often.  One and half year olds are just not the easiest travel companions. 

When we got to Portland, we checked into the Monaco, which was a magnificent hotel.  The girls loved the room, exploring it kept Ruby busy pretty much the entire trip.  We wandered around downtown Portland a little, ending up walking through a market and exploring the waterfront park with amazing cherry blossom trees.  There was also a speed addict rapper that kept us entertained for awhile, amazing how fast your rhymes are when you are speedballing!  We met up with Kim, Ben and Lucy on the walk, and eventually Ruby and Lucy explored the park together, even holding hands at one point.  Those kids love each other!

We went back to the hotel to freshen up, then went out to dinner at Mama Mia, an Italian restaurant which is owned by the same people who own Mothers, a famous Portland breakfast joint.  We got a nice big table in an almost entirely separate room, which was nice since we had six adults, and five children!  Busy. 

The next morning was the race, which I wrote about in the next blog entry.  After the race we met up with Gab and Per, and their beautiful baby boy, Tycho.  He is a big baby, and I have huge love for the chubby babies because of Ramona.  We went out to breakfast, which was another strangely successful breakfast with children.  The waitress had pink hair, so she was automatically in with Ramona.  Gab and Per seem like such well adjusted parents, relaxed and comfortable.  It was good to see. 

I went back to the hotel for a nap, and Justin went on a three hour stroll with Ramona (in which she fell asleep, and he saw most of Portland).  After naptime, we walked to the Pearl District, stopped in at West Elm, and then headed to Bridgeport Ale house for an early dinner (I'm talking 5:30 people).  The food was good, the atmosphere fantastic, and the beer was even better.  However, our little princess had some potty problems(no need to go into it), so we didn't hang out long.  We stopped at Whole Foods on the way back so we could get Ramona a cookie (because we promised her a cookie if she tried to go potty at the restaurant), and I got myself a cupcake, cuz hey........I ran a half marathon!  We ended up at the hotel nice and early, and enjoyed bath time and early bedtimes for all.  Today was a really fun day.

The next day was raining.  Ick.  We walked with the Howells to the Pearl Bakery, which is FANTASTIC.  I had a gibassier, which I think is code for "fancy donut".  I'm sure it beat the buns off those Voodoo donuts, which I am way too impatient to wait in line for.  Then Sabrina and I wandered around Powells for a little while, since no trip to Portland is complete without a stop at Powells, in my world.  Then we hung out in the hotel until the natives got restless (I'm not sure who the natives are, the children or the adults).  We couldn't figure out what to do with the remaining time before we had to catch the train, so we ended up hanging out in a mall that was a few blocks from the hotel (I know, I know, but it was raining!  We have little kids!). 

The train ride back was pretty disastrous since nobody had a good nap that day, Sabrina and I were in recovery from the run, and because we were sitting next to some uber hip girl with leggings and no dress on who constantly talked loudly on her phone about all the guys she had been hooking up with.  Ew.

All in all a successful trip.  If you made it this far, I'm impressed!

Run for the Roses

I was feeling excited before the race, but I had no idea how crazy I looked!

Finished!  I look very relieved.
My first half marathon of the season was Sunday in Portland.  I ran with my running buddies Kim and Sabrina, and I've been looking forward to it for a long time!  We woke up early at our hotel, and met in the lobby at 6:15 (I had to be convinced of that time, I really wanted to meet at 6:00 because I am super anxious about being late.  I'm glad I did the race with logical, non-anxious about being late people).  We jogged to the start, at the Oregon Convention Center, which was about 1.4 miles away.  It was a nice way to get ready for a race, and the streets were totally deserted.  It was a nice morning, a little cold, but clear and looked promising in terms of warming up.  We arrived at the start line with time for everybody to go to the bathroom about 5 times, because it seems that being nervous about running makes you have to pee a million times.

I was wearing a tank top with my (thin) running jacket over it.  I really didn't want to be wearing the jacket, but I knew standing outside before the race was going to be too cold for just a tank top.  We started at 7:00, and I knew I was feeling good right away.  The only problem I had at first was I struggled with turning my runmeter app on when we started, so eventually I gave up, and decided I didn't need my splits.  I was disappointed at first, but I wanted to relax, and not struggle right at first with my iphone, so I'm glad I gave it up.  At mile 3 Sabrina's camelback burst (seriously!), and spilled her water all over her back.  She said at first that she thought she peed herself, and was a little concerned about her bladder control.  She didn't know what to do about the backpack, but luckily we saw Justin a few minutes later, and were able to ditch the backpack, and my jacket.  Justin was a primo cheerleader (along with his assistants, Ramona and Ruby).

After her backpack broke, Sabrina fell a little behind, so Kim and I continued to run without her : (  We ran along the water until we turned around and started back towards downtown Portland.  Running downtown was really fun, and the weather was perfect for running.  We passed Justin and the girls again (Ramona was holding a sign that said "Go Mama Go" a highly sophisticated joke about the play "Go Dog Go"), and then ran into the industrial part of the city.  Kim and I talked about how we were going to try to crank up the pace a little once we got to mile 10.  We reached an in and out part of the race at mile 9, and I always find those a little more difficult, watching people run past you going the "right" way is a little disheartening sometimes.  On the way back in the city though we saw the 2:15 pacers who were quite a bit behind us, which made us feel good.  We were aiming for a 2:15, so now we just had to stay ahead of them to get a better time than we expected.

Once we got to mile 10, we turned it on.  We played a game where we would choose someone ahead of us to "catch".  It made running faster than we were comfortable a little bit fun.  Around mile 12 we saw Justin and Sabrina's family, which was a real boost, because were were really struggling by then.  Kim and I were doing a pretty good job encouraging each other also.  There was a big "hill" at the end, which was the entrance to the big bridge we were crossing.  Kind of a hard time to tackle a steep hill, but once we got to the top we sprinted to the finish line.  We finished at a 2:05:15, which was a major PR for me.  It is 25 minutes faster than my last half-marathon!  It was a great race, and I'm happy to have my friends there to run with.  Now I'm going to aim for a sub-2:00 for the Rock and Roll Half marathon.  I love a good goal!