Monday, February 17, 2014

Some Valensteins Breakfast

It doesn't matter how old my boys get, they still call the lovey holiday "valenSTEINS" day. I think it's their way of morphing it into Halloween, which in their opinion is the king of all holidays (you mean we get to play dress-up and get free candy?) This year the day was fairly low-key since James was leaving for Florida early the next morning, but we still managed to have our annual Valentine's Day breakfast as a family, and Daddy's famous waffles did not disappoint! Plus the boys played dress up and ate lots of free candy (courtesy of their doting parents) so it was a major win for them. 
They boys in their pj's getting ready for breakfast. You'll notice that Ever is in nothing but unders, yeah, he's decided that that's his preferred clothing to sleep in lately!

 Such a fun morning spent with all of my loves.

We also had a super fun Valentine's Party with our favorite girls. Melissa always plans the best parties, and we were so glad to be there! Sadly, this is the best picture I got ;)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

life lately and mostly the weather

I've found myself drinking an awful lot of hot chocolate lately. What's a girl to do when it's fa-reezing outside all. of. the. time? The boys have come to expect it, and every time we come in after bracing the frosty elements it's not "can we have some hot chocolate?" but instead "I'll hang up my winter coat while you make the hot chocolate." And mostly, I'm all, yep. Because drinking hot chocolate on a daily basis is one of the only redeeming factors of this kind of weather.

The weather. The weather. Sometimes I feel like that awkward relative who only talks about the weather. But uhhhh, the weather. We're going to Florida soon, it's currently 80 degrees there--take that Nueva York. I think that our impending trip has saved me during the last few weeks when I thought I might actually die from hating the cold so much. But instead, I've thought--beaches HQ, live for the beaches!

Talmage read something I wrote for the first time the other day. I went to cook dinner and peered into the living room to see him cuddled up on the couch with the computer on his lap, smiling while he devoured my latest work. He saw me watching him and said, "Writing makes you happy, ha Mom" and for some reason my eyes welled up with tears, because yes T, writing brings me so, so much joy and you can read now and we can share it, and how cool is that? Gosh, I have loved my kids being tiny but there are some definite perks about them growing up. This is one of them.

Another fun thing about T growing up is having hilarious conversations with him, like this one that happened while James was bearing his testimony at church:
T: Hey Mom, when people talk at church it's supposed to be about God, right?
Me: Yes.
T: Oh, cuz Dad's up there talking about the law...I need to tell him that he's doing it wrong!

Or this one with Ever Knight too, after a family home evening lesson on Christianity:
Me: Do you boys have any questions?
Ev: Uh...I spy wif my widdle eye...Jesus! His wast name is Cwist.
T: I have a question...what does the fox say? {both naughty boys erupt in laughter!}

James and I are taking salsa dancing lessons. It has to be the best Christmas present ever (to me, from him), matched only by the Killers tickets I got him last year. Remember how we went to that concert in the dead of winter and we were wearing short sleeve shirts? The weather. The weather. I love you California. So, last night we had our 3rd dancing lesson with the best Dominican teacher one could ever hope to find and I've got to admit we are improving. slowly. slowly. slowly. I've got the hips but can't hear that conga drum to save my life and James can hear the beat, but hips are a no-go in his department. Basically we are having a blast but may win an award for the most awkward dancers in the lot. We're currently searching for a salsa bar so that we can show off our moves.

Which brings me to preschool. Cancelled today. The weather. The boys are currently at the table playing with a huge blob of bright blue sparkly play dough. Homemade, not by me. Thank goodness for awesome friends that give you half of their kids birthday dough!

And the toaster. Still sitting on my counter and still confusing.

Proof of something:

Just the weather out my window. Surprised I'd mention it again? Nah...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

it's got me craving some toast

This is not the toaster in question, although how cool if it was, right?

I got a toaster in the mail today, a real nice one that claims it's wide enough for a thick New York bagel and has cool-wall sides that are safe to touch, even right after a toasting session. I smiled and clapped and was ridiculously excited when I opened the box, knowing that my days of broiling bread in the oven were officially and forever over. One time in our marriage I had a hand-me-down toaster that burnt everything it looked at, and boy did I love that baby. But, you know, very few items make the moving cut and I tearfully passed it on to the next poor student in need of burnt toast when we left Stanford.

But my life was looking up as of that mail delivery, a new toaster from a real store...still in a box to boot. I looked on the packing label to see who could have sent such a brilliant gift (things like this happen you know: last month my mom sent me a crock pot, bless her heart, and it has a permanent place on my counter because it's used so much) but somehow the gift giver was me. Me? How could that be. It was from Heather and to Heather, but no Heather that I know (at least intimately) ordered me a toaster. So...

First I called James. There's nothing more romantic than a toaster for Valentine's Day so I was certain that he was the true giver--but I heard the underlying concern of cabinet space in his voice at my simple mention of a new kitchen appliance and knew he had nothing to do with it. He confirmed, it was not from him (I mean me, remember?) Yes, bummed, because a toaster? What a gift to be had! But now that he has heard my excitement over the toaster maybe he'll get me a new wooden spoon or something on Friday, gosh I love a good wooden spoon.

I texted my mom to see if she sent it. I still haven't heard, but I'm pretty sure not because the crock pot came with a cute little love note, and so why wouldn't the toaster? And then, again, there's that thing about me being the sender. Weirder yet, the sender is the me from Palo Alto, the receiver is the me from New York. Do you hear that twilight zone (do do doodoo do do doodoo) music in the background?

Now I've got myself into a panic that somehow this toaster was sent by mistake and was not meant for me after all and pretty soon I'm going to get a call from an angry shop owner somehow blaming me in the case of the missing toaster. And I'll scream back, "You did this to me, you dirty rotten hater of my toast! I'll never send it back. NEVER!" Which is totally overdramatic, but when you're stuck indoors in the dead of winter for endless days sometimes you go a little cuckoo, cuckoo and things like that seem totally reasonable. Because all of a sudden I am going to die if I don't have a toaster? Yes, precisely. If I didn't decide to take the screaming approach, I would beg for mercy and offer just about anything so that I could keep that toaster. "Take my money, take my house plant, take Jim's Swiss scary mask, just don't take my toaster!" It'd work, I think.

But then there's this other fear, that was only made worse when I just answered the phone. The fear: the box is actually housing a whole lot of drugs instead of a toaster and at any moment the mafia is going to bang down my door to get their loot. The phone call: The FBI reports a break-in in your area. And then I peed my pants. And then I realized the person on the other end of the line was trying to sell me a security system and was not, in fact the FBI. I might need the security system it turns out, since I still haven't opened the toaster box to see what's really in there.

Anyway, all this to say that I am now craving toast smothered in butter and raspberry jam. And I may not be eating it for breakfast tomorrow morning (you know, between the mafia and the repo man), but I sure as heck am going to eat some right now--while I still can.

Oh yeah, and if you are the Heather that sent me the toaster, thank you...and show yourself!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news--but Chinatown on Chinese New Year was kind of a bust. Between a bad venue for the firecracker presentation, a late start time (and I mean it was supposed to start at 11, and those darn firecrackers were not booming until long after noon), freezing weather, screaming children, a broken stroller and just a general rusty feeling after doing mostly indoor activities for the last little while it was just not that hot. Plus, all the stores were closed because of the holiday and I desperately needed to buy myself some Chinese cabbage and Chinese chives so after circling and circling that little town, I finally had to beg in my very best, broken Chinese for a shopkeeper to let me in. He had sympathy on the crazy tall white girl with hysterical children and opened his shop for me, so at least my Chinatown adventure of the day ended on a good note and I was able to go home and make my dumplings!
The dumplings were amazing btw, and between a Chinese New Year party on Friday and a dinner party on Saturday, we polished off 100 of them. Maybe I shouldn't admit that--but they really were that good so I don't feel that bad, and heck, I was known for my dumpling-eating skills on my mission. How's that for talent? Definitely worth that trip to Chinatown!

I also made homemade fortune cookies out of small tortillas from a recipe I found in the Food Network Magazine. That magazine is amazing in every way, those are my true feelings on the matter. They tasted just ok, but I filled them with some of the most hilarious fortunes from real fortune cookies I found on the internet. You know, like this fortune:
Your resemblance to a muppet will prevent people from taking you seriously.
And then there was this one:
It's about time I got out of that cookie.
And one can never forget the awesomely-translated fortunes:
Nothing happines unless first a dream.
On that note, happy Chinese New Year!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Friendzy-Enzy's at a Tea Party

Melissa brought her girls and I brought my boys and we met for a cute little tea party at Alice's Tea Cup, an adorable tea house right around the corner from my house. We had barely walked into the place and the boys had already picked their treat of choice--T the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie and Ever a strawberry cupcake.

We opted for hot chocolate instead of tea, and as much as Meliss and I tried to teach them tea party manners, they pretty much slurped that cocoa in one swallow and were off to the next treat!

These two are the absolute, absolute cutest together.
Eisley: We're friendzy-enzy's, hah Talmage!
T: Yeah...we're friendzy-enzy's! 

 The kids were ecstatic when the treats came out. And of course they were the picture of manners (which somehow included Everett climbing on the table to get his grub!)

And lest you think that just the kids got in on the fun, here is my tea party treat--a caramel-glazed, pumpkin scone with clotted cream and raspberry preserves. Maybe the best treat I've had so far in this city, which is saying something for sure!